Chronology of Gramsci's Life


22 January. Antonio Gramsci was born at Ales in the province of Cagliari in Sardinia. His father, Francesco, the son of a colonel in the Bourbon gendarmerie, was born in Gaeta in 1860 into a family of Albanian origins that had moved to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies after the Greek revolution of 1821. Francesco Gramsci obtained his lycée certificate and in 1881 left the Italian mainland for Sardinia to take up employment as a civil servant in Ghilarza. In 1883 he married Giuseppina Marcias, a Sardinian, born in Ghilarza in 1861. They subsequently moved to Ales. Gramsci was the fourth of seven children: Gennaro, Grazietta, Emma, Antonio, Mario, Teresina, and Carlo.


Gramsci and his sisters attended a kindergarten run by nuns in the vicinity of Nuoro where the family had moved to from Ales. Gramsci was a frail child. When he was about four he fell from the arms of a servant. The family later attributed Gramsci’s physical deformity to that fall.


Gramsci’s father was suspended from his job, arrested and given a prison sentence for alleged administrative abuses. The mother moved back to Ghilarza with all seven children. Antonio (known as “Nino” ) was attending elementary school.


Upon completing elementary school in the summer of 1902, Gramsci had to work for two years at the tax office in Ghilarza in order to help his financially strapped family. In the meantime he continued studying privately.


Supported by his mother and sisters, Gramsci was able to resume his studies. He attended the last three years of secondary school in Santu Lussurgiu, about 15 kilometers from Ghilarza. During the school year he stayed at a peasant’s house in Santu Lussurgiu. In the early years Gramsci manifested a bent for mathematics and science. Around 1905 he began to read the socialist publications, including Avanti! which his older brother, Gennaro, used to send him from Turin where he was performing his military service.


After graduating from secondary school, Gramsci entered the Dèttori Lyceum in Cagliari. He lived with his brother Gennaro who worked as a bookkeeper for an ice factory, then as treasurer at the local Chamber of Labor, and later became secretary of the Socialist Party branch. Gramsci began frequenting socialist circles and participated actively in discussions among young groups on the economic and social problems of Sardinia. Sardinian nationalism and a rebellious attitude towards the rich were the main features of Gramsci’s early political views. In 1910 he published his first article in L'Unione Sarda, a daily newspaper edited by Raffa Garzía. He became the newspaper’s correspondent from Aidomaggiore, a small near Ghilarza. As a regular reader of Il Viandante, a periodical edited by Tommaso Monicelli, he closely followed the articles contributed by Salvemini, Croce, Prezzolini, Cecchi, and other leading intellectuals of the time. In this period he also started reading, for the first time and “out of intellectual curiosity,” some works by Marx. During his vacations he worked as a bookkeeper and gave private lessons to defray some of his school expenses.


Summer. Gramsci graduated from the lycée. Since he wished to attend university, he applied for a scholarship of 70 lire a month, for ten months a year, offered by the Carlo Alberto College in Turin for poor students from the provinces of the former Kingdom of Sardinia. He spent some weeks in Oristano with his uncle Serafino as the tutor of his nephew Delio. Towards the end of the summer he left for Turin. He spent some time in Pisa as a guest of relatives of his mother’s.

October. Gramsci was awarded the scholarship to attend university. Palmiro Togliatti also competed for the same scholarship.

November. He enrolled as a student of Letters at the University of Turin. For a short time he lived with Angelo Tasca, a fellow student and leader of the Socialist youth movement. He later rented a small room in an apartment occupied by a widow on the top floor of a building close to the University.


During his first few months as a student Gramsci was lonely, faced serious financial difficulties, and suffered from nervous exhaustion. He was interested primarily in the studying linguistics, and he started doing some research on the Sardinian dialect under the guidance of Professor Matteo Bartoli.. He also took a course Italian literature taught by Umberto Cosmo. He renewed his acquaintance with Palmiro Togliatti when both of them were taking the same course on Roman law; they became friends and before long they were doing joint research on the social structure of Sardinia.

Gramsci spent his summer holidays with his family in Ghilarza. In the autumn term he passed his exams in geography, linguistics (cum laude), and Greek and Latin grammar.


During the 1912-13 academic year Gramsci took several courses, taught by Arturo Farinelli, Pietro Toesca, Luigi Einaudi, Francesco Ruffini and others, in the departments of literature and law. His poor health, however, prevented from sitting for any exams.

October. From Ghilarza, Gramsci declared his support for an association (Gruppo di Azione e Propaganda Antiprotezionista) organized in Sardinia by Attilio Deffenu and Nicolò Fancello to actively oppose protectionist trade laws . Gramsci’s support was publicly recorded in the 9 October issue of La Voce, the journal edited by Giuseppe Prezzolini. While in Sardinia he witnessed the political campaign preceding the first elections held under universal suffrage (26 October-2 November). He was impressed by the changes that came about as a result of the mass participation of the peasants in political life, and he wrote about it to his friend Tasca. In the following months, according to Tasca, Gramsci established his first contacts with the socialist movement in Turin, in particular with the youth section. Probably, Gramsci became a member of the Socialist Party in Turin during this period.


In the Spring Gramsci passed his university exams in moral philosophy, modern history, and Greek literature.

He was a regular and attentive reader of Prezzolini's La Voce and Salvemini's L'Unità . Together with some friends, he explored the idea of founding a socialist periodical. He supported an initiative to nominate Gaetano Salvemini as a candidate for election to parliament from a district in Turin. Gramsci drew close to the workers’ and student groups (socialists, libertarians, etc.) which made up the leftist revolutionary faction in Turin and which played an active role in the workers’ demonstration of 9 June, during what came to be known a the “red week.”

October. Gramsci intervened in the debate about the position of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) towards the war with an article, “Neutralità attiva e operante” ("Active and Meaningful Neutrality” ) in Il Grido del Popolo of 31 October, in which he opposed Tasca’s call for “absolute neutrality.”

On 11 November he passed the exam in the literatures of Romance languages. In December Professor Bartoli reported to the scholarship board that Gramsci “suffers periodic nervous crises which prevent him from carrying out his studies with the proper alacrity.” His scholarship was withdrawn for four months.


In the Winter of 1914-15 he took a course in philosophy taught by Professor Annibale Pastore who also gave him some private lessons. On 12 April he sat for an Italian literature exam. It turned out to be his last exam for he discontinued his university studies.

In November he resumed writing for Il Grido del popolo, edited by Giuseppe Bianchi, and on 10 December he joined the editorial staff of Avanti! in Turin.


Gramsci devoted most of his energy to journalism. He wrote theater reviews, social and political commentary, and the “Sotto la Mole” column in the Turin edition of Avanti! Nationalists and war mongering interventionists were among his frequent targets. Many of his articles were severely critical of the intellectual and social climate of the time. He gave talks at workers’ study-circles in Turin on various topics, including Romain Rolland, the Paris Commune, the French Revolution, and Marx.


February. Gramsci edited the single issue of La Città Futura (11 February), published by the Young Socialist Federation of Piedmont. The whole issue consisted of four articles by Gramsci-"Tre principi, tre ordini” ("Three Principles, Three Orders” ), “Indifferenti” ("The Indifferent” ), “La disciplina” ("Discipline” ), “Margini” “Margins” )-and of brief selections from texts by Croce, Salvemini, and Armando Carlini (a follower of Giovanni Gentile). It amply reflects the influence of idealism on the young Gramsci. Looking back on this period in his life, Gramsci would later observe: “My tendency was still rather Crocean.”

April-July. Writing for Il Grido del popolo, Gramsci praised Lenin and emphasized the socialist goals of the Russian revolution.

August. Together with other members of the PSI in Turin, Gramsci prepared for a visit to the city by a delegation from Russia. The visit culminated on 13 August with a large workers’ demonstration in support of Lenin and the Russian revolution.

September. The government had crushed the popular uprising which broke out in Turin on 23 August, leaving over fifty people dead and arresting virtually all the leaders of the workers’ movement in the city. Gramsci became secretary of the Turin section of the PSI and the editor of Il Grido del popolo to which he dedicated much of his time until October 1918.

20 October. He devoted an entire issue of Il Grido del popolo to the problem of free trade, with articles by Togliatti, U. G. Mondolfo, U. Cosmo, B. Buozzi.

18-19 November. As the representative of the provisional executive committee of the Turin section of the PSI and as the editor of Il Grido del popolo, Gramsci participated in a clandestine meeting held in Florence, by the Party’s “intransigent revolutionary faction” which had been formed in August. Among those attending the meeting were C. Lazzari, G. M. Serrati, N. Bombacci, and A. Bordiga. Gramsci shared Bordiga's views on the need for the workers’ movement to intervene actively in the crisis precipitated by the war. (In October-November the Italian army suffered a disastrous defeat near Caporetto.)

December. Insisting on the need to integrate political and economic action with organized cultural activity, Gramsci sought to establish a proletarian cultural association in Turin. Together with Carlo Boccardo, Attilio Carena, and Andrea Vig-longo, he formed a small discussion circle which called itself the “Club of Moral Life.”

On 24 December the national edition of Avanti! published Gramsci’s article on the significance of the Bolshevik revolution, “La rivoluzione contro il Capitale” ("The Revolution Against Capital” ). During the following months he spearheaded a campaign through the pages of Il Grido del Popolo for the ideological and cultural renewal of the socialist movement. During the same period he published (with the help of his Polish friend Aron Wizner) commentary, news, and documents on the revolutionary developments in Russia.


January. Accused of “voluntarism,” Gramsci responded with an article, “La critica critica” ("Critical Criticism” ) in Il Grido del Popolo of 12 January.

May-June. Police reports made frequent reference to Gramsci as one of the leaders of the intransigent revolutionary faction of the Socialist Party in Turin. He commemorated Marx's birth in Il Grido del Popolo (4 May) with the article “Il nostro Marx” ("Our Marx” ), reprinted in L'Avanguardia (26 May).

22 June. He published the article “Per conoscere la rivoluzione russa” ("Towards Understanding the Russian Revolution” ) in Il Grido del Popolo.

July. Gramsci testified in favor of Maria Giudice, the former editor in chief of Il Grido del Popolo, in the trial stemming from the Turin uprising of August 1917.

19 October. Il Grido del Popolo ceased publication and was replaced by the Turin edition of the Avanti!.

5 December. The first issue of the Turin edition of Avanti! was published. Ottavio Pastore was the editor in chief; Gramsci, Togliatti, Alfonso Leonetti, Leo Galetto made up the editorial staff. Within a few months, the circulation of the newspaper rose from 16,000 to 50,000.


February. In Piero Gobetti's fortnightly Energie Nove (n. 7-8), Gramsci published the article “Stato e sovranità” ("State and Sovereignty” ), responding to Baldino Giuliano's “Perché sono un uomo d'onore” ("Why I Am a Man of Honor” ).

April. Gramsci endeavored to disseminate socialist ideas among the peasant-soldiers of the Sassari Brigade, sent to Turin to assist in public security.

Gramsci, Tasca, Umberto Terracini, and Togliatti founded L'Ordine Nuovo: Rassegna Settimanale di Cultura Socialista (The New Order: A Review of Socialist Culture). Gramsci was the editorial secretary, Tasca supported the journal financially (6,000 lire), while Pia Carena took care of the administrative work. Initially, the engineer Pietro Mosso ( who used the pseudonym Carlo Petri), a communist anarchist, was a member of the editorial board.

1 May. The inaugural issue of L'Ordine Nuovo appeared. On its front page, alongside its title, it displayed the slogan: “Educate yourselves because we'll need all your intelligence. Stir yourselves because we'll need all your enthusiasm. Organize yourselves because we'll need all your strength.” In 1919 the journal had about 300 subscribers and 3,000 readers; the following year it had 1,100 subscribers and printed about 5,000 copies. It was mostly circulated in Turin and the rest of Piedmont.

Also in May, Gramsci was elected a member of the executive committee of the Turin section of the PSI led by the abstentionist G. Boero.

June. In “Democrazia operaia” ("Workers’ Democracy” ) in L'Ordine Nuovo (21 June), Gramsci discussed internal commissions in factories as “centers of proletarian life” and “organs of workers’ democracy.” He translated documents and reports on factory life and workers' councils from Russian, French, British and other pro-labor publications. He published texts by Lenin, Zinoviev, Bela Kun, and others. At the same time the journal was introducing its readers to the views of Henri Barbusse, Anatoly Lunacharsky, Romain Rolland, Max Eastman, Marcel Martinet, Maxim Gorky and other revolutionary figures prominent in the cultural world.

July. During a political strike of solidarity with the Communist Republics of Russia and Hungary, Gramsci was arrested and imprisoned for a few days at the Carceri Nuove in Turin.

On 26 July L'Ordine Nuovo reprinted “Il programma della frazione comunista” ("Program of the Communist Faction” ), the first official document of the communist abstensionist faction of PSI which was inspired by Bordiga. The program was originally published in Bordiga’s Il Soviet..

13 September. L'Ordine Nuovo published the manifesto “Ai commissari di reparto delle officine Fiat-Centro e Brevetti” ("To the Workshop Commissars of the FIAT-Centro and Brevetti Factories” ).

In discussions preceding the PSI congress in Bologna (October 5-8), the Ordine Nuovo group decided to support of Serrati's “electoral maximalism” which, in fact, obtained the majority of the votes. The Bologna congress decided that the PSI should join the Communist International.

October. Gramsci met Sylvia Pankhurst in Turin. L'Ordine Nuovo published a series of her “Lettere dall'Inghilterra” ("Letters from England” ), translated by Togliatti.

1 November. At its annual meeting, the Turin section of FIOM (Federation of Metalworkers) elected the Workshop Commis-sars on the basis of a program which provided the foundation for the establishment of factory councils. “Il programma dei commissari di reparto” ("The Program of Workshop Commis-sars” ) was published by L'Ordine Nuovo on 8 November.

6 December. The Turin section of the PSI voted its approval of the factory council movement and established a “study committee” chaired by Togliatti. (Others on the committee included Viglongo, Boero, Tasca, Matta, and Montagnana.)

15-17 December. At a special session, the Chamber of Labor in Turin voted in favor of a call to establish factory councils throughout Italy.

The question of factory councils was vigorously debated within socialist circles and in the leftist press.

Sorel, who kept himself informed about the council movement, considered “the small sheet from Turin, L'Ordine Nuovo, much more interesting than Critica Sociale.”


January-February. In L'Ordine Nuovo (24-31 January) Gramsci published the “Programma d'azione della sezione socialista torinese” ("Program of Action of the Turin Socialist Section” ). Gramsci and Togliatti were reelected to the executive committee of the PSI in Turin. Participating in the activities of the “school of culture,” promoted by the Ordine Nuovo, he gave talks on the Russian revolution. He delivered an oppositional speech at a meeting of the “Giovane Sardegna” ("Young Sardinia” ) association. Later, he and Pietro Ciuffo formed a Sardinian socialist circle in Turin.

27 March. The front page of L'Ordine Nuovo issued a call for a national congress of factory councils. It was addressed to “all Italian workers and peasants” and it was signed by the executive committee of the PSI section in Turin, the Factory Council Study Committee, the Ordine Nuovo, and the Turin Anarchist Group.

28 March. Reacting to a strike at a FIAT plant, the Turin industrialists proclaimed a general lockout of metallurgical factories and made demands which, in effect, would have led to the dissolution of the factory councils.

13 April. In Turin over 200,000 workers responded to a call for a general strike. All the factories were shut down, transportation came to a halt, and the whole city was paralyzed. Little support was forthcoming from the rest of the country, however.

24 April. The general strike ended with a substantial victory for the industrialists. Management regained control of internal factory discipline. The strike, supported by Gramsci and the Ordine Nuovo group, was repudiated by the CGL (General Confederation of Labor) and by the PSI leadership.

8 May. L'Ordine Nuovo published “Per un rinnovamento del Partito socialista” ("For a Renewal of the Socialist Party” ) which Gramsci had written during the early stages of the metalworkers’ struggle and which had been presented by the representatives of the Turin section at the meeting of the PSI national council in Milan on 18-22 April.

8-9 May. Bordiga's communist abstentionist faction held its congress in Florence. Gramsci was invited as an observer; he argued that one could not establish a communist party simply on the basis of abstentionism.

23-28 May. The Turin Chamber of Labor held a meeting at which it approved a plan by Tasca that effectively subordinated the council movement to trade union control. Gramsci, who attended the meeting, sharply disagreed with Tasca’s position.

June-July. The rift between Gramsci and Tasca on the issue of the role and the autonomy of the factory councils became increasingly open and bitter. Gramsci and L'Ordine Nuovo supported the initiative to create “communist factory groups” in Turin which were to constitute the base of the future Communist Party. Gramsci expounded his views on this question in an article, “I gruppi comunisti” ("The Communist Groups” ) in L'Ordine Nuovo (17 July).

Gramsci sent a report on “Il movimento torinese dei Consigli di fabbrica” ("The Factory Council Movement in Turin” ) to the executive committee of the Communist International. This report was later published in the Russian, German, and French editions of the Communist International (November 1920) and in L'Ordine Nuovo (14 March 1921).

The second congress of the Third International (19 July - 7 August) set down the conditions (known as the 21 points) for the admission of socialist parties to the Comintern. The congress called upon its parties (including the PSI) to expel reformists. Bordiga’s refusal to participate in parliamentary elections was also denounced. The Ordine Nuovo group was not represented at the congress, but Lenin stated that the position articulated by the Ordine Nuovo militants corresponded with the principles of the Comintern.

August. Distancing himself from Togliatti and Terracini, Gramsci declined to join the communist electionist faction of the PSI section in Turin. He gathered around him a small “Communist Education” group which leaned towards Bordiga's abstentionists.

Gramsci published “Il programma dell'Ordine Nuovo” ("The Program of L'Ordine Nuovo” ) in L'Ordine Nuovo (14 and 28 August).

September. Gramsci was active in the movement promoting the occupation of factories by workers and he visited some plants in Milan. In a series of articles in the Piedmont edition of Avanti! he warned workers to beware of the illusion that the simple occupation of factories by itself would resolve the problem of power, and he underlined the need to establish a workers’ defense militia.

October. Gramsci advocated a fusion of the different groups (abstentionists, communist electionists, and “Communist Education” ) within the PSI section of Turin. He published two articles on “Il partito comunista” ("The Communist Party” ) in L'Ordine Nuovo (4 September and 9 October). During the first two weeks of October he participated at the meeting, in Milan, of the different groups (abstentionists, the Ordine Nuovo group, leftist elements of the PSI) which favored acceptance of the “21 points” laid down by the Communist International. The communist faction attending the meeting prepared a “Manifesto-Program” which was signed by N. Bombacci, A. Bordiga, B. Fortichiari, Gramsci, F. Misiano, L. Polano, L. Repossi, and U. Terracini, and published in L'Ordine Nuovo (30 October).

28-29 November. Gramsci attended a meeting at Imola where the communist faction of the PSI (known as the Imola faction) was formally constituted.

December. Gramsci met Henri Barbusse who delivered a lecture on the “Clarté” movement at the Casa del Popolo in Turin.

Gramsci’s sister, Emma, died in Ghilarza and Gramsci went to Sardinia to visit his family.

On 24 December L'Ordine Nuovo published its last issue as a weekly. The following year Piero Gobetti compiled an anthology of articles which Gramsci had written for the journal-but it was never published.

The Piedmont edition of Avanti! adopted the title L'Ordine Nuovo. Gramsci was given editorial control of the new paper which became the organ of the Turin communists.


1 January. The first issue of the daily L'Ordine Nuovo appeared in Turin with Lassalle's motto on the first page: “To tell the truth is revolutionary.” Togliatti, Leonetti, O. Pastore, Mario Montagnana, Giovanni Amoretti were among the members of the editorial board. Gramsci invited Piero Gobetti to contribute theater reviews and other articles to the paper. Umberto Calosso ("Sarmati” ) also wrote for the paper.

14 January. Gramsci, Zino Zini and others founded the Institute of Proletarian Culture (a section of the Proletkult of Moscow) with an Ordine Nuovo staff member, Giovanni Casale, as its secretary.

15-21 January. Gramsci attended the Seventeenth Congress of the PSI, held in Livorno. Terracini, Bordiga, Bombacci and the representatives of the Communist International, Kabakcev and Rákosi, spoke in favor the Imola ("pure Communist” ) motion. The motion obtained 58,783 votes. The Florence motion (a “unitarian Communist” motion presented by Serrati) obtained the majority of the votes (98,028). The Reggio Emilia reformist motion received 14,695 votes. On 21 January the delegates of the communist faction met separately and constituted the new “Italian Communist Party: A Section of the Third International.” Gramsci was a member of the central committee. The executive committee consisted of Bordiga, Fortichiari, R. Grieco, L. Repossi, and Terracini.

28 January. Gramsci published an article on the Livorno split, “Caporetto e Vittorio Veneto” ("Caporetto and Vittorio Veneto” ) in L'Ordine Nuovo. In his journalistic writings of this period, Gramsci attacked the trade union and reformist “mandarins” as well as the maximalist PSI centrists. He also started writing a series of articles analyzing the class content of the fascist movement.

27 February. Gramsci met Giuseppe Prezzolini and attended one of his lectures on “Intellectuals and Workers” at the Casa del Popolo in Turin.

20 March. Gramsci attended and spoke at the first congress of the Ligurian regional federation of the Italian Communist Party (PCd'I) held in Savona.

May. Gramsci wrote “Uomini di carne e ossa” ("Men of Flesh and Bones” ), in L'Ordine Nuovo (8 May) on the unsuccessful outcome of a long strike by the FIAT workers.

In the elections of 15 May, Gramsci was included, for the first time, in the PCd'I’s list of candidates from Turin. He did not get elected.

Accompanied by Mario Giordano, a Fiume legionnaire, Gramsci travelled to Gardone in the spring expecting to meet Gabriele D'Annunzio. The meeting, however, never took place.

October. On the eve of the Eighteenth Congress of the PSI, Gramsci published the article “Il congresso socialista” ("The Socialist Congress” ) in L'Ordine Nuovo (9 October). At the congress, Serrati’s maximalist wing reaffirmed its membership in the Communist International.

December. The executive of the Communist International published a series of 25 theses elaborating on the call (first issued at the Third Comintern Congress earlier in the year) for a united front of working-class parties.

Gramsci participated in the meeting of the PCd'I central committee, held in Rome on 18-20 December. Along with Bordiga, Graziadei, Sanna, Tasca, and Terracini, he discussed the party’s positions on the agrarian question, the trade unions and political tactics in preparation for the upcoming second national congress of the PCd'I.

L'Ordine Nuovo (31 December) published the Comintern executive’s call for a “common front.”


16 February. Addressing a meeting of the Turin section of the PCd'I, Gramsci talked about the guiding principles and tactical course of the party.

20-24 March. He attended the Second Congress of the PCd'I, in Rome. the congress approved, by a great majority (31,089 to 4151 votes), the so-called “Rome theses” which, in effect, rejected the Comintern’s call for a “common front.” Gramsci considered the “common front” tactics feasible at the trade union level, but like others at the congress he seemed opposed to forging alliances with other political parties. A right wing minority which included Tasca, Graziadei and Vota emerged at the congress. Gramsci was chosen to represent the party on the executive committee of the Communist International in Moscow.

27-29 March. Gramsci spoke at the congress of the Young Communist Federation in Rome.

April. In early April Gramsci gave a talk to the Turin section of the PCd'I on the party’s Rome congress. He published the article “L'Italie et la conférence de Gênes” in Correspondance Internationale (12 April). He was in Genoa during the conference held by the great powers to discuss the resumption of political and economic relations with the Soviet Union.

Piero Gobetti published an essay on Gramsci and the Turin communist movement in Rivoluzione Liberale (2 April).

26 May. Gramsci, who was in poor health, left for Moscow together with Graziadei and Bordiga.

23 June. He arrived in Moscow by way of the Latvian border.

June. Gramsci attended the second meeting of the Enlarged Executive of the Communist International. He also became part of the Comintern’s executive committee.

At Zinoviev’s suggestion he went to recuperate from his state of exhaustion at the Serebranyi Bor sanatorium on the outskirts of Moscow. During his stay at the sanatorium he met Julia Schucht.

September. In response to Trotsky’s request, Gramsci wrote a note on the futurist movement in Italy. Trotsky published it as an appendix in his book Literature and Revolution (1923).

1-4 October. At its Nineteenth Congress the PSI decided to expel the reformists and renew its membership in the Communist International.

28 October. “The March on Rome” : the fascists came into power as Mussolini was named Prime Minister. As fascism consolidated its grip, the PCd'I was compelled to operate increasingly as a clandestine organization. At that time, as Trotsky recalled in 1932, no one in the party “except for Gramsci” thought that a fascist dictatorship was possible.

November-December. Gramsci attended the Fourth Congress of the Communist International (5 November - 5 December) at which the “Italian question” and, particularly, the fusion of the PCd'I and the PSI, promoted by Zinoviev, was discussed. The majority of the PCd'I opposed the fusion and agreed to discuss it only because of the pressure exerted by the Comintern. A joint committee was set up to oversee the process of merging the two parties: the Communists were represented by Gramsci (in place of Bordiga who refused to participate), Scoccimarro and Tasca; and the Socialists by Serrati, Tonetti and Maffi. The whole effort fell apart within a few months; the leading members of both parties could hardly function as they faced arrest, exile, or constant harassment by the fascists.

Gramsci published an article on “Les origines du cabinet Mussolini” in Correspondance Internationale (20 November).

December. Fascist squads in collusion with the security forces violently assaulted communists and socialists in Turin. The Ordine Nuovo was shut down and its editorial staff (including Gramsci’s brother, Gennaro, who at that time worked for the paper) were charged with subversion and possession of arms and explosions-they were later acquitted.


February. While Gramsci was still in Moscow, the police in Italy arrested some members of the PCd'I’s executive committee (Bordiga and Grieco among them) and several local leaders. The police also issued a warrant for Gramsci’s arrest. Terracini took charge of the party’s organization.

March. Following the arrests of the previous month, the ex-ecutive committee of the PCd'I started reorganizing its leader-ship and named Scoccimarro, Tasca, Graziadei, and C. Ravera to the central committee. Scoccimarro and Togliatti entered the executive committee.

April-May. From prison, Bordiga issued “an appeal to the PCd'I comrades,” in which he criticized the position of the Comintern executive, particularly regarding the relationship with the PSI. The appeal, initially accepted with some hesitation by Togliatti, Terracini, Scoccimarro and others, was rejected by Gramsci who refused to sign it.

Terracini went to Moscow and Togliatti was entrusted with running the party in Italy.

12-23 June. Along with Scoccimarro, Tasca, Terracini and Vota, Gramsci took part in a meeting of the Comintern’s enlarged executive, and made a speech on the “Italian question.” The enlarged executive appointed a new PCd'I executive committee which included representatives of the right wing minority. It was made up of Togliatti, Scoccimarro, Tasca, Vota, and Fortichiari (replaced by Gennari).

August. Bordiga and Grieco resigned from the central committee of the PCd'I.

12 September. In a letter to the executive committee of the PCd'I, Gramsci communicated the decision of the Comintern executive to start publishing a new workers’ daily with the collaboration of the group of ” Third Internationalists.” He proposed L'Unità for a title. In the letter, Gramsci dwelt for the first time on the issue of an alliance between the poorest strata of the working class in the North and the peasant masses in the South.

21 September. The members of the new PCd'I executive committee were arrested together near Milan. They were accused of conspiracy against the State, but were acquitted and freed after three months in prison.

18-26 October. The trial of Bordiga, Grieco, Fortichiari and other communist leaders ended with a general acquittal.

November. Gramsci was given an assignment in Vienna. (Terracini replaced him in Moscow.) He had the task of maintaining contact between the Italian party and the other communist parties in Europe.

3 December. Gramsci arrived in Vienna. Until he found lodg-ings he was the guest of Josef Frei, the general secretary of the Austrian Communist Party. He kept in close contact by mail with Terracini, Togliatti, Leonetti, Scoccimarro, and Tresso.

Between the end of 1923 and the beginning of 1924 he wrote some articles (under the pseudonym G. Masci) the Correspondance internationale on the Italian domestic situation and fascism.


January. He planned to establish a new quarterly of Marxist studies and political culture, entitled Critica Proletaria. He also wanted to revive L'Ordine Nuovo with the collaboration of Piero Sraffa and Zino Zini. He tried to persuade Zini to translate a selection of writings by Marx and Engels on historical materialism.

February. He made the acquaintance of Victor Serge, whom he met several times afterward.

9 February. Gramsci wrote a letter to Togliatti and Terracini in which he expounded his conception of the party within the national and international framework, and expressed the need to form a new group to lead the PCd'I. He criticized the party’s drift towards centralization, sectarianism and detachment from the masses. He also reiterated his refutation of Bordiga’s position.

12 February. The first issue of L'Unità appeared in Milan. The paper was originally subtitled “Workers’ and Peasants” Daily,” but, and on 12 August (that is, once the “Third Internationalists” joined the party) it became “The Organ of the PCd'I.” The editorial group included O. Pastore, A. Leonetti, G. Amoretti, F. Platone, M. Montagnana, F. Buffoni, G. Li Causi, L. Répaci (a literary and drama critic). The circulation of the paper oscillated between a high of 60-70 thousand copies and a low of 20-30 thousand copies.

-- The February issue carried the article “Il problema di Milano” ["The Problem of Milano” ], in which Gramsci laid out the “national problem” of the conquest of Milanese social-democratic proletariat.

1 March. The first issue of the new fortnightly series of L'Ordine Nuovo: A review of Working Class Politics and Culture, was published in Rome. It declared its purpose on the title page: “L'Ordine Nuovo intends to stir up among the working and peasant masses a revolutionary vanguard capable of creating the State of the workers’ and peasants’ councils, and to establish the conditions for the arrival and the stability of communist society.” Gramsci's editorial, “Capo” ("Chief” ), commemorated Lenin. In the second issue (15 March), he published “Contro il pessimismo” ("Against Pessimism” ).

Gramsci wrote an article on “Le Vatican” for Correspondance internationale (12 March).

6 April. Gramsci was elected to parliament by a constituency of the Veneto region.

12 May. Gramsci returned to Italy after an absence of two years-his immunity as parliamentary deputy protected him from arrest. A few days later he attended the PCd'I national conference, held secretly near Como. Gramsci criticized Bordiga's political line which, however, received the support of the majority. Gramsci became a member of the party’s executive committee.

June. He moved to Rome and lodged with the Passarge family, who considered him “a very serious professor.”

-- Togliatti took Gramsci’s place as delegate to Moscow for the fifth congress of the Communist International.

10 June. The fascists murdered Giacomo Matteotti (Reformist Socialist Party) who had made a speech in parliament attacking Mussolini and denouncing fascist violence. Gramsci attended the meetings held by the parliamentary opposition parties. (The joint executive of these parties was called the Committee of Sixteen, and their decision to withdraw in protest from parliament became known as the Aventine Secession.) Gramsci proposed an appeal to the masses and a political general strike. During the following weeks he campaigned against the passivity and the legalistic maneuvering of the Aventine group; he wanted to rally the workers into a unified oppositional force. He took charge of the political operations of L'Unità and the propaganda section of the party.

At the fifth congress of the Comintern in Moscow (17 June - 8 July), a campaign was under way to Bolshevize the member parties, and to reaffirm the common front strategy with its call for a “workers’ and peasants’ government.”

Togliatti and Bordiga were elected to the executive committee of the Communist International.

July. At the PCd'I’s central committee meetings, Gramsci spoke on the response to the fascist crisis by his party and other anti-fascists.

August. The “Third Internationalist” faction of the PSI dissolved itself and entered the PCd'I. G. M. Serrati, F. Maffi and A. Marabini, among others, became members of the central committee.

On 10 August, in Moscow, Gramsci’s wife Julia gave birth to their first son, Delio.

On 13-14 August Gramsci, as general secretary of the party, gave a report to the central committee on “I compiti del Partito comunista di fronte alla crisi della società capitalistica italiana” ("The Tasks of the Communist Party in the Face of the Crisis of Italian Capitalist society” ), later published in L'Ordine Nuovo (1 September) under the title “La crisi italiana” ("The Italian Crisis” ).

He also attended party meetings in Turin and Milan.

September. Gramsci started the transformation of the organizational structure of the party on the basis of “cells.” He attended the clandestine meeting of the party’s near Como. He also appeared at the provincial congress in Naples, where he talked in the name of the central committee opposing Bordiga.

October. He attended several provincial party congresses where the new party policies were discussed. On 19-22 October, at a meeting of the party’s central committee in Rome, he spoke on the Italian political situation in view of the reopening of parliament.

On 20 October the communist parliamentary group proposed the transformation of the Aventine Secession into a permanent “anti-parliament.” When the other parties rejected the proposal, the communist deputies abandoned the Aventine group and decided to return to parliament.

Towards the end of October, Gramsci visited Sardinia. He attended a clandestine regional party congress near Cagliari and spent some days with his family in Ghilarza.

12 November. At the reopening of parliament, the communist deputy Luigi Repossi entered the chamber and read an anti-fascist declaration. The entire communist group returned to parliament two weeks later.

December. Gramsci spent a few weeks in Milan.


January. In early January, Gramsci attended the clandestine meeting of the party’s executive committee, held once again near Como.

Towards the end of January he met his sister-in-law Tatiana (Tanya) Schucht for the first time, in Rome.

February. Gramsci helped set up the PCd'I’s correspondence school and undertook to prepare the study materials.

March-April. Gramsci travelled to Moscow for the fifth enlarged executive meeting of the Comintern (21 March - 6 April). He spoke on the work of agitation and propaganda carried on by the PCd'I.

April-May. The first batches of study notes for the party’s correspondence school were printed and distributed.

May. On 11-12 May the central committee of the PCd'I met to start preparations for the party’s third national congress. Gramsci opened the discussions with a report, “La situazione interna del nostro partito ed i compiti del prossimo congresso” ("The Internal Situation in Our Party and the Tasks of the Forthcoming Congress” ) which was later published in L'Unità (3 July).

Gramsci made his only speech in parliament on 16 May, attacking proposed legislation banning secret organizations.

June. Bordiga’s followers published a letter in L'Unità announcing the formation of the “Comitato d'Intesa tra gli elementi della Sinistra” (Committee of Accord between components of the Left). This led to a heated controversy in the pages of the paper; Gramsci took the lead in attacking Bordiga’s factionalism.

July. The PCd'I central committee held a meeting to discuss the Bordigian current. The Communist International defined the Comitato d'Intesa as factionalist and called for its dissolution. During July and August, Gramsci attended numerous meetings in various parts of Italy to discuss the internal situation of the party. In August he met Bordiga in Naples, and held a long discussion with him in the presence of other Communist Party members from the region. The Comitato d'Intesa was dissolved following discussions which involved Jules Humbert-Droz, a Comintern representative.

August-September. In collaboration with Togliatti, Gramsci formulated the theses to be presented at the third national congress of the PCd'I.

Fall. Julia and Delio (accompanied by Julia’s sister Eugenie) joined Gramsci in Rome. Julia worked at the Soviet embassy.

24 October. The police searched Gramsci's room at the Passarge residence.

December. Gramsci spoke at the party’s regional congress in Milan, held secretly in the open countryside.


January. Gramsci crossed the border into France clandestinely to attend the Third National Congress of the PCd'I in Lyon (20-26 January). The congress overwhelmingly approved the theses presented by Gramsci and his supporters within the party’s leadership-they received 90.8% of the votes while Bordiga’s faction mustered only 9.2%. Gramsci, Togliatti, Scoccimarro, Camilla Ravera and P. Ravazzoli were among the members of the newly elected executive committee.

February. At a meeting of the party’s leadership, on 6 February, Gramsci talked about workers’ and peasants’ committees and about the need to transform the trade unions from organizations made up of individual members into mass organisms.

He dictated to Riccardo Ravagnan a report on the Lyon congress, “Cinque anni di vita del partito” ("The Party’s First Five Years” ) for publication in L'Unità (24 February.

May. Gramsci wrote an article for L'Unità (14 May) to commemorate G. M. Serrati who had died suddenly four days earlier.

L'Unità launched a campaign, inspired by Gramsci, to raise funds in support of the British miners’ strike.

August. At a meeting of the PCd'I’s executive committee held on 2-3 August, Gramsci delivered a report dealing with the Italian economic crisis and with the party’s approach towards the working masses and the middle classes. The first part of the report, “Un esame della situazione italiana” ("A Study of the Italian Situation” ) was later published in Stato Operaio (March 1928).

Gramsci spent a brief vacation with his son Delio in Bolzano. His wife, Julia, who was expecting their second child, returned to Moscow where Giuliano was born on 30 August.

September. The agrarian congress of the PCd'I, held clandestinely in Bari, approved the “theses on peasant labor” directly inspired by Gramsci.

October. Gramsci, on behalf of the political bureau of the PCd'I, sent a letter to the central committee of the Soviet Communist Party on 14 October expressing his concerns about the threat to Bolshevik unity which was being posed by the internal struggles between the Stalin-Bukharin majority and the Trotsky-Zinoviev-Kamenev bloc. Gramsci warned his Russian comrades that “today you risk destroying your own handiwork, you are degrading and may even annul completely the leading position which the CPSU acquired under Lenin’s leadership. It seems that your absorption in Russian questions is making you lose sight of the international implications of these questions . . . ” Appealing for unity, Gramsci stated in his conclusion that “we would like to be sure that the majority of the CPSU central committee does not intend to go too far, that it does not intend to abuse its victory and take excessive measures.” Togliatti, the PCd'I representative in Moscow, considered the letter inappropriate and withheld it. He wrote back to Gramsci, arguing that it was necessary to support the correct position of the majority rather than dwell on the split itself and its consequences. Gramsci, in turn, responded with a note rejecting Togliatti’s arguments. By the end of the month, Trotsky and Kamenev were expelled from the CPSU executive, while Zinoviev was removed from the presidency of the Comintern.

Gramsci drafted his long essay on “Alcuni temi della quistione meridionale” ("Some Aspects of the Southern Question” ), but never completed it.

A new attempt on Mussolini’s life on 31 October sparked widespread fascist violence and repressive measures against all oppositional elements.

November. J. Humbert-Droz was sent to Italy by the Comintern to explain the controversy going on within the Bolshevik party to the executive committee of the PCd'I at a secret meeting held near Genoa on 1-3 November. Gramsci was travelling from Rome on his way to meeting when he was detained by the police in Milan and compelled to return immediately to Rome.

8 November. The fascist government had just issued its “Ex-ceptional decrees” and Gramsci was arrested, together with other Communist Party deputies-even though they were supposed to be protected by the rules of parliamentary immunity. He was placed in solitary confinement at the Regina Coeli prison in Rome. The following day the fascist majority in the Chamber of Deputies declared that all the parliamentary members who belonged to the Aventine Secession and the Communist Party had forfeited their seats. Also on the same day (9 November) the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill presented by Mussolini which created the Special Tribunal for the Defense of the State.

18 November. Gramsci was charged under article 184 of the newly enacted Single Text of Laws on Public Security, and he was sentenced to five years of internment. He learned of his sentence the following day. At first it seemed that he would be sent to Somalia, but he was soon told that he was being assigned to one of the Italian islands.

25 November. Gramsci left the Regina Coeli prison. After two nights at the Carmine prison in Naples, he was transported further south to Palermo, where he remained for eight days and was told that his final destination was the island of Ustica.

7 December. Gramsci arrived in Ustica. During his stay on the island he lived with five other political prisoners: Bordiga, two other communists from Aquila, and two former socialist deputies, Paolo Conca and Giuseppe Sbaraglini. He helped organize a school among the prisoners-Bordiga was in charge of science while Gramsci taught history and studies German. Gramsci was able to obtain books thanks to an open account established for him at a Milan bookshop by his friend, the economist Piero Sraffa who at that time was a professor of economics at the University of Cagliari.


14 January. The military court in Milan issued a warrant for Gramsci’s arrest, signed by judge Enrico Macis. The Special Tribunal for the Defense of the State began functioning soon afterwards, on 1 February.

20 January. Gramsci left Ustica for the prison in Milan. The journey lasted 19 days, with stops in the prisons of Palermo, Naples, Cajanello, Isernia, Sulmona, Castellammare Adriatico, Ancona, and Bologna.

7 February. Gramsci arrived at the prison of San Vittore in Milan. For a while he was kept in isolation. On 9 February he was interrogated by the examining magistrate Macis. He ob-tained permission to read some newspapers and applied for a double subscription to the prison library so that he could borrow eight books a week. He also received books and journals from outside prison. He was allowed to write two letters a week.

March. Gramsci wrote to Tatiana Schucht about his study plans and listed four topics which especially interested him: the history of Italian intellectuals, comparative linguistics, Pirandello's drama, and serial fiction. He was refused permission to write in his cell. He decided to resume his study of languages.

Another interrogation by Macis took place on 20 March.

April. Gramsci moved to a new cell. He suffered from insomnia and was unable to sleep more than three hours a night. During the exercise period he met Ezio Riboldi, a communist deputy and former “Third Internationalist.”

May. Tatiana Schucht moved from Rome to Milan in order to be better able to help Gramsci.

2 June. Gramsci was interrogated once again by the magistrate Macis.

August-September. In August, Gramsci received a visit from his brother Mario. (Mario Gramsci was a fascist sympathizer.) Some time later Piero Sraffa also went to him. Tatiana Schucht paid him frequent visits between September and January.

October. Gramsci requested journals and books about Sardinia. He asked his mother and Tatiana Schucht to send him his copy of Breviario di neolinguistica (Handbook of Neolinguistics) by Bertoni and Bartoli. He learned of his wife Julia’s health problems.

November. Gramsci shared a cell with Enrico Tulli, the former editor of L'Unità. He asked for Machiavelli's works. It appeared that his trial would take place in late January or early February. Towards the end of the year Gramsci was visited by the chief health officer of the prison.


13 February. Gramsci sent a letter to the examining magistrate Macis, denouncing the intrigues of a certain Corrado Melani, a police agent who was posing as a dissident in the hopes of entrapping Gramsci.

19 March. Gramsci received the order (issued by the prosecutor’s office of the Special Tribunal) to stand trial. He named Giovanni Ariis from Milan as his personal lawyer.

April. Towards the end of the month, Gramsci was informed that his trial was scheduled to start on 28 May. He anticipated a prison sentence of between 14 and 17 years.

May. Gramsci and a group of other communist prisoners were transported to Rome on 11 May. The following day he was placed in a cell at Regina Coeli with Terracini and Scoccimarro.

The show trial against Gramsci and twenty-one other PCd'I leaders by the Special Tribunal for the Defense of the State took place in Rome between 28 May and 4 June. Referring to Gramsci, the prosecutor Michele Isgrò declared: “We must prevent this brain from functioning for 20 years.”

June. On 4 June, Gramsci received one of the heaviest sentences handed down at the trial: 20 years, 4 months and 5 days.

Gramsci was supposed to be sent to the prison of Portolongone. However, a medical examination confirmed that he was in poor health, suffering from a uremic disorder and nervous exhaustion. He was sent, instead, to the prison at Turi, near Bari-a supposedly “special” penal institution because infirm prisoners were assigned to it.

July. He left Rome for Turi on 8 June. The journey lasted twelve days with long stops in Caserta, Benevento and Foggia.

On 19 July, Gramsci arrived in Turi, where he received his prisoner’s identification number, 7047, and was placed in a cell with five other political prisoners. He was allowed to write to his relatives every fifteen days. Carlo Gramsci initiated a petition to obtain for his brother a single cell and permission to write in it.

August. Gramsci was placed in a single cell, next door to the guardroom-he was under constant surveillance and the noise often prevented him from sleeping.

December. Severely handicapped by his uremic disorder, Gramsci had great difficulty walking. For a long time he remained seated during the exercise period, or else had to propped up by fellow prisoners.

Tatiana Schucht traveled from Milan to Turi and was able to have a few visits with Gramsci.


January. Gramsci obtained permission to write in his cell. He planned to read systematically and to concentrate on certain topics. His book requests reflected these plans. At first he did some translations.

February. Gramsci made a list of “Main Topics”, dated 8 February 1929, on the first page of a notebook which he entitled “First Notebook.”

March. Gramsci wrote to Tatiana Schucht about his plans to focus his studies on: ninteenth-century Italian history with special attention to the formation and development of intellectual groups; the theory of history and historiography; Americanism and Fordism.

April. He received a visit from Tatiana Schucht.

July. Gramsci asked Tatiana Schucht for information about Terracini’s appeal of the Special Tribunal sentence. He also requested a copy of the Acts of Parliament which contained a transcript of the debate on the government’s Concordat with the Vatican (signed on 11 February 1929).

November. Gramsci received a visit from his brother Carlo.

December. Tatiana Schucht moved to Turi, where she remained until July 1930.


February. Gramsci asked his brother Carlo to obtain a copy of the sentence handed down by the Special Tribunal on 4 June 1928.

April. He received a copy of the Special Tribunal sentence.

June. Gramsci’s brother, Gennaro, visited him in prison. He told Gramsci about the bitter divisions which had split the PCd'I leadership and culminated in the expulsion of Leonetti, Tresso and Ravazzoli.

July. Gramsci sentence was reduced by one year, 4 months and 5 days. He learned that his wife was not doing well and had to spend time convalescing in a clinic. His brother Gennaro paid him another visit.

August. Gramsci wrote to his brother Carlo, asking him to initiate a petition to allow Gramsci to read certain books he was prohibited from having, including works written by Trotsky after his expulsion from the Soviet Union. The letter was withheld by the prison authorities.

September. Gramsci himself submitted a petition in order to obtain certain books which he had mentioned in the earlier letter to his brother. The petition was accepted. Sometime between late September and early October he received another visit from his brother Carlo.

November. Gramsci was suffering from insomnia, caused partly by the prison conditions.

November-December. Towards the end of the year, some other communist prisoners (among them E. Tulli, E. Riboldi, A. Lisa, G. Lay, A. Scucchia) were brought to Turi. Gramsci, who had already started a series political conversations with fellow prisoners during the exercise period, organized a cycle of discussions on such topics as the role of intellectuals in the party, the relation of the party to the military, the formation of a constituent assembly. In 1928-29 the Comintern abandoned its common front policy, declared that capitalism had become unstable, and defined social democracy as reactionary (theory of “social fascism” ). The PCd'I accepted these views, and foresaw the radicalization of the class struggle and an imminent crisis in the fascist regime. Gramsci, however, predicted that the country first had to pass through a “democratic” phase, and he suggested that the party employ the phrase “Constituent Assembly” as a slogan. His position provoked strong negative reactions among some of the other communist prisoners, and Gramsci discontinued the discussions.


March. Gramsci received a visit from his brother Carlo.

April-May. In April the PCd'I held its fourth congress in Germany. In a conversation with his fellow communist prisoners about the likelihood of a communist revolution in Italy, Gramsci reiterated his view that the country first had to go though a “democratic” phase.

June. Gramsci received some of the works of Karl Marx in the French edition published by Costes. He also obtained a report by the Economist on the first Soviet five-year plan.

July. Gramsci received permission to correspond with his relatives weekly, rather than twice a month.

August. Gramsci became severely ill. His brother Carlo went to see him. His friend Sraffa also travelled to Turi but was denied permission to visit Gramsci.

September. He sent to Tatiana Schucht the sketch of an essay on Canto X of Dante’s Inferno, and asked her to forward it to Professor Cosmo.

October. He petitioned Mussolini for permission to continue reading the periodicals to which he subscribed. Permission was partially granted in December.


During the year, the possibility of an exchange of political prisoners between Italy and the Soviet Union was explored. Gramsci would have been a beneficiary, but nothing came of the initiative.

May. Gramsci received a visit from his brother Carlo.

August. Tatiana Schucht suggested that Gramsci should be examined by a trustworthy doctor. Gramsci wrote to Tatiana (29 August) that his health had become extremely precarious.

15 September. Without informing Gramsci, Tatiana Schucht submitted a formal petition to Mussolini asking that a private doctor be allowed to examine Gramsci. In October, Gramsci was visited by the prison doctor.

November. Amnesties were granted on the tenth anniversary of the fascist regime. Gramsci’s sentence was reduced to 12 years and 4 months. In the following months Piero Sraffa tried to persuade the authorities that Gramsci was entitled to conditional freedom. The fascist government insisted on obtaining from Gramsci himself a petition for clemency-a condition which Gramsci found unacceptable.

Following orders from the Ministry of the Interior, the political prisoners at Turi were placed in solitary confinement. With the complicity of some guards, Gramsci was still able to converse with a few other political prisoners, among them S. Pertini (a socialist who much later became President of Italy), A. Fontana, and G. Trombetti.

30 December. Gramsci's mother died in Ghilarza. His family withheld the information from him for a very long time.


January. Tatiana Schucht moved to Turi where she remained, except for short intervals, until the summer. She visited Gramsci frequently.

February. The government finally granted permission for Gramsci to be examined by a doctor of his choice.

7 March. Gramsci suffered another health crisis. For about two weeks, a young communist fellow prisoner, Gustavo Trombetti, spent his nights and days at Gramsci’s bedside to help nurse him back to health.

Gramsci told Tatiana Schucht that he would seek a transfer to the infirmary of some other prison.

G. Trombetti was allowed to move permanently into Gramsci’s cell in order to help him and look after him. However, Gramsci’s permission to write in his cell was temporarily revoked.

On 20 March, Professor Umberto Arcangeli, an outside doctor, examined Gramsci in prison. Arcangeli declared that “Gramsci cannot survive for long under the present conditions; I consider it necessary to transfer him to a hospital or clinic, unless he can be granted conditional freedom.” Gramsci, once again, refused to ask for a pardon which would have allowed him to leave prison and seek treatment under better conditions.

April. Professor Filippo Saporito, the prison doctor, visited Gramsci.

May-June. Professor Arcangeli's statement was published in Humanité (May) and in Soccorso Rosso (June). In Paris a com-mittee was set up to campaign for the release of Gramsci and other victims of the fascist regime. Romain Rolland and Henri Barbusse were members of the committee. Azione Antifascista devoted most of its June issue to Gramsci. The Notebooks of Giustizia e Libertà (August) published an essay on “Gramsci and the Ordine Nuovo” signed “Fabrizio” (U. Calosso).

July. Gramsci and Trombetti were moved to a quieter cell.

August. Gramsci had several visits from his brother Carlo and Tatiana Schucht. Carlo took charge of the request to have Gramsci transferred from the Turi prison.

October. Gramsci received the authorization to leave the Turi prison and enter Giuseppe Cusumano’s clinic in Formia.

The Special Tribunal rejected the claim that the amnesty decree of November 1932 entitled Gramsci to freedom.

19 November. Gramsci left the Turi prison. He stopped for about two weeks in the infirmary of the prison at Civitavecchia. Tatiana Schucht visited him during his stay there.

December. Gramsci arrived at the Cusumano clinic in Formia on 7 December. He was still a prisoner; the police guarded his room and watched the area surrounding the clinic very closely.

While Gramsci was in Formia, Tatiana Schucht visited him weekly. His brother Carlo and his friend Sraffa also went to see him. Gramsci started reading again and after a while he resumed writing in his notebooks.


July. On 12 July, Gramsci was examined by Professor Vittorio Puccinelli, a doctor from the Quisisana clinic in Rome. On 15 July, Gramsci asked to be transferred to another clinic, especially since he needed a hernia operation.

September. Outside Italy, the campaign for Gramsci’s release gained intensity. Romain Rolland published a pamphlet on him.

October. Gramsci based a new petition for conditional freedom, on certain clauses in the penal code and in prison regulations which deal with the rights of sick prisoners. On 25 October he was granted conditional freedom.

On a few occasions he left the clinic for a few brief outings with his brother Carlo, Tatiana Schucht, and Piero Sraffa. The police, suspecting that he might flee, watched and recorded all his movements.


April. Gramsci renewed his request for transfer to another clinic.

June. Gramsci’s health suffered another serious setback and, once again, he asked to leave the Cusumano clinic.

24 August. Gramsci left the Cusumano clinic accompanied by Professor Puccinelli, and entered the Quisisana clinic in Rome.

In the following months Tatiana Schucht was almost always with him. His brother Carlo saw him frequently. Piero Sraffa also paid him a visit.


Gramsci resumed regular correspondence with his wife and two sons in Moscow.


April. Gramsci's sentence expired on 21 April. He had planned to move to Sardinia, but he was still a patient at the Quisisana clinic when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on the evening of 25 April. Tatiana Schucht stayed at his bedside. Gramsci died early in the morning on 27 April. The funeral took place on 28 April under police surveillance. His ashes were buried in a common grave at the Verano cemetery; in late 1938 they were transferred to their final resting place in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome.

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Edited by Marcus E. Green
Last Revised: June 27, 2019