The Loved Garment of Stelio Crise

10 May 2024

Currently on display is the coat of Stelio Crise, librarian, writer and literary critic who was a tireless driver of Trieste’s cultural life in the 1950s.

A renowned critic of James Joyce, Stelio Crise (1915 – 1991) was in contact with writers Umberto Saba, Anita Pittoni, Claudio Magris, Fulvio Tomizza, and had strong friendships with poet Biagio Marin and sculptor Marcello Mascherini, among others. His work as a librarian, a role he passionately embraced, contributed to a modern vision of the public library as a place centered around the reader, “who is always the revitalizing yeast of a book.” Trieste has honored him with the naming of the “Biblioteca Statale” library, a reading room at the University of Trieste, and a room at the “Biblioteca del Seminario Vescovile” library. 

Many remember Stelio Crise wearing this coat with a beret (which he had purchased in Paris). Following his death, the newspaper Il Piccolo published a beautiful article in his memory that included comments from his dear friend, journalist, critic, and writer Geno Pampaloni. “I will miss his beret, his tight coat,” wrote Pampaloni, “his figure that used to meet me on the slabs of Piazza Unità.” That coat has continued to live on, becoming a symbol of filial love through the generations.

Originally, it belonged to Tancredi Biondi Santi, son of the creator of the Brunello di Montalcino wine (Tancredi later established the DOCG, making it famous worldwide) and Stelio Crise’s main mentor, having married Stelio’s aunt. Stelio spent many of his university years as a guest at the “Il Greppo” estate in Montalcino.

Upon Tancredi’s death, the bond was such that Franco, his son, invited Stelio to choose some of his father’s clothes to keep as a beloved memory. Stelio chose this coat, which he wore from 1971 until his death in 1991. The coat continued its emotional journey by passing to one of Stelio’s sons, Stefano, who wore it until its donation to Fondazione ITS, agreed upon with his brothers Alessandro and Lorenzo.

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