Early Life: Born in Caltagirone, Sicily, Sept. 5, 1901, christened Mario Scelba (pronounced Shell-ba). His poor family sharecropped land owned by Don Luigi Sturzo, Italy's great political priest who founded what is now the Christian Democratic Party. Don Luigi was the boy's godfather, paid for his law studies in Rome, employed him as his private secretary, thus launched him in politics.

Political Career: When Don Luigi's party was suppressed by the Fascists in 1926, Scelba dropped out of politics, lived as a none-too-successful criminal lawyer. In wartime, when the movement revived underground, he was arrested by the Nazis for publishing a clandestine...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!