LA STANZA  di Victoria Giraud

Victoria Giraud

Victoria Giraud,  american girl in Tripoli

by Umberto Vaccarini

Dear Brother Giuseppe Volpati, dear Domenico Ernandes,
I have had the pleasure to read the extensive and detailed extracts from “Una Ragazza Americana a Tripoli” by the author Victoria Giraud and published both in her books and her blog. Actually I had the pleasure to ‘meet’ the author herself  whilst researching on internet for stories relating to Libya and more specifically to the American Base of Wheelus Field of Tripoli. I became enthralled with her vivid memories of life in lived in Tripoli in those years. Victoria Giraud has helped me to enrich my memories and because of this I thought it useful to open a new folder  and with Larry Tesler’s classic ‘copy and paste’ save her writings for my archives. Looking at her sunny smile taken in those wonderful 1950’s carries me back over the years

Victoria Giraud now

I revived the style of yesteryear, our generation, those of the old century where very nice read the testimony and the memories of people who have lived there in Tripoli at the time, and at that actual climate "vibrant", that we lived in those years. Some of that enthusiasm would take in our day! The dress you wore me back into a river of memories, those of the 1950s, when the fashion for women was to life with such large poodle:

Victoria Giraud in the fifties

there is a song called "the fifties" written by Claudio Mattone and interpreted by a huge Gigi Proietti that recalls "when you wore lapels plentiful and large coat, when older kids spent hours in front of a school to get noticed, when you went in Lambretta or Vespa with vests, goggles and scarves, when the entire Sunday families with vintage cars and early 600 went to the day, when couples rushed to the movies and in the dark to kiss etc. The years '50, remind me, when we had just put aside the pen, nibs, ink and paper towel to give place to the then modern and contemporary bic pen invented in France by Baron Marcel Bich in 1945, that spread and also arrived from our parts. Also, it occurs to me that little cartons of paper that contained the six colors of crayons Giotto. The slim box contained an illustration was a shepherd boy, Giotto, who, with a flask beside, drew on a rock one of his sheep. On the sidelines, leaning on a wall, there was a gentleman: Cimabue, which, with a red headdress, watched amazed and that natural skill of stricken small Giotto welcomed him, then, as Giorgio Vasari, in his Florentine workshop.

Six colors of crayons Giotto

Dear friends, those years were also years of transitions; a few years ago, World War II was over and people were starting to be reborn, socially and economically and the musical fashion reflected this, with his swing or even more so the twist and it was the golden age of rock, legendary music and loving it that still there shaking the soul and guts, what for others is just a nostalgia never lived to tell. The decoration of houses are enriched; used at the premises the jukeboxes. They were the first years after the proclamation of the United Kingdom of Libya, then Kingdom of Libya. The 1955, was the year when the young State of the United Kingdom of Libya joined in the UN. Remember the celebrations and the great enthusiasm of the Libyan people, which was one of the main stages in the journey of Libya. It was a party town, the streets were decked out in flags and banners were everywhere with images of Commander King Idris el Awal

King Idris El Awal

and, at the Centre of Maidan Essaraia (Castle Square)

Maidan Essaraia - (Castle Square)

and Maidan Algeria (Cathedral Square)

Maidan Algeria - (Algeria Square)

had been raised and secured large forms of Royal Crown.

Royal Crown

In your writing, dear Lady Victoria, the Mehari Hotel reminds us with its underpass

Hotel Mehari

where you were staying and that you have well described: the hotel was built in 1935 at the same time with the Uaddan Casino Hotel;

Hotel Casino Uaddan

the two hotels were built by architect Florestano Di Fausto and architect Giuseppe Gatti-Casazza who took care of the furniture. Unfortunately, today the Mehari remained only the name because the old hotel, with rooms all overlooking five large courtyards in Arabic, was demolished. Following her written and being a lover of photography the I enclose some souvenir photos taken from my photo gallery: the promenade (1922-1924) by architect Armando Brasini,

The Promenade (Adrian Pelt Avenue)

 the Red Castle of Tripoli,

The Red Castle of Tripoli (Libya)

fishermen repairing their nets and small fishing boats in the Harbour,

Fishermen repairing their nets
Tripoli Harbour and small fishing boats

the Cathedral dedicated to the Sacred Heart,

The Cathedral

the fountain of Gazelle ,

Fountain of Gazelle - 01
Fountain of Gazelle - 02

Suk el Giuma flooded

Suk El Giuma flooded - 01
Suk el Giuma flooded - 02

and, of those white building surrounded by trees, which was precisely the Grand Hotel.

The Grand Hotel

 This was the first large hotel in Tripoli. Built in 1928 by the architect Alessandro Limongelli, was demolished in 1982 and replaced by the new hotel, Al Kabir Hotel. Remember your visit to Tripoli of 36° Vice President of the United States Richard Nixon together with his wife Mrs. Pat Nixon.

Pat Nixon and Vice President of the United States, Richard Nixon

This presence was an event and there was a great turnout of all communities. It was March of 1957, when important guests were met at the residence of the Ambassador John l. Tappin. As I recall, the American delegation stayed at the Grand Hotel and the Grand Hotel held a reception where there were the highest Libyan Government officials, Ambassadors of various countries in Libya and important characters.

Arrival at the Grand Hotel

Reception -  01
Reception -  02

In his days of visit to Tripoli held bilateral issues were in-depth institutional meetings for new relationships and further development of economic and technical cooperation between the two countries.

Sciara 24 Dicembre - 01

Sciara 24 Dicembre - 02

Visit to Sul el Turk - 01

Visit to Sul el Turk - 02

The Grand Hotel hosted the cast John Wayne, Sophia Loren, and Rossano Brazzi interpreters of the film's characters Timbuktu (italian title) or Legend of the lost (american title), on the 1957.

Legend of the lost - film
Rossano Brazzi, John Wayne and Sophia Loren

In the large entrance hall of the Grand Hotel, at the end of the film, was made the interview with actor Rossano Brazzi, interview by journalist friend Gianni Massa Director of Corriere di Tripoli, newspaper of Tripolitania, along his collaborators Stephen Licata, Frank Cosentino and Vittorio Halfon (unfortunately the latter out image).

Rossano Brazzi's interview

Against the Barbary pirates, history tells us that it was the first war fought by the United States of America outside the American territory. It was in October of 1803 the USS Philadelphia ran aground during a patrol along the coast and the Tripolitanian Corsairs did not lose their opportunity. Stormed the ship resulting in a violent gun battle with the crew of Philadelphia. Despite the resistance by the crew of Philadelphia, the Corsairs managed to take possession of the boat after several attempts of sailors to sink the ship before it could fall into enemy hands. About three hundred crew members, among whom was also the Captain William Bainbridge, were taken prisoner. The pirates eventually to bring the boat up to the entrance of the port of Tripoli, where it was docked and used as a coastal battery against a possible attempt by the Americans to storm the port. On the night of 16 February 1804 though Captain Stephen Decatur Jr. decided to attack the port of Tripoli with the help of the USS Intrepid, a small boat taken earlier to Privateers and subsequently returned to service with the Navy the United States. Together with a small group of the first Regiment of Marines, Decatur managed to take control of the USS Philadelphia, which was immediately sunk, allowing marines to attack the city of Tripoli.  On 04 September 1804 in an effort to scuttle the entire fleet anchored in the harbour of Tripoli's Pasha, the Commander of the USS Intrepid, Captain Richard Somers, attempted to lead his own boat filled with explosives inside the port to make it explode. The ship was however hit before reaching the port and exploded killing Somers and four seamen of his crew. The photos testify to their burial in a specific section of the cemetery of Hammangi is reserved by the Greek Orthodox community and, on the other hand, is buried in Protestant Christianity where their, remember each anniversary of that period historian.

Plaque in memory of the American crew of Intrepid volunteers maarines sunk in the harbor of Tripoli on 4 September 1804

The mounds of Marines and of the Captain R. Somers

Umberto Vaccarini and his wife, Angela,on the ramparts of the Castle, next to the cannon which (the say) sank the Intrepid

Basketball: the American Quintet was known to the nearby air base were strong but, more often it happened that American basketball history against the adrenaline of our athletes rose to the stars and that there was nothing to do, baskets taken made the difference, and our American friends were disheartened at the base. Our team was in all schools of other communities and it was not easy to overcome a quintet formed by: Dino Mercatanti, Piero Pieroni, Augusto Belpassi, Alberto Mallia, Franco Taliana with entries like Bruno Cosentino, Domenico Romeo, Bito and Italo Nemni, Orestes Sagona, Alberto Candelaria, Antonio Marcello, Giorgio Devruscian, Harold Tartaglini, Giancarlo Eminian, Franco Venza, Antonio and Sebastian Palmer. Strong kids who formed a great representative of Italian schools.

The Italian of Basketball

Also I like to remember the Rodeo in Tripoli. "BIG TEXAS RODEO" 17th United States Air Force and Wheelus Air Base in cooperation with the Government of Tripolitania present "WILD WEST" EMOTIONS, says the program. The event was held at the Hippodrome of Busetta (30 November – 01 December 1957),


Organizing Committee - Information lines

Eco printing

I was there, I had never seen before such an event and it was a memorable experience.

Various photos

I attach the program and also photos of Rodeo Queen Claudia Sobczak,

Opens the parade the Queen of the Rodeo, Miss Clauda Sobczac

Rodeo Queen Claudia Sobczak

which in small part I took from my photo archives and witness the successful event.                        Dear friends, a blast from the past, integrating something to reminders of  An American girl in Tripoli with great pleasure I did it because they're memories and memories are emotions.             Assalam Alaikum

Umberto Vaccarini

P.S. See also about Victoria Giraud

P.S. See also about Victoria Giraud' facebook

Homepage Ernandes vai su Indice Giraud