Giuditta Giuva was born in 1897 in southern Italy to a poor peasant family. She spent a third of her life there before moving north to Milan.
Since childhood, Giuditta was a musical child and loved to sing. She liked to learn new songs and hum them while doing her daily chores. Songs brightened her leisure time and gave her joy.
At the age of nineteen Giuditta met Leonttino Celentano. The young people fell in love with each other and soon married. Let the children — the first child, a daughter Rosa Juditta gave birth in 1917. She was 20 years old at that time, and her husband 27. Three years later a son, Alessandro, was born. In 1922 Maria was born, followed by baby Adriana in 1925.
Giuditta was a woman of strong character. A southerner with yellow eyes and a massive figure. Unlike her calm and silent husband, she had an enviable temperament and humor.
She was, however, a simple and down-to-earth woman. Trained as a tailor, she was busy mending and sewing clothes, and the rest of the time she was engaged in the upbringing of children and household duties.
There was no time for entertainment, recreation, or other leisure activities. The family lived very poor and Giuditta and her husband had to work hard to feed their large family.
The only joy available was music. Giuditta’s husband was a very musical person, and they passed on their love of music to their children. There was always music in their home: everyone in the family loved and could sing, and the children played musical instruments.
In 1928, ten years before Adriano was born, the whole family moved from Puglia to the north of the country, to Milan. At first Signora Celentano longed for her native south, but soon became accustomed to the north, finding in it its own charm.
Suddenly trouble came to their house — Adriana fell ill. Doctors made a distressing diagnosis of leukemia. Giuditta and her husband had to watch helplessly as their 9-year-old daughter slowly faded away before their eyes. Soon the child died.
Giuditta took the blow of fate with fortitude. Trying not to show her grief to those around her, she arranged a small altar in her room, where for many years stood a photo of her youngest daughter.
Although the grief of her parents was boundless, they had to find the strength to move on. They had three more children to take care of.
Having recovered from their loss, they continued to live as before — they worked hard and raised their children.
In 1937, 40-year-old Giuditta suddenly felt ill. The woman thought she was sick and went to the doctor, who informed her that she was pregnant. Senora Celentano was very surprised and could not believe for a long time that she was pregnant, even almost shouted at the doctor who told her so. Just in case, Giuditta went to another doctor to rule out the possibility of medical error, but he only confirmed the «diagnosis».
Then Giuditta Celentano decided that the baby would either be born dead or would die soon after birth — «that’s the son of old people!» She was so sure of this that she didn’t even prepare any diapers or raspers.
Despite such a gloomy prognosis from his mother, the child was born alive and healthy, which really surprised Mr. Celentano. The first days of Adriano’s life had to spend in his father’s old shirts, due to the fact that his mother had not prepared clothes for the baby.
Giuditta decided to name her son after his deceased daughter — Adriana.
And so began the story of the great Adriano Celentano.
Little Adriano grew up very hyperactive, noisy and restless child. He often got into trouble, and the family had to settle things with the neighbors, bringing «news» of his shenanigans and demanding severe punishment for the boy, from whom there is no life and which should be avoided like the plague.
He was not punished. They promised all the «suffering» neighbors that he would get what he deserved, but they didn’t punish him. The family couldn’t help but love him. He was a little boy in the middle of adults: smiling, thin, with big brown eyes and fluffy eyelashes. Adriano looked a lot like his mother.
In general, Giuditta was a strict, but loving mother and was sympathetic to the antics of her restless son. Little Adriano’s childhood on Gluck Street was a happy one. A loving family, friends, a warm home — what more did a child need? Adriano was happy.
But soon war came. It darkened the life of Giuditta and her family.
She even nearly lost her son once when the school Adriano attended was bombed. Almost all of the children in the school at the time were killed. Luckily for Giuditta, that was the day her son felt sick and did not go to school.
During that period, Milan was constantly bombed. World War II was a serious test for its inhabitants. Only in April 1945 was the city liberated from the Nazis.
The sirens sounded on Gluca Street sometimes several times a day. Adriano’s father immediately ran to the nearest bomb shelter, dressing as he went, while his mother at one point decided not to go any further and said with her characteristic courage and dignity:
«Let us die here as human beings, not as rats in this cellar! If we are to die, then so be it!»
And so they stood with little Adriano, embraced in the middle of the room, to the roar of sirens and the noise of passing planes. A tall, brave, elderly woman and her frightened little son, clinging as hard as he could to his mother and covering his ears so as not to hear the sounds of war.
Finally, the war was over, and Giuditta’s family began to return to normal life.
But soon there was a new tragedy — in 1951, Celentano’s father died. This event, in turn, led to another loss for the little Adriano — he and his mother had to leave the place that was so dear to him.
Here’s what Adriano Celentano himself said about it in his autobiographical book:
«When my father died, we moved out of the house I loved. My mother and I, who was a widow, received a small compensation for my father’s death. Mom said we would move to another, better house with a bathroom. We were supposed to stay with my mother. I felt very uncomfortable. I couldn’t get along with this street, I couldn’t imagine what life would be like outside this house. Without these people I knew from my childhood, without the fish market and the fields that started right behind the house. When we did leave, I cried for many months and every free moment I ran back to the street where my childhood ended. My mother, watching me, finally understood that it was very serious for me, and one day she said: «You know what? We’ll go back to Gluck Street. I could probably become a concierge, and we’d live together again, you and I…» But we never came back. The street had changed, the fields had disappeared, the train station buildings had expanded, and our house was no longer our home on the outskirts of Milan.»
At the age of 12, Adriano dropped out of school and got a job as an apprentice in a watchmaker’s shop. But the perky young boy didn’t last long. He did not want to work at all. He began going to the local club, where he sang and danced with his friends until late at night. At some point the poor mother decided that her youngest son was likely to grow up to be a bandit.
Giuditta was very excited about her son’s new hobbies. Yes, she also loved music and supported her son in this hobby, even began to listen to a new and unfamiliar at that time genre of music for his sake. But it was one thing to have music, and quite another to be out all night long in the local clubs. She was sure that all this would end badly and tried to talk sense into her son with blows and cuffs, hoping that this would help. But Celentano showed character, which, let me remind you, was inherited from his mother, and refused to give up his new hobby.
When the proud son brought his mother his first earnings, she threw it in his face, saying that she did not want that dirty money. This hurt Adriano deeply.
Eventually, after Celentano’s first big concert, to which the young singer went with a fever of forty and broke into a flurry of applause, she changed her mind and began to support her son. Later, when Adriano went on world tours, he always tried to take his mother with him. He really wanted her to see the world. Together they visited Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland.
Giuditta Giuva died in 2001, after a happy and fulfilling life. To the end of her life, she retained the most tender and touching relationship with her son. She was very proud of Adriano and was his greatest admirer.
«My mother was like a mountain! When she died, the world became small. It narrowed. I never regretted not having a young mother. She had eyes the same color as mine, and we were very much alike. She was a very solid, a bit of a comedian and a very competent woman. I always felt very small around here, even when I grow up and she was smaller than me. When she died, I didn’t cry, but everyone around me did. I didn’t cry,, despite the fact that I felt great pain inside me. I didn’t cry because I knew she loved me very much. More than she loved any other person. That love always kept me going. She always guessed what was going on with me and always found the right words for me.»