Famous people of Chieti

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Famous people of Chieti


Alessandro Valignano, Romualdo de Sterlich, Pierluigi Zappacosta but also Ferdinando Galiani and why not, Sergio Marchionne... What did they do for Chieti? Who are they?

Among the famous personalities of Chieti is Alessandro Valignano (1538-1606) who was the man who consolidated the Jesuit missionary commitment in India, Japan and China, which Francis Xavier had begun. He worked there for 33 years. He convinced Pope Gregory XIII to make the mission in Japan a Jesuit mission exclusively because of the fact that the Franciscan religious habit, as well as their unusual methods, would give the impression that Catholicism was just as fragmented as Buddhism.


When the Franciscans arrived 23 years later they showed that Alexander had not made a mistake, as they created a split in the apostolate for their approach so different from the Jesuits. They looked with contempt at Japanese culture, which the Jesuits have admired very much. The Jesuits were much more cautious in the distribution of articles such as rosaries that could have led to superstition, while the Franciscans condemned the intellectual approach of the Jesuits. The greatest fear of Alexander came when the Spanish Franciscans were the fifth column for a Spanish assault. This led to the great persecution of 1597 together with 26 martyrs, including Franciscans and Jesuits. During all this time, communication with Roma was extremely slow. Alessandro's letter of 1589 arrived in Rome 17 years later, in 1607.


Alessandro, without the Roman instructions, knew how to use his great authority and set up seminars, reorganized the mission. He ordered intensive Japanese language studies. To finance these changes, he was given permission by the Pope to invest in silk trade with Macao. It was Alexander that the historical model as Jesuit visitor in Shogun history.
Alexander's goal was not only to convert the Japanese to Christianity, but to make Japan Christian, while he constantly advised caution and prudence. At the same time his strategy has always been to cultivate and, if possible convert the powerful and thus to use their power, fame and influence to promote Christianity. He considered the use of these means to be legitimate for secular sacred purposes necessary. It was a dangerous strategy and became more dangerous as successive gentlemen, all of whom were disaffected by influences other than their own, gradually moved on to omnipotence. Persecution has continued for more than two and a half centuries. The only Christian community that survived persecution was the one of hidden Christians and their survival was surprising, because there were no Christian samurai to lead them.

Alessandro was exasperated by the inaction of the local superiors. In addition, it was Alexander more than anyone else, who taught missionaries that becoming a follower of Christ does not mean becoming a European or ceasing to be Japanese.

In 1614 Diego de Mesquita wrote about the Christians of Japan:" There does not seem to be a Church in the whole of Christianity that surpasses them, in fact, I consider them to be the best in the world. They are a noble and rational people and are strongly exposed to reason, and when they become Christians, they begin to go to confession and live very well, paying much attention to their souls. I eager to preserve our holy law, and with a great desire for salvation, the correction of the vices they had when they were pagans. "


Romualdo de Sterlich, born in Chieti, where he returned to his twenties, great lover of culture. He set up his own very rich personal library with over 12,000 volumes that he wanted to make available to the city of Chieti for its cultural growth. Unfortunately, upon his death, the library was not taken care of and the volumes ended up in several distant libraries. He was one of the first Italians to read and comment on the works of Montesquieu, Rousseau, Voltaire, and other European Enlightenmentists. He actively participated in promoting European Enlightenment culture. He was part of the Accademia della Crusca and the Accademia dei Georgofili. Romualdo de Sterlich died in Chieti in 1788 and was buried in the Church of St. Francis of Paola.
Ferdinando Galiani was a talented diplomat and intellectual; he was born in Chieti while he lived and worked mainly in Naples. It is mainly remembered for his writings on political economics, which concern the theory of value in currency (1751). During his time in Paris (1759-1769) as secretary of the Neapolitan ambassador, he became a friend of prominent intellectuals, including Madame d' Epinay, Diderot and d' Alembert. The correspondence, in French, which began with them on his return to Naples, has a literary merit and is of interest, in addition to being a significant document of the Italian-French intellectual relations. He also left some writings on Horace (1765), on the Neapolitan dialect (1779), and on the functions of the princes (1782).


Pierluigi Zappacosta (manager) born in Chieti on July 2,1950, is CEO of Sierra Sciences Inc., a biotechnology company and president of Digital Persona, a biometrics company. He is also President of So, a software development company for productivity tools. In 1981, he was co-founder of Logitech. From 1981 to 1998 he held various management roles, including the role of Chairman and CEO. Logitech joined Nasdaq in 1997. Pierluigi attended the University of Rome and obtained a degree in Electrical Engineering, with honors. He attended Stanford University (MS in Computer Science).


Sergio Marchionne (manager) was CEO of Fiat S. p. A. and Chrysler Group LLC. When Fiat became managing director of the car manufacturer in 2004, it needed to increase its production capacity and this was the objective it wanted to achieve. Five years later, with Marchionne as manager, the car manufacturer recovered its nail polish and also gained enough power to acquire the American car manufacturer Chrysler. Sergio Marchionne took on the role of Chief Executive Officer of both companies, when the purchase contract was authorised in 2009. Sergio Marchionne was born in Chieti on 17 June 1952 into a family whose patriarch was a member of the local police force. As a teenager, the family moved to Canada, where he gained considerable credentials, becoming a lawyer and accountant. He has also attended some of the best academic institutions in the country, obtaining a degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto, an MBA from the University of Windsor, and a degree in law from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. He began his career as an accounting and tax specialist for the organization Deloitte Touche. In addition, Sergio Marchionne has imposed himself and collaborated with several other prestigious companies until his curriculum vitae has been studded with impressive work experience at international companies. In addition to his position at Fiat and Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne is also Chairman of SGS, which provides inspection and certification services, as well as a member of the board of directors of UBS, a global financial services company.



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