From the 8th to the 11th August 1916, Pallanza (now Verbania), a small town on the Piedmontese side of Lake Maggiore, hosted a meeting between representatives of the Italian and English governments to discuss the cost of importing coal from the other side of the Channel. Italy, as a matter of fact, intended to break off all relations with Germany, until then its traditional coal supplier. Having reached an agreement with the English, on the 27th August Italy then declared war on the German Empire. The Italian delegation was made up of the Minister for Transport, Enrico Arlotta, and the Minister for Industry, Giuseppe De Nava, while the English side was led by the Foreign Minister, Walter Runciman, and the Ambassador, Rennel Rodd. The English representatives arrived in Pallanza by train and were hosted at the Villa Della Quercia by Edward Capel Cure, commercial attaché to the UK Embassy in Rome. The Italian delegation travelled to Arona by train and from there took the steamship Francia to Pallanza, where they were welcomed by local officials and a cheering crowd. About half of the film is made up of shots of the Pallanza main square; the later sequences, on the other hand, focus on the Cadorna family, who originally come from the town. There are shots of the house in which General Luigi was born, the ‘history room’ dedicated to his father Raffaele, who had conquered Rome at the head of the Bersaglieri, and of the monument to his uncle Carlo, who had been Minister to the Kingdom of Italy several times. The film was donated by General Cadorna to the Museo del Paesaggio of Verbania, where it was later rediscovered.
Gianni Pozzi and Leonardo Parachini