Most people think of Italy in terms of fashion, fabulous travel destinations and outstanding food but technological and scientific innovators, inventors and achievers like Guido Ucelli are also a key part of the driving force of Italy.
Italy in science, technology and invention
Italy is Europe’s second largest manufacturing economy and home to some of the region’s most environmentally efficient manufacturing systems. It's the third largest exporter of flexible manufacturing technologies including robotics.
Some notable Italian scientists and inventors are Marconi who invented the radio, Meucci who invented the telephone although Bell usually gets credit for this invention. Enrico Fermi was instrumental in atomic research and fission experiments. And let's not forget about Leonardo da Vinci and his many inventions and scientific achievements.
Dino Cattaneo’s grandfather, Guido Ucelli, is another Italian who played a major role in scientific and technological advances. Dino takes his middle name from his grandfather and perhaps because of this his grandfather has had a major influence on how Dino approaches his own life.
About Dino Cattaneo
Dino Cattaneo, Authentic Leadership for Everyday People podcaster is based in Boston Massachusetts. His podcast came as an outgrowth of Dino’s work as a digital marketing consultant and executive coach. When Dino would ask clients how they developed their leadership style his podcast idea came to him and now Dino interviews business executives from both large and small companies in his podcast.
Dino is a Milan, Italy native where he grew up and studied economics before his move to New York in 1990. In New York he met his future wife, attended business school and started work in the investment banking field: the beginning of his life in the USA where Dino has now lived for 30 years.
Guido Ucelli, a renaissance man
Guido Ucelli is a true renaissance man recognized and remembered for three primary contributions and achievements.
Guido Ucelli was CEO of an electrical power generation company, Riva. Among other things Riva was involved in one of the early installations in Niagara Falls for power generation.
Guido Ucelli designed a system to drain Lake Nemi
The design of the system to drain Lake Nemi outside of Rome was to resurface two Roman ships that date back to the time of Caligula.
One of the most important discoveries about these ships was that they had anchors back in Roman times that mirror the shape of present day anchors. In recognition of Guido Ucelli’s contribution to resurface these ships he was given the honorary name “Ucelli di Nemi”.
Guido Ucelli founded the Milan, Italy Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology
I've visited this fabulous museum where are you can find everything - aerospace satellites, submarines you can go inside and explore, Alfa Romeo classic historical cars, some of the first telephones.
Guido Ucelli, partisan during the WWII Italian Resistance
Guido Ucelli and his wife Carla were active partisans during the second world war and helped Jews leave Italy and cross the border into Switzerland - Guido Ucelli’s third notable achievement. Both Guido and Carla were jailed for this work. When they were eventually released they resumed the activity.
Dino’s grandmother Carla wore an inverted red triangle in the concentration camp which signified she was a political prisoner.
Catholic priest Don Giovanni Barbareschi
Catholic priest Don Giovanni Barbareschi was an inspirational leader during the resistance who worked with Guido and Carlo Ucelli in their effort to help Jews escape during the war.
One of the nuns who took care of the prisoners in jail, Sister Enrichetta, would look Don Giovanni in the eye and say: “Coraggio!” (be brave). The words stuck with him and helped him throughout his imprisonment and gave him strength to persevere. Later on Don Giovanni Barbareschi took care of Sister Enrichetta when she was dying in the San Vittore prison.
By a strange coincidence Don Giovanni Barbareschi became Dino's religion teacher many years later. He instilled in Dino important values like human freedom and justice. Dino only found out about Don Giovanni Barbareschi’s history with his family after fifteen years.
Check out this book by Don Giovanni Barbareschi, although it's written in Italian: Memoria di sacerdoti «Ribelli per amore» 1943-1945.
More about Italy during WWII
Here’s another book worth reading about the Italian resistance: Partisan Diary: A Woman's Life in the Italian Resistance by Ada Gobetti.
Life in Italy during the second world war was especially difficult for women. Read (and listen): Nisa, A Woman, Her War and Chewing the Fat.
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