Giampaolo Meucci

 

Born in Florence in 1919, Meucci graduated in Law in 1942 at the Scuola Normale of Pisa, where he studied under Giovanni Miele. In the same year he became a member of the magistrature. As a Public Prosecutor at the special Court of Assizes he was active in trials for war crimes and purges.

For twenty years he was president of the juvenile court for Tuscany, and as such he is remembered as the founder and innovator of juvenile law in all Italy. His best known work, I figli non sono nostri (1974), is considered a cornerstone of Italian legal culture. He was among the leading figures of the democratic Catholic movement which on the one hand made an important contribution to overcoming the ideological barriers created by the Cold War and on the other helped to define the concept of secularism which motivated many Catholics in their role as citizens of the Republic.

Mayor La Pira in particular used to consult him with regard to the grave social problems of the post-war years; indeed, in 1952 it was Meucci who suggested solving the housing problem by requisitioning unoccupied apartments, having recourse to laws governing large-scale national emergencies. It was during those years that Meucci came to realize the importance of educating young people. He was the co-author (with Mario Gozzini) of the first manual of Civic Education, at a time when partly thanks to him this subject was first introduced into the school curriculum.

He thus came to take part in the experience as a teacher in Don Milani’s Scuola di Barbiana, teaching the young the rudiments of how to be responsible citizens. The letters written to him by Don Lorenzo Milani are among the most important documents enabling us to reconstruct the work and personality of the Prior of Barbiana.

Gian Paolo Meucci ended his career as the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal in Venice. He died in Florence on 18 March 1986.