Faces of Salonika : Luigi Villari, Italian Army Liaison Officer

Luigi Villari (1876–1959) was an Italian historian, traveller and diplomat. He worked in the Italian Foreign Office and was later a newspaper correspondent. Villari served as Italy’s Vice-Consul in three American cities between 1906 and 1910. He devoted most of his life to the study of international problems, more especially to the relations between Italy and the English-speaking countries (Wikipedia).

With this background it is not surprising that he found himself in Salonika as the Italian Army Liaison Officer with various allied forces. As a previously published author – Italian Life in Town and Country (1902) and Fire and sword in the Caucasus (1906) are just two examples – it’s also not surprising that he published a book based on his experiences in Macedonia, first in Italian, then English. The English version, published in 1922 by T. Fisher Unwin Ltd (London), is available online and is entitled The Macedonian Campaign. With an interesting collection of maps and photographs, it is an account of the campaign from his view rather than a memoir, but his position with allied forces gives a unique perspective and it is delightfully gossipy in parts. It probably remains the only treatment, in English, of the Italian role in the Macedonian campaign, although the author explains “… I have omitted certain details concerning the Italian force, which were of less interest for a non-Italian public, while I have added some further material of a general character which I only obtained since the Italian edition was written.”

Photograph of Luigi Villari, Italian Army, liaison officer with allied forces in Salonika, 1915-1918.















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Author: Andy Hutt

Andy's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Arthur, who served in Salonika as a sapper with the Royal Engineers from 1916-1918. Opinions expressed in these posts are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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