Happy Birthday Sofia!

There is one SOFIA in italy. Sofia Loren the one the only!

Sofia Scicolone was born in Rome in September 20th 1934. Her father (son of the marquis of Agrigento Scicolone Murillo) recognized the paternity of Sofia, whom he named after his own mother, however, he always refused to marry Sofia’s mother who, due to the consequent economic hardships moved with little Sofia from Rome to Pozzuoli, near Naples, with her family where Sofia spent her childhood and the first years of adolescence, during the Second World War, in precarious economic conditions.

During WWII while escaping into the bomb shelter, Sofia was wounded. Because of this incident, the family moved to Naples, hosted by distant relatives; the new city and its culture will be constantly present in the life and career of Sofia Loren.

After the war, Sofia returned to Pozzuoli where her grandmother Luisa opened a piano bar in the living room, selling homemade cherry liqueurs, while Romilda (Sofia’s mother), played the piano, her sister Maria sang and Sofia looked after the tables and washed the dishes. The place became popular with American soldiers, quartered nearby.


Her most remarkable movies are “La Ciociara”, called Two Women in English, a film of 1960 directed by Vittorio De Sica.

Italian Wedding (from a 1946 play called Filomena Marturano), a 1964 film directed again by Vittorio De Sica, with Marcello Mastroianni.

And, again a De Sica movie Sunflowers with Marcello Mastroianni. There are many more movies worth remenbering.


But my admiration for Sofia Loren goes to the incident about tax evasion. A period that marked her life. Seventeen days in the Caserta penitentiary for twelve million lire not declared twenty years earlier, it was ruled that it was the accountant’s fault.

The then director ironically remembers the initial moments and the crowd in front of the prison of onlookers, journalists and above all «the staff, usually lacking, that instead was all present. Even those who had finished their shift, the one with a different shift and the one on vacation. All there in anticipation of the great event. There was no routine in the various procedures: «In the freshman office, after recording the data, Loren handed over, as a matter of practice, the money and the jewels she had with her: a large sturdy, stiff bracelet, a refined ring of diamonds and a striking medallion of valuable workmanship and apparent significant value. “Don’t worry,” she said as the objects were carefully placed in the safe, “it’s all fake, nowadays no one wears real jewelry any more“.

The human reaction of the great actress was, however, the same as that of many strangers who had preceded her and unfortunately then followed her: «She remained there looking around bewildered without knowing well what to say and do. There was only one astonished and lost lady for the loss of a primary good: freedom.


In the following two weeks, Loren’s life continued in a cell like any other, without any privileges, and without receiving visits from either her husband, producer Carlo Ponti, or her children, but only her sister’s. The phone calls to the prison for the actress, however, were numerous, including the calls by Marcello Mastroianni, of course.

Sofia Loren always had a very reserved and as simple as possible attitude: “She spoke little, did not express judgments, did not make requests, did not formulate complaints and this was his behavior throughout the detention. She was aware of the fact that those who are considered privileged by life do not have the right to feel sorry for themselves when something goes wrong “.

I recall that Sofia was in Paris at that time of the ruling, were there was no extradition. Sofia chose to come back to Italy and face the consequences. She then said: “I rather go to jail, than never come back to Italy ever again.”

Happy birthday Sofia and many more.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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