The Italian-Turkish War

Ralph Nevy returned to Italy from the United States in order to serve his time in the Italian military. He signed up for the Alpini, an elite mountain warfare corps of the Italian Army. In 1911-1912 Alpini regiments, including Ralph’s, were sent to Libya to fight in the war against the Ottoman Empire, which was then occupying Libya. Ralph’s family and friends sent him postcards during his time there.

Grazie mille to Chris Lander for salvaging these postcards from Erminia Nevy’s house and to his son Nick for digitizing them. I welcome any corrections and additions to my translations. ~Joan Lander

Postcard from Maria Nevi to her brother Raffaele Nevi (Ralph Nevy), Alpini, Company 31, Ivrea Battalion, Tobruck, Cirenaica (Libya), Italy.

Affectionate greetings from your sister Maria.  I am sorry to find you in those ugly (brutal, bad) places. Addio (Farewell)

According to one translation site, “Addio” is a phrase that is very rich in drama.  When you say “Addio” (to God), you are pretty sure you’re not going to see this person ever again.

Postcard from Roberto in Pre-Saint-Didier, Italy, 1912.  Addressed to Soldier Raffaele Nevi (Ralph Nevy), Alpini, Company 39, Derna, Cirenaica (Libya).  Note that the words 4th Alp are written in blue.  This stands for Ralph’s 4th Alpini regiment.

“Greetings from your friend Roberto.”

Roberto could have also been in the Alpini military corps, as he sent the card from an area near Aosta, Ralph’s training site.  The postcard view is from one of the cable car stops, Pavillon Mont Frety, on the way up Mont Blanc.  This is a similar view to the 1968 photo by Bill Orsinger of Ralph and Erminia Nevy at the overlook to the summit.

Postcard to Soldier Raffaele Nevi (Ralph Nevy), Alpini Company 39, in Derna, Cirinaica (Cirenaica, Libya), from his sister Palmina in Bergotto, Italy.  Postcard image says “Best wishes from Brisighella”, a famous medieval village in Italy. February 10, 1912

“Mille Baci” (a thousand kisses) postcard from Palmina Nevi in Bergotto, Italy, February 20, 1912.  Addressed to Soldier Raffaele Nevi (Ralph Nevy), Company 39, 4th Alpini (regiment), Derna, Cirenaica (Libya)

“With affection, greetings from your sister and mama, Caterina and Palmina”

This 1912 postcard from Orstino Pioli appears to concern the wellbeing of a mutual friend in Parma.  (more translation needed)

“Sincere Good Wishes” postcard from Palmina Nevi in Bergotto, Italy, March 1, 1912.  Addressed to Soldier Raffaele Nevi (Ralph Nevy), 4th Alpini (regiment) Company 39, Ivrea Battalion, Derna, Cirenaica (Libya).

“Most affectionate greetings….from your sister Palmina Nevi.” (needs more translation)

Translation: Derna. Entrance to Little Lombardy where the defensive heroics took place by our brave Alpini troops on the night of March 4, 1912

(text on postcard) Panorama preso dalla terrazza dei frati. Un Saluto da Derna. (translation: Panorama taken from the terrace of the friars. A greeting from Derna.)

Postcard from Raffaele Nevi (Ralph Nevy) in Derna, Libya, March 13, 1912.  Addressed to Signorina Pelmina [Palmina] Nevi, Berceto, Bergotto, Parma.

“Greetings and kisses from your affectionate brother, Raffaele.”

Postcard to Raffaele Nevi (Ralph Nevy), 4th Alpini regiment, 39th company, in Derna, Cirenaica (Libya), from cousin Sistina and her mother in Bedonia, Parma, Italy.  May 26, 1912

Postcard from Frank Pioli in Torino (Turin) to Ralph Nevy, August 11, 1912.  Frank would later marry Ralph’s sister Palmina.  Addressed to Soldier Raffaele Nevi (Ralph Nevy), 4th Alpini regiment, 41st company, Aosta

This November 7, 1912 postcard is from Roberto Brugneto in Berceto, Italy, to Ralph Nevy in Libya.  He appears to be writing on behalf of his family and says that the family is doing well.  (needs additional translation)

Addressed to Soldier Raffaele Nevi, 4th Alpini, 39th Company, Derna, Cirenaica (Libya)

“Greetings, my brother, Your friend, Roberto Brugneto”

text on postcard:  La presa di Ain-Zara (The capture of Ain-Zara). The battle of Ain Zara was fought in December 1911 during the Italo-Turkish War, waged between Italy and the Ottoman Empire for control of Libya.

Postcard from Ralph Nevy in Derna, Libya, to his mother, 1912.  Addressed to Signora Caterina Nevi, Berceto, Bergotto, Parma.  (Comune of Berceto, frazione of Bergotto, province of Parma)

“Derna, 12-5-12. Greetings and kisses from your affectionate son, Raffaele”

The Italo-Turkish War, 1911-1912

“Pax” is Latin for “Peace”.  This graphic depicts the ceding of Cyrenaica (Libya) to the Kingdom of Italy by the departing (and defeated) forces of the Ottoman Empire in October of 1912.  Italy declared Libya a protectorate, and although the image portrays the native Libyans as grateful for Italy’s help, it took 20 years for Italy to stamp out the last resistance to colonization.  In the occupation of what Mussolini called “Italy’s fourth shore,” the Italians beautified Tripoli, excavated the Roman cities, and presided over the death of as much as a quarter of the population.