Redattore vaticanista per 45 anni dell’«Agence France
Presse», Bruno Bartoloni è stato collaboratore del «Corriere della Sera» dal
1975, ha scritto per molte agenzie, quotidiani e periodici italiani e
stranieri, da «Epoca» a «Panorama», dall’inglese «Reuters» al francese «Paris
Match» e al brasiliano «Veja». Ha annunciato l’elezione e la morte degli ultimi
sette papi, da Pio XI a Benedetto XVI.
Al suo romanzo Il Rigogolo del Vaticano, edito da Polistampa nel 2008, segue Le roman du Vatican secret, pubblicato in Francia da Rocher nel 2009. Sono poi usciti Le orecchie del Vaticano (Pagliai, 2012), Le ali di Leonardo sul vento del Bosforo (LogartPress, 2013), Zucchetti e kippah (Pagliai, 2023).
Figlio di un’ebrea berlinese, Marianne Dorn-Warschauer, nipote del grande compositore Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, e di un giornalista italo-argentino, Giulio, pioniere dell’informazione vaticana fin da Benedetto XV, non gli sono mancate le avventure: è stato dirottato da un pirata in Tunisia, si è introdotto come clandestino in un volo papale tra Firenze e Roma, ha rubato gli sci offerti a Giovanni Paolo II, ha condiviso la cucina con papa Ratzinger…
Because of his notoriously lighthearted, often humorous and sometimes irreverent attitude to his work, Bruno Bartoloni was looked upon with suspicion by the cardinals, bishops and monsignors in Vatican’s staid bureaucracy, known as the Curia. But throughout his 45-year-long experience as a reporter covering the Vatican for Agence France Press (AFP) and other news organizations, he has been able to boast a professional experience that was both unique and unrepeatable.
Bartoloni was practically “born in the Vatican”, where his father Giulio started covering the Vatican in the 1920s and was a pioneer of “Vaticanisti”, as reporters who cover the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church are known. His mother breastfed him in the Vatican gardens, where later as a toddler, he sometimes played, often mischievously, on the same lawns.
As a journalist, Bruno Bartoloni has covered the reigns of six popes. He was a personal witness to the corruption that infested the Vatican towards the end of the pontificate of Pius XII in 1958. But apart from the sometimes dark side of Vatican affairs, Bartoloni’s guiding principle was to cover the Vatican in his own uncompromising way – and have fun in the process. He once rode across Rome on the running board of the limousine carrying pope John XXIII. He reached John’s apartments only minutes after “the good pope’s” death in 1963. He was arrested by Vatican police for trying to sneak into the conclave that elected pope Paul VI and one of his big scoops was reporting that John XXIII would convoke the Second Vatican Council.
Bartoloni once smuggled himself onto a private plane carrying Pope Paul VI from Florence to Rome by acting as if he was part of the papal entourage. He interviewed Pope John Paul I just a few minutes after the announcement of his election in 1978 and once “stole” skis belonging to Pope John Paul II (he later returned them).
His mother was a German Jew and his father was an Italo-Argentine journalist, whose passport certainly helped spare the family from the Nazi racial persecutions. Bartoloni has contributed to Italy’s leading daily, «Corriere della Sera», since 1975, and has written for many daily newspapers and weeklies in Italy and abroad. His novel Il Rigogolo del Vaticano (“The Golden Oriole of the Vatican”) was published by Polistampa in 2008. He was co-author with Baudoun Ballaert of Le roman du Vatican secret, published by Rocher in France in 2009. Le Orecchie del Vaticano (“The Ears of the Vatican”) is at once a memoir, a dossier and a sprawling tale of one family’s story. It is perhaps Bartoloni’s most comprehensive recounting yet of his truly unique life.