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Bio – English




Bruno Zavagli has born on the 1st of September 1918 in Florence.

After the degree at the classic lyceum Dante, he frequents the University of Florence and becomes Doctor of Laws on the 22nd June 1940 with full marks and commendation. Just in time to take part to the Second World War, leaving for Italian expedition in Russia. That’s how  Alfio Caruso remembers him in his book “Noi moriamo a Stalingrado” [Ed. Longanesi]:

 “Bruno Zavagli is a twenty-three years old second lieutenant. His office takes two lines full of genitives: commander of the 741st section of 117thº drive-unit of XVIII Heavy Car-group of 7º Army””.

From Russia Bruno – although car-driver officier – comes back by feet, barely saving himself from freezing, as he later would tell  in his book  “Solo un pugno di neve” [Ed. Mursia, 1966].

At the end of the war, he gets on the 3rd March 1944 also the degree in Politic Sciences and, married with Eliana Frilli (who gives him the daughter Barbara in 1946 and the son Andrea in 1950) begins his career as lawyer in Florence, in the office of Via Brunelleschi, moving later in the one in Via Martelli 5.

He shares his office with Avv. Prof. Giancarlo Giannozzi (very fond he too of sport and President for a long time of FIPAV) and, revealing his variety of interests, joins to the job the passion for mountain and fencing, sport that he had been able to practise many years before in GUF.

On 1949 (with the name of RABO VANZUGLI) he prints an handbook about camping (“Il Campeggio”; Ed. Olimpia) and, at the death of Roberto Raggetti on 1950, begins with other friends and fencers to manage the  Circolo di scherma founded in Florence by the champion from Marche (“Circolo Dilettanti di Scherma”) that, by then, was dedicated to him as “Circolo Scherma R. Raggetti”.

He doesn’t dislike football too and when, on December 1951, is called to take part of the new Consiglio Direttivo of A. C. Fiorentina directed by Enrico Befani, throws himself in this adventure, following the sorts of the team until the epical first scudetto on 1956.

It’s on 1956 that Bruno leaves the first traces of his own car-driver career, beginning to compete in regularity races: rather confused traces, as until 1961 he alternates his activity with colours of two race teams:  Clemente Biondetti of Firenze – that he helps to re-found – and Mediolanum of Milan.

On January 1961 has born the new idea: Bruno makes, with other passionate friends, the Squadra Piloti Toscani Bardahl that very soon loses the territorial limit to become the Squadra Piloti Bardahl.

It’s the first Italian car race team to include in its logo the name of a sponsor.

He begins an intense activity both as driver and President of the team [on 1965 is also elected Vice President of the Federazione Italiana delle Scuderie Automobilistiche (F.I.S.A.)] until the end of 1970, when Bardahl Oil Co. decides to stop the “sponsor” of the team.

He looks for new sponsors, but car-races (and not only) are changing and, because of the useless research, he tries at least to save – with Avv. Piero Conte – the historical tradition of Tuscan drivers: in order not to lose the last forces, after long “negotiations”, what had remained of the Clemente Biondetti and of the Bardahl join themselves in “Firenze Corse Biondetti”.

These are the years in which are in progress the works to realize the Circuit of Mugello that, plotted on 1966, slowly sees collaborate politic and sport men to build what will be completed  – traces and essential buildings – on 1972.

Just in that year Bruno institutes the  “Premio HP” [an award to the merit of Italian sport drivers] that, as President of “Firenze Corse Biondetti”, gives for the year 1972 to Enzo Ferrari and, later, for the 1973 to Ing. Carlo Chiti, for 1974 to Ing. Giovanni Canestrini and, for the year 1975, to Automobil Club of Florence, in person of the President Ing. Pasquale Borracci, one of the major makers of the Circuit and from several years great promoter of Tuscan car races.

Those are the years of the progressive detachment, after the one on 1958 from A.C. Fiorentina, from the race world and of the more and more intense interest in a new adventure.

From the Sixties he collaborates as journalist with Auto Italiana and Autorama, continuing to practise an high level the profession of lawyer, by which perhaps he is even more stimulated to improve his activity as writer.

After the book of his war adventure, he writes a trilogy whose object is the history  of an imaginary Tuscan family (I Paganeschi), an “Storia dell’Automobile for boys, a book on Rallies, some novels and theatrical dramas.

About fencing, he takes part of the Consiglio del Comitato Toscano della Scherma and, from Seventies,  of several Consigli della Federazione Italiana Scherma with which he collaborates at International level too, while the long adventure of the Presidenza del Circolo Raggetti stops with the arrival of new forces that substitute him at the direction.

Years start now being a lot, but perhaps the major “heaviness” is the one of life that is quickly changing around him.

Until very late age he has the same enthusiasm and curiosity that pushes him to cover again his steps of the war in Russia such, as has success in poetry awards for “Over 60”,  confirming that polyhedrality  of interests that characterized him since his youth: that’s the reason why, since now, we like call him  “an enterprising boy”.



Bruno Zavagli is dead in 2015, on 6th of August.