GP ALIGP Logo 100 small

genovese, aviatore, imprenditore

Verso il "centenario": dal 14 al 16 maggio 2021 celebriamo, nel nome di uno dei fondatori, la nascita di un'impresa industriale, nata a Genova e protagonista nella storia della motorizzazione italiana.

GP ALIGP Logo 100 small

genovese, aviatore, imprenditore

Verso il "centenario": dal 14 al 16 maggio 2021 celebriamo, nel nome di uno dei fondatori, la nascita di un'impresa industriale, nata a Genova e protagonista nella storia della motorizzazione italiana.


The eagles coming from the sea

Giorgio Parodi, eagle's wings comes back in the sky. A man called "lattuga" history

When by chance I started the adventure that is leading us to the celebrations of the Centenary of the foundation of the famous golden eagle motorcycle, in  the memory of its Genoese founder Giorgio Parodi, I certainly did not imagine that I would have gone so far into the soul and values ​​of a grandfather that I have never known personally, but only through my mother’s stories, often still clouded by the sorrow of an early loss.

My thanks go to all the people who helped me in the not always easy historical reconstruction and who are letting coming true the dreams of a granddaughter who learned to look at her grandfather with the eyes of an enchanted child in front of a fairytale book.

Who was Giorgio Parodi? What did he think? Which were his values?

The progenitor of the family was Angelo Parodi, founder  “Angelo Parodi Tuna”; he was the inventor of the method for storing canned fish. Awarded Knight of Labor, as later his son Emanuele Vittorio was, together they gave birth to the largest Italian fleet of ships of the time.

Curiously Angelo chose the eagle as symbol for its products, just like Giorgio did years later, even if for other reasons.

Giorgio was born and raised in a family of important entrepreneurs with great intuition for business; as his grandfather and father they all had a smart intelligence and particular skills that led them to be leader in their sector.

GP was Emanuele Vittorio's favorite son; “Grandpa Manuelin” as my mom reminds him, inherited all these characteristics combined with a strong and charismatic character, reserved from any exhibitionism and tenacious work creator, generous and selfless, loyal, cultured and multilingual, lover of the art and with a deep faith, Grandfather Giorgio was an exemplary citizen, courageous pilot and great entrepreneur; a man in one piece, from another era. The pillars on which he founded his life were homeland, work, family and God. He had a deep sense of duty, he loved austere life, he did not run from what it had to be done, regardless of the risk to face; a dare devil man with solid values, which we still find in our Air Force today.

Disregarding the paternal hopes that wanted him immediately to lead family activities, at the outbreak of the First World War, he falsified the documents, since he was still a minor, and he enlisted in Venice.

Despite having the hunter's instinct, in line with his discreet character and far from the spotlight, he chose the battle name "Lettuce", a common vegetable, which he is still remembered today with.

During war, at the Idroscalo in Venice, Carlo Guzzi was introduced to him and he became his friend and aircraft mechanic.

Giorgio immediately recognized Carlo's genius in mechanics and in the same period he knew another pilot, Giovanni Ravelli.

By this friendship, all linked by the same passion for speed, planes and motorcycles, the idea of ​​an innovative motorcycle was born.

The team therefore provided Carlo as the designer mechanic, Giorgio who would take care of the entrepreneurial part (doing business in its largest meaning) and Giovanni as test driver.

Unfortunately Giovanni died in a flight accident shortly before presenting the first prototype, the GP, Guzzi-Parodi, still preserved in the Museum of Mandello del Lario. In memory of his pilot friend, Giorgio chose the spread-winged eagle to be affixed to the tanks, still today a distinctive symbol of all military and civilian pilots. It was always his discreet and elegant character and his great intellectual honesty that led him to decide not to call the motorcycles produced GP, because they were also initials of his name, leaving at Guzzi all the honor of the brand. Unlike what many people believe, Carlo Guzzi always remained a "luxury employee" with important positions in Parodi family business.

 On March 15, 1921 the first "Moto Guzzi Anonymous Company" was founded in Genoa with capital from the Parodi family. Grandfather Giorgio made investments in the company for hundreds of millions of lira of the time to be at the forefront of production; they had automatic continuous cycle machines, some of them specially designed in Switzerland and power plants, the Genoese registered office was connected via radio link with the manufacturing plant started up in Mandello del Lario, a real rarity for the time.

But Grandfather did not stop, faithful to his tumultuous character, in addition to family shipowner and motorcycle activities, in 1928 he founded the current Aeroclub of Genoa together with his brother and Giorgio Profumo. His pupil was the undefeated Carina Negrone, the Genoese flight school is dedicated to him.

Already multi-medaled, he fought in the Ethiopian War and the Second World War saw him on the front line again.

It was precisely during the latter that he had a serious accident, an engine exploded during a flight cost him the loss of an eye, but enduring the pain and keeping silent about it to his companions, he brought them to safety.

With one eye less, his face disfigured by scars and a semi-paralyzed arm, Captain Giorgio Parodi was forced to say goodbye to the flight, after obtaining 5 silver and one bronze medals.

Finally landed in Genoa, Grandfather decided to dedicate himself completely to work and family, which had enlarged.

In 1937 he married a young Elena Cais di Pierlas, the great love of his life, they had 3 children, 2 boys Andrea and Roberto, both died at a young age in car accidents, and Marina, my mom, the only GP’s daughter still alive.

Unfortunately, grandmother Elena became seriously ill, an incurable disease. In 1954 his beloved wife died prematurely and after many battles fought and won this one was fatal to Grandfather.

A year after her disappearance, destroyed by pain, he had a heart attack on August 18, 1955, Saint Helena Empress Day, leaving 3 minor children.

Today, after so many years, I talk again about Parodi eagles, proud to tell the story of a man called "Lettuce".

I want to close these few lines with a sentence taken from GP’s the spiritual testament left to his children; in a moment of uncertainty and difficulty like this one we are living, these words should be light in the darkness of times dominated by fogged values.

"Concern about the interests of our country rather than yours. Do not surround yourself with too many comforts, do not withdraw from military service or from paying taxes, be indulgent with others and severe with yourself. "

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