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Giuseppe Ragni

1867 - 24 Maggio 1919


Giuseppe Ragni (1867 - 24 May 1919), the true, authentic king of Bolognese salesmen. Gifted with a smooth tongue, he could sell any type of goods: when he exhausted his own stock he would use his ability to help his coworkers who struggled to pass each day. He was often seen in the squares wearing a top hat with a herring who happened to have a one hundred pound note in its mouth: representing the poor and the rich. His success as a peddler, working for years in the squares and in the markets of the province, allowed him to reach a certain level of comfort. For some time he had an apprentice who would later become a major success in the Piazzola Bolognese markets in a different way: Oreste Biavati. Ragni wrote hundreds of zirudelle (short stories) that he sold to the public about his amusing encounters. In more recent years his son, Enrico, in collaboration with Odette Righi Boi, published two volumes of his father’s stories and memories. Giuseppe Ragni was killed by a military vehicle that he did not see due to fog. He rests in the Campo 1962 in the Certosa cemetery of Bologna.

Translation from italian language by Holly Bean.