Patrizia Guarnieri

Intellectuals Displaced from Fascist Italy.

Migrants, Exiles and Refugees Fleeing for Political and Racial Reasons

©2019-Author(s) Published by Firenze University Press
e-ISBN: 978-88-6453-872-3 | DOI: 10.36253/978-88-6453-872-3

Intellectuals Displaced from Fascist Italy

Francesca (Franca) Trentin (1919-2010)

Other headings: Francette Trentin, France Trentin, Françoise Torrubia Trentin, Franca Baratto Trentin

Venice 13 December 1919 - Venice 28 November 2010

Lives on the move

Emigrant family members

  • Silvio Trentin (San Donà di Piave 11 November 1885 - Monastier di Treviso 12 March 1944), father: anti-fascist, a Law professor at the Università Ca' Foscari in Venice, in January 1926, he resigned and emigrated to Pavie (France) with his family. He owned a farm estate, worked as a machine compositor, and, in 1935, opened a bookshop in Toulouse with his wife. After 17 years, on 5 September 1943, he returned to Italy to participate in the Resistance. However, he died six months later.
  • Giuseppina (Beppa) Nardari Trentin (Treviso 25 May 1892 - Venice 17 May 1967), mother: she married in 1916. She emigrated to Pavie (France) with her two children of six and nine years and her family on 6 February 1926. Afterwards, she had another child, Bruno. She worked as a translator, a private Italian teacher, and ran a bookshop since 1935 in Toulouse, which became a meeting point for anti-fascist intellectuals. She took part in the Resistance and was widowed at 52 after she had returned to Italy with her husband Silvio and her children. She helped the Treviso Committee of National Liberation, as president of the Ufficio assistenza rimpatriati dalla Germania. She was also active in the Unione donne italiane (UDI) and was a candidate for the Partito socialista di unità proletaria (PSIUP). However, she died shortly before the general elections of 1958. She returned to Italy on 5 September 1943.
  • Giorgio Trentin (San Donà di Piave 23 July 1917 - Venice 17 July 2013), brother: emigrated with his family to France when he was nine, on 6 February 1926. He took part in the Resistance near Treviso. He was a scholar of engraving, and, in 1954, he created the Venetian engravers association (Associazione incisori veneti). He married Maria Edvige (Picci) Scarpis (Genoa 23 February 1921 - Venice 16 June 2013), and had three children: Francesca and Silvia (1951), and Nicoletta (1958). He returned to Italy on 5 September 1943.
  • Bruno Trentin (Pavie 9 December 1926 - Rome 23 August 2007), brother: trade unionist and politician. He was born in Pavie, France, where his family had emigrated for political reasons. He took part in the French Resistance and was arrested by the Germans when he was 16. On 5 September 1943, he went to Italy, following his parents and his brother Giorgio and joined the Resistance. He commanded the Gruppi di azione patriottica (GAP) of Giustizia e Libertà in Milan and became the “Rosselli” partisan brigade commander. He spent some time in the USA, studying Law at Harvard. In 1949, he graduated from Padua and began his political and unionist career. He became general secretary of the CGIL from 1988 to 1994 and European MP with the Democratici di Sinistra party between 1999 and 2004. He married Luciana Rampazzo (1926-2007) and had two children: Antonella (1954) and Giorgio (1963); later, he remarried the French journalist Marcelle Padovani (1940).
  • Italia Enrichetta Cian Trentin (San Donà di Piave 1860 - Valdobbiadene, Treviso 27 September 1941), paternal grandmother: she married Giorgio Trentin (1852-1893), a land owner, when she was 20 and was widowed at 33 with three children: Giorgio (1881-1915), Silvio (1885-1944), and Bruno (1892-1947). In 1926, she emigrated with her second-born child and her family to France when she was 66. Roughly ten years later, her youngest child, Bruno, brought her home. She returned to Italy.
  • Horace Torrubia (Barcelona 26 May 1917 - Orléans 2 January 1999) Franca's first husband: combatant in the Spanish civil war; after the Republicans were defeated, he emigrated with his family to France at 22 years old in November 1939. He participated in the French Resistance and met Franca; the two married on 2 March 1944 and had a son, Silvio (1946); they divorced in 1954. He became a psychiatrist and authored books on the subject. He never returned to Spain permanently.


  • Paul Dottin (Rennes 20 December 1895 - Toulouse 22 May 1967), philologist, president of the faculty of Literature in Toulouse: in 1939, gave Franca a letter of recommendation to help her apply for the position of assistant in a British school. The application was unsuccessful.

Support network

  • Maurice Sarraut (Bordeaux 22 September - Toulouse 2 December 1943), French journalist: a family friend, he helped Franca with the naturalisation process by recommending her request to his brother, Albert (Bordeaux 28 July 1872 - Paris 26 November 1962), who was the minister of the Interior at the time.
  • Lionello Venturi (Modena 25 April 1885 - Rome 14 August 1961), art historian: a family friend, in 1940 he invited Franca to New York (where he had emigrated) for a six-months study period. However, she never left.
  • Jeanne Modigliani (Nice 29 November 1918 - Paris 27 July 1984), Franca's friend, housed her for a while when Franca escaped from her home in 1941 after her parents discovered she had a 'clandestine' liaison.
  • Emilio Lussu (Armungia 4 December 1890 - Rome 5 March 1975), writer, anti-fascist and exponent of Giustizia e Libertà: after Franca was separated from her family (as they returned to Italy in 1943), he allowed her to remain in contact with them.
  • Harriet Marple (? - ?), voluntary assistant for the American Friends Service Committee, she met Franca while they were both assisting Spanish refugees in French camps. Later, she helped her and Horace with their academic careers, paying for their studies.




1926Pavie (France)

Emigration with the family

1929Auch (France)

Family transfer

  • Collège des jeunes filles


  • Lycée des jeunes filles; since 1936 Université de Toulouse, faculty of Literature; worked as substitute teacher, interpreter, secretary, and translator; took part in the French Resistance.
  • Student,Occasional job,Fixed-term employment
  • Teacher,Others

Trip to Italy

  • Reunion with her family, visited Turin and Milan.

Student and substitute teacher

  • Université de Toulouse
  • Student,Fixed-term employment
  • Teacher

Trip to Italy

  • Visited her family for a few months and then returned to Toulouse.


  • Not employed


  • Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, faculty of Literature; in 1953 chargée d’enseignement.
  • Stable employment
  • Junior lecturer,Tenured professor

At the Sorbonne

  • Sorbonne Université, Italian department; in 1959 chef de travaux; in 1961 maître-assistant.
  • Stable employment
  • Tenured professor

Back in Italy

  • Università Ca' Foscari, lettrice in Italian and French language
  • Stable employment
  • University language teacher