Andrea Gallo

Italian presbyter

Andrea Gallo (C.E.1928 – 2013) is an Italian founder, leader, and presbyter of the community of San Benedetto al Porto of Genoa.

Andrea Gallo on April 25, C.E.2008

Quotes by Andrea Gallo:

  • Dear guys, at 17 years and a month with the partisans I saw the birth of democracy, now that I'm old should I see it die? You are the hope, let's remain human![1]
  • [At the funeral of Fernanda Pivano] Hello lady freedom. See you.[2]
  • However it is true, I am a communist. I never forget the Bible and the Gospel. And I never forget what Marx wrote.[3]
  • In my opinion a "Genoese school" has never existed. Proof of this is the fact that there are no heirs, disciples of this school, not even Michele or Max Manfredi or Federico Sirianni can be considered their heirs. The fact that the institutions in Genoa were conservative did not make the emergence of these singers possible from a recording point of view. Then they were forced to emigrate to Milan. One thing they had in common was the neighborhood, the Foce, with its tree-lined street, Corso Torino, which goes to the sea, a unique feature for the Genoese neighborhoods. It's a post-modern neighborhood, neither rich nor poor, where you had the chance to meet all kinds of people. [...] A meeting point, for elaboration, where the singers found themselves in the neighborhood square, in the bar run by Tenco's cousins ​​or by the sea. And it is no coincidence that the sea is very important in the songs of the songwriters.[4]
  • A transsexual person is a daughter of God like every other human being.[5]

Quotes from interviews:



  • My gospels are not four... We have been following the gospel according to De André for years and years, that is, a path in an obstinate and contrary direction. And we can confirm it, note it: nothing comes from diamonds, flowers bloom from manure.
  • How can those who recognize belonging to the human family not open the doors? Then I, as a Christian, how can I not be welcoming? And I welcome you as you are, as a person, because even before being male, female, homosexual or foreigner, one is a person, that is, a subject of autonomy.
  • I see that when I open my arms, the walls fall. Welcome means building bridges and not walls.
  • It's difficult to always keep the door open, it's not easy. There is also fear, but we don't remove fear, we face it. How many times in this office have they pointed a revolver at me... But only through hospitality, through listening, through availability, generosity, can fear be overcome.
  • The only title I like is: "street priest". So much so that when I go to debates and the speakers from the universities of Bologna, Genoa, Palo Alto, Cambridge show up... I like it when they say: "Don Andrea Gallo from the University of the Street".
  • The road enriches me, continuously. The most significant encounters take place there, the encounter of true suffering, the encounter of those who still have so much hope and therefore watch, wait. On the street, alternatives are born, the desire to conquer rights is born.
  • My only regret is that I have sometimes been too gentle with all the institutions, with all the powers.


  • indifference is the eighth capital vice.
  • Let Christians, if they are not welcoming, not say that they are Christians. [...] Everyone you meet is your brother, son, daughter; there are no brothers and sisters from series B, C and D. On all the difficulties regarding immigration, I say: let's welcome them first and then we will face the difficulties.
  • Sex education should be a focus. [...] It is a gift from God, sexuality.
  • spirituality – I speak to both believers and lay people – is a gift from the great mother nature and is the quotient of intelligence and emotion.
  • The verification of an authentic faith, of true religiosity, is whether a brotherhood, a justice, a commitment, a possibility of welfare solidarity is born. The Christian engages in liberating solidarity and in this there is the chrism and confirmation of a faith.


  • I find Christianity in others, I find Christianity in prostitutes, I find Christianity in my dearest tramps, I find Christianity in the atheist... That is, the good news, whoever gives me good news is an evangelist.
    Whoever gives me bad news doesn't... Abortion no, this no, this no, divorced people no, couples eeeh if they live together no, no, no, no, no... and it's not good news! This is not good news!

I don't give up:


When, in the 1930s, I started to look around a bit, I lived with my family, my father, my mother and an older brother, in the Certosa neighborhood, in western Genoa. In twenty minutes from Certosa you could walk to the beach, towards Sampierdarena. By tram, passing through a tunnel, you could reach the historic center in ten minutes. Therefore a privileged neighborhood, which even in the dialect, in the vernacular, did not differ at all from the language of the center of Genoa.


  • I willingly return to my neighborhood, I pass by it sometimes, it doesn't seem disfigured like others, nor devastated by speculation or by the carelessness of men. It was also lucky not to suffer much damage from air raids, unlike the city centre. We were on the other side of the Polcevera stream and the large factories, I lived in via Campi, right at the beginning of the neighborhood. We were proud to be from Certosa. It was called that because there was a Carthusian abbey. One of our feasts was San Bruno, the founder of the Carthusians. The church, the large porticoes, were a value. In our parish there was the musical band, all the branches of Catholic Action, sporting activities, because the field was large, it was a recreation center on the example of that of San Carlo in Milan. (p. 14)
  • Even the Pammatone, the historic hospital of Genoa, should have been preserved from the fateful demolition pickaxe. It could have been transformed into a large conference center but instead it became a courthouse. It is also true that it was heavily bombed, but not to the point of necessarily wanting to demolish it, so much so that a priest, Don Ferrari, chaplain of the Garibaldina Brigade, who had been with the partisans, created a community of "sciuscià" there after the war: The city of boys. Pammatone was an artistic pearl, a Renaissance hospital at the time of Saint Catherine of Genoa, who had founded the congregation of Mandilletto. For this reason, at least the portico structure was saved and encapsulated in a steel structure. It's a unique building, but the rest of the neighborhood is deserted. (p. 28)
  • I would call one of Genoa's illnesses the opposing vetoes: when faced with a project it opposes just for the sake of opposing it. (p. 42)
  • In the historic center, by tradition, the nobles coexist with the artisans, although craftsmanship has never been helped and supported. For everyone, however it may be, the historic center is the heart, but if the heart doesn't beat... (p. 42)
  • [On Edoardo Sanguineti] He was sober, honest, a communist. [...] It is truly singular that in recent years, before his death in 2010, he had chosen to live in one of these neighborhoods in Ponente, moving his entire library there, which was donated to the University of Genoa. Precisely during that election campaign I remember him saying that it was more necessary than ever to "recover class hatred." Who knows how many today would be willing to follow him? (pp. 42-43)
  • An event was discussed a lot. To tell the truth, it is still discussed today: the construction in the early 1960s of the Genoa Elevated Road, along the entire port arch, which became sadly famous for its paradoxical ability to hide the medieval city below , but at the same time to enhance the presence of the buildings from above. The elevated road became an emergency due to the continuous increase in city traffic. The municipal administration was almost forced to intervene as quickly as possible. It is clear that the structure is very open to criticism from an architectural point of view and the overlap in an artistic port context of the entire harbor. However, after many years, the route of the flyover has proven to be efficient and still partially resolves sea traffic. Controversies still arise today, the pros and cons are discussed, but it remains a fundamental 6 kilometer artery. For supporters of its demolition, only two opportunities remain: either an underground tunnel or a high bridge over the port. (pp. 48-49)
  • Carmine was a difficult parish, also because it is located between the historic center and Castelletto. Difficult and poor. Every year 100-150 families arrived in this area to occupy tiny and dilapidated apartments: the homes were sometimes impracticable, almost uninhabitable. The local market was indecent. There was a lot of unemployment among young people. (p. 83)
  • Until the Second World War, if one was authentic Genoese, or even adopted, one could not help but feel the historical center like Mecca, one could not give up taking a tour every now and then in what was the engine, the heart of the city. The old city, old as Fabrizio De André defined it, not in a derogatory way, but simply because that was our root, our door, Ianua, a city with open arms, hospitable, which does not exclude anyone. (p. 93)
  • We were talking about piazza Caricamento, which today is a large empty space that has lost its ancient meaning; first there was the terminus of the trams for the west and the east, there were the wagons waiting to load the goods arriving in the port. Loading, fatigue, load. (p. 93)
  • If in 1946 Genoa had truly organized itself with expert technicians, and the restoration of its immense historic center, from Sarzano to Principe, had begun, there would have been no need to advertise too much to make it known in Italy and abroad. It is the largest and most artistic historic center in Europe. We in Genoa also have Naples, via Prè is a bit like Naples. (p. 93)
  • Can you imagine a sailor who spends six, seven months at sea, gets off the ship, arrives in the historic center and no longer finds the whores? (p. 94)
  • The historic center is almost an archetype. The alleys are immutable, what changes is the way in which those spaces are used, the alleys have always remained the same. The Municipality has always carried out a repressive work towards the historic center and its inhabitants, especially the new immigrants who cannot use accommodation facilities, open to all the problems that concern them, because the process is ghettoising, it is marginalising. (p. 95)
  • Carlo [[[Carlo Giuliani|Giuliani]]] wasn't a leader, he wasn't even a punkabbestia, as the newspapers wrote. He was a normal boy. In death he became a symbol. A boy killed... The commemorations, Comencini's film, the memory, have created a mythology around him, which I don't agree with at all. (p. 110)
  • Vittorio [[[Vittorio Arrigoni|Arrigoni]]] is very easy to forget, but this absolutely must not happen. Vittorio didn't like fuss, he worked for a just cause and for this reason he shouldn't be forgotten. [...] Once again we find Vittorio Arrigoni's phrase: what I do is human. Let's stay human. Vittorio didn't say become human, which almost seems like an insult. But... let's stay human! (p. 110)
  • I would like to delete the word "ghetto", which is distancing, exclusion, as happens with immigrants, with girls who are subjected to a racket; our solidarity, which sometimes is only charitable, aims to be liberating, to create rights, in forms and structures, in hospitality. So I hope that the ghetto will soon change its name. We could call it a "nice" neighborhood to underline that there is no discrimination or marginalization in it. (p. 118)
  • It is important to underline your native place, your land, your sea. And so this aspiration has the same name as the city. Even Janua, say the scholars, means door, and the city of God means an open door. The port itself is made of two large, spreading arms. The port welcomes all ships, all cultures, all goods, exchange of goods and people. [...] I saw seafarers from all over the world arriving in port, even before the world war, and my heart opened. The first vu cumprà of Genoa were Chinese, and no one opposed them. They passed along the beach with suitcases and only repeated "ties, ties". They were famous: «One lila, two lile». (pp. 145-146)

I have come to serve:

  • Remember, when the Vatican archives open everyone will know that Siri did not return defeated but a loser. (page 99)
  • This is the story of a loser, there are many, unfortunately, who dream of a home, a family, but instead find abandonment, desperation. They are not the victims, it is me, it is us, because we do not realize the indifference. (page 103)
  • Let's pretend that the earth is a large ocean liner like the Andrea Doria. The sea is stormy, water is coming in, the ship is at the mercy of the waves. While the tragedy risks taking place, and many people try to cling to the hull to avoid drowning, on the top floor there are those who continue to play and dance, regardless of what is happening on the floors below. If we don't intervene in time, sooner or later, even those high up risk ending up in the sea, everyone needs to lend a hand while waiting for help to arrive. (page 106)
  • Why do we need to believe in God? I'll explain it to you in the words of Professor Norberto Bobbio, who I was lucky enough to meet in the town where he was born: "Don Gallo, I don't distinguish between believers and non-believers. I distinguish between those who think and those who don't think" . Power and powers are against God because they fear those who think. (page 119)
  • [cit. St. Augustine] The dead are not absent, they are invisible. They keep their eyes full of light, ours full of tears. (page 122)
  • The Church to the question: "when is mortal sin committed?" he replies: "When there is serious matter, full awareness and deliberate consent at the same time." For me sin is the absence of love. (page 145)
  • Template:NDR I dismissed God, threw away a love, to build a void in my soul and heart. (page 129)
  • Immeasurable prayer is the synthesis of the gospel of Jesus: "for those who travel in an obstinate and contrary direction with their special brand of special desperation and among the vomit of the rejected takes the last steps to deliver to death a drop of splendor, of humanity, of truth". (page 132)

Above all else:


My gospels are five: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and... Fabrizio.
In addition to the four "canonical" texts, I have always had a fifth gospel, the one according to De André. It is my secular Good News. It scandalizes right-thinking people, but it is the echo of the words of the man from Nazareth that, I am sure, fascinated my friend Fabrizio.


  • I have always been attracted by the desire for redemption of the marginalized human condition. It is the core of Christianity. There is no fanaticism and there is no resignation. It is an evangelical message, it is Good News. (p. 7)
  • In the reality in which we are immersed - complex and sad, scared and militarised, with politics in disarray - it will be poetry that will save us. (p. 8)
  • [...] the fabric of secularism is based on shared principles, which must become everyone's heritage. (p. 8)
  • The minorities are a sort of apocalyptic vision of the good. (p. 25)
  • I define myself as a anarchist priest. The term anarchist comes from Greek and means against every power that oppresses. Whoever has a responsibility must be of service and not exercise power, or repression, or despotism. The true anarchist can choose non-violence, the epochal turning point of humanity. (p. 28)
  • This is why democracy and anarchy go together. Because power must be used for the common good and not for personal interests. (p. 28)
  • No one gets free alone. No one frees anyone else. We all free ourselves together.[6] In a globalization of rights, in democratic participation. (p. 128)
  • [[[Prayers from books|Prayer]]] Lord, who sees where we humans do not know how to see, listen to this lay descant of a frontier priest: may there be peace. Today, always, everywhere.
    And, as my friend Vinicio Capossela says, protect us everywhere. (p. 133)

Quotes about Andrea Gallo:

  • Dear Andrea, I am your friend because you are the only priest who doesn't want to send me to heaven by force. (Fabrizio De André)
  • The miracle of ubiquity was accomplished in Don Gallo: he was radically Christian and also irreducibly Catholic, but he could also be remembered as a Hasidic tzaddik, just as he was an anti-fascist militant and a very secular free thinker. For me the Rooster remains a brother, a friend, a certain guide, an essential and constant reference. For me personally, hope holds an ever-present cigar between its lips and has the light-hearted face of this rebellious priest. (Moni Ovadia)
  • Will you let me finish talking, preheel? (Antonio Martino)


  1. At the opening of the Vinicio Capossela concert at Sala Callata in Piazzale San Benigno, 25 April C.E.2013.
  2. Quoted in The last farewell to Genoa, America's homage, Corriere della Sera, 20 August C.E.2009, p. 43.
  3. From Angelically Anarchico, Oscar Mondadori, Milan, C.E.2005.
  4. From Cinzia Comandè and Roberto Bellantuono, Genova per noi, Arcana Edizioni, Rome, C.E.2014, p. 110.
  5. Quoted in also-transsexuals-are-sons-god_143340.shtml Don Gallo: Even transsexuals are children of God, Il Mondo, 21 November C.E.2012.
  6. See. Paulo Freire: «No one frees anyone, no one frees himself alone: ​​we free ourselves together».


  • Andrea Gallo, Like a dog in church, edited by Gianni Di Santo, Piemme, Milan, C.E.2012. ISBN 978-88-566-2457-1
  • Andrea Gallo, I don't give up, Baldini&Castoldi, Milan, C.E.2013. ISBN 978-88-6852-032-8
  • Andrea Gallo, I came to serve, Aliberti Editore, C.E.2010.
  • Andrea Gallo, Above all things: The secular gospel according to Fabrizio De Andrè in the testament of a prophet, Piemme, Milan, C.E.2014. ISBN 978-88-566-2458-8

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