enter image description hereMy great grandfather was an immigrant to the USA in 1907 but wasn’t a citizen yet so couldn’t enlist. He went back to Italy to fight in the war. He was from Sellia Marina. From the research I’ve done, I take it he was some sort of officer? But the story in the family has always been that he fought against Mussolini. I don’t know how this could be since that didn’t happen until WWII? All of his sons were in WWII but no info on if at 56 he was but he was a citizen in 1921 so would he still have been in Italian Army? Very confusing because no one knows anything in this family.

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    Re "the story in the family has always been that he fought against Mussolini". The founding of the fascist movement ("Fasci Italiani di Combattimento") occurred in spring of 1919, so your ancestor may have been involved in some sort of altercation with fascists depending on how long he staid in Italy. Mussolini himself was a soldier in the Italian army from 1914 until 1917, when he was wounded and discharged. So it is also possible (but not very likely) that your ancestor encountered Mussolini while both were serving during WW1.
    – njuffa
    Dec 5, 2022 at 1:50
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    [Not my area of expertise] The gorget patches appear to be black with lighter-color piping and five-pointed star, indicating either artillery or engineers/sappers from what I have found. The emblem at the front of the cap should give us further clues as to branch of the military, unfortunately it is not very clear what is depicted on it.
    – njuffa
    Dec 5, 2022 at 2:28
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    He might have served in the Arditi regiment. Look at the skull on his cap. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arditi
    – Jos
    Dec 5, 2022 at 3:25
  • The bottom part of the insignia on the cap appear to be two crossed cannons, which together with the gorget patches suggests the person served in an artillery unit. The round something above the crossed cannons doesn't look like a skull to me.
    – njuffa
    Dec 5, 2022 at 11:25
  • RE: "wasn’t a citizen yet so couldn’t enlist", that sounds off to me. Plenty of non-citizens enlist in the US Army. A quicker path to citizenship is actually one of the benefits of enlistment. AFAIK this has been the case for most of US history, and is especially encouraged during wartime. But I don't know the specific requirements during WWI.
    – The Photon
    Dec 10, 2022 at 18:48

1 Answer 1


He was definitely a member of the regular troops as the officers' uniforms had pockets in the front and were slightly different in the design.
Very good article on ww1 Italian uniforms (in Italian)

The insignia is so dark that could be black indicating both an artillery or an engineer regiment, the only difference being the border color (yellow for artillery and red for engineer).
List of WW1 Italian regiments with insignia

I excluded the special department of the Arditi (which also had a black insignia) because the uniforms were very different from the one shown in the photo.

The hat is the only element that could clarify the actual collocation but unfortunately the photo is not very clear and both regimets have very similar emblems.

If the elements in the lower part of the hat correspond to two cannons, we certainly have an artillery man. If instead they correspond to two crossed halberds we have an engineer.

On his left hand cuff we can see his rank, being Maresciallo di Compagnia indicating that the photo might be of 1916 as the same rank in 1915 had a different design and was replaced in 1917 by the new ranks of seargeants

To me they look more like halberds, so my final verdict will be an engineer

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