Giuliano Ferrara

On this date in 1952, Giuliano Ferrara was born in Rome. He served as chief organizer for the Italian Communist Party in his 20s. He left the party in 1982, later saying he admired Marx but not Marxism, and became known for being a conservative and strong advocate against abortion. During Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s first seven-month term in 1994, Ferrara served as his cabinet spokesman, senior aide and chief political strategist.

In 1996 he founded the controversial daily newspaper Il Foglio, published in Rome, and became its editor in chief until retiring in 2015 as editor but continuing to write. He also hosted the popular talk show “8½.” In 2008 he unsuccessfully ran for the parliament on an anti-abortion platform.

In 2008 he was described in the New York Times as an “avowed atheist and nonbeliever.” He referred to himself as a “devout atheist,” according to a 2008 article in the UK Independent. However, he had denied a similar label in April 2007 in the Italian weekly magazine Tempi: “But I’m not ‘a devoted atheist.’ Anyone who knows me knows that I am the opposite of a ‘devotee.’ I am a disciplined and rational person, but ‘devoted’ no.”

In 1987 he married U.S.-born Anselma (née Selma Jean) Dell’Olio. In 1992 her and Ferrara’s television program “Love Lessons” was canceled by Berlusconi after one episode due to pressure from the Christian Democracy political party.

Freedom From Religion Foundation