The evocative funeral of the great Gigi Proietti took place on Thursday 5 November live on Rai 1, accompanied by the love of friends, colleagues and all the Italians who followed him live.
To say goodbye to Alberto Sordi, in Piazza San Giovanni, there were 250,000 people. To greet and thank the great Gigi Proietti, who died on November 2 on his eightieth birthday, due to the dark times we are experiencing, there were forcibly less, but at the same time there were many more, thanks to the suggestive and moving farewell ceremony, worthy of his artistic and moral stature, which was paid to him by the Municipality of Rome – which decreed the city mourning for today – and was broadcast live on Rai Uno (with the beautiful and non-intrusive commentary of Paolo Sommaruga e Alberto Angela, who has collaborated with Proietti many times).
Gigi Proietti: his farewell worthy of the life he lived
The car with the coffin of Gigi Proietti left at 10 from the Capitol, after a greeting from a representative of the administration and a tour around the statue of Marcus Aurelius, escorted by brigade, police and carabinieri on a motorcycle, and traveled through the city so dear to Gigi and who with so much love she reciprocated, accompanied by the moved and grateful applause of the people who met her during this last trip, in a frozen Rome and with little desire to laugh. After having walked the streets of the center, the body of Gigi Proietti made his entrance on stage at his Globe Theater in the heart of Villa Borghese, the theater that he founded and managed for 17 years, after the Brancaccio and the Gran Teatro and which from now on will bear his name, welcomed by a interminable ovation, similar to the many he has received throughout his career. The curtain rose in front of her lifelong partner, Sagitta, with her daughters Carlotta and Susanna, friends, students and colleagues, and we attended the last performance of this great protagonist of our show and our culture, who knew how to be loved by everyone, raised generations of actors, spread the classics and told jokes, performed virtuosic performances and lent himself to parodying his own loves, taught us the virtue of laughter and not take yourself too seriously. All gifts – but there are many more – that he left us and that partially alleviate the pain of such a sad moment, in which even the sky of the Eternal City dressed in mourning to greet one of his favorite children, called elsewhere.
The testimony of Gigi Proietti’s friends
After the greeting of the mayor Virginia Raggi, at home because it was positive for covid, the friends, in the splendid scenery of this Elizabethan wooden theater, which many times saw him on stage, even as an extraordinary director, spoke with a voice broken by tears, remembering what also who did not know in person Gigi Proietti perceived: generosity, wisdom, the desire to make people laugh, his being on par with everyone, never on a pedestal, his simplicity and his great humanity. At her friend’s first painful surgery Marisa Laurito, who greeted him at the end with a “see you soon”, others followed, beautiful because true and sincere, born from the heart and not thought of cold: his former students remembered him shocked by pain Pino Quartullo, Enrico Brignano, Flavio Insinna, it’s still Paola Cortellesi, Edoardo Leo (who “steals” the verses he dedicated to Sordi, changing the ending), his first Juliet Valentina Martial (the memory of his teacher is very intense), the mayor of Rome at the time of the foundation of the Globe and a family friend Walter Veltroni. Each of them added a piece to a precious figure that was for many of them many things, teacher, friend, father, wedding witness, point of reference. They remembered his jokes, his poems and his songs, making us smile, they avoided the rhetoric so disliked by Gigi Proietti while fearing it and turned to him, confessing their inability to say goodbye forever, promising to carry on his lesson, in such a dark period in which the importance of culture is felt stronger than ever. Also present were his other historical students, from Paola Tiziana Cruciani a Rodolfo Laganà a Massimo Wertmuller, who did not speak on the occasion but whose emotion was evident from the tears that sprouted from the masks.
Farewell to Gigi Proietti in the Artists’ Church in Piazza del Popolo
After this beautiful secular homage, the coffin covered with the red roses of his wife and daughters arrived in the Church of the Artists in Piazza del Popolo, where the religious funeral took place, in the presence of the closest friends, to which they were added, among those we have seen, Enrico Vanzina e Citto Maselli. The celebrant, whom he knew personally Gigi Proietti, spoke of his human and professional skills, recalling his popular origins that enriched him in his approach to life and people, giving him values that he has poured into his work throughout his life. He also recalled anecdotes from his life, talking about his faith (perhaps not known to many), his closeness to the least like the prisoners of Rebibbia (where he often spent Christmas with his wife), his admiration for Pope Francis and his love for the people (at a time when “It is easier to be populist than popular”). “A reserved person, sweet, unobtrusive, with a strong sense of modesty and never vulgar”: this is how the priest defined Gigi Proietti, a person who put love and tenderness in relationships, and for whom everything ended with a smile. We will try, in his homage, to smile and laugh without him, grateful for the enormous legacy he left us and which we are sure will not be lost, even in times of pandemic and cultural misery like the ones we are living in..