The airport name
In 2007, Trieste airport was named after Pietro Savorgnan di Brazzà, a 19th Century explorer with Friulian origins.
Pietro Savorgnan di Brazzà was born in Rome in 1852 from a noble family: his father – Ascanio Savorgnan di Brazzà – was a Friulian nobleman, while his mother – Giacinta Simonetti – was a Roman noblewoman. Although he lived mainly in Rome, he and his family often came back to Friuli, in Soleschiano near Manzano, where they owned a villa, and in Brazzà, where they owned a whole rural hamlet in the countryside north of Udine.
After becoming a French citizen, he became a French Navy officer and, in 1875, he accomplished his first expedition in Africa, exploring those territories currently belonging to Congo and Gabon and creating the conditions for the establishment the Equatorial French Africa colony.
His deeds in Africa were all based upon a real humanitarian ideal, pretty unusual at those times, giving up any form of violence against local populations, in particular the perpetration of killings and slavery, in favour of dialogue, respect and trust, pursuing co-operation and peace with locals.
In 1880, after negotiating an agreement with a local tribe king (Makoko), he founded a settlement that later became the city of Brazzaville, today’s capital of Congo.
Sailing back to France from a new journey in Africa, he died in Dakar in 1905.