Often history is told by the victors, or by those who did not witness it. Trilussa was a witness, and with his art, a victor. He documented Roman and Italian society in poems and fables, from Italy's birth in the late nineteenth century, to its rebirth after the Second World War. In 1950, the nascent Republic acknowledged Trilussa's importance and values by making him Senator for Life. He enjoyed this accolade for only three weeks before he died on 21 December 1950: the same year as another great fabulist, George Orwell.
Trilussa's popularity in Italy has not diminished. Fans to this day take to YouTube, where they delight in reciting a large grain of truth wrapped in one of his fables. This bilingual book aims to prove his appeal is universal, and he is worthy to be "crowned" Aesop of Rome.
Leaving school at sixteen, without a qualification, he told his mother he was going to be a poet. He would become more than a poet. Under his pen name, Trilussa, he wrote perceptively, amusingly, lovingly, cuttingly, and cunningly in good times and hard. He appealed to all classes, saints and sinners, and even to a dictator who Trilussa would defy through fables, and satires. Within hours of Trilussa's death, Senator Bergamini declared in the Senate, Trilussa "had an aura of popularity that it would have been imprudent to harm or confront." He was right. In his way, the poet and fabulist won; the dictator and fascism lost.