The strange story of Enzo Ferrari and his date with a firing squad has recently surfaced in Italy. Clearing out papers from an old Italian Communist Party headquarters, unnamed sources, found a Second World War diary of Doctor Giuseppe Zanarini. Zanarini was a physician and well-known wartime partisan, whose code name was “Altavilla” and who was condemned to death by the occupying Nazis for his underground activities.
The diary eventually found its way to Italian journalist Stefano Ferrari (no relation to Enzo) who has used it as a basis for a book on the life of “Altavilla.”
Nothing unusual about that, if it were not for the fact that the diary and now the book reveal that Enzo Ferrari was condemned to die by firing squad by the Italian Communist partisans in 1943. His crime was that he was suspected of collaborating with the Fascists.
“Altavilla”, who was the tax collector for the partisans of the province of Emilia, Italy, at the time, was instrumental in stopping the execution which included Ferrari paying 500,000 lire (over $120,000 in today’s currency), presumably to communist partisan funds.
The diary also revealed that, according to testimony by some citizens of Modena (Ferrari’s hometown) the constructor attended the first meetings of the Liberation Committee and also looked after Italian Communist Party files for six months in 1944, an act of great courage.