The Italian Almanac

coming of third age

Italian News - June 17

A happy ending seemed secure: a widowed Italian pensioner offered his services as a grandfather, was “adopted” by an Italian family and declared he had “found his new home”. Yesterday, however, it emerged that Giorgio Angelozzi, 80, had abandoned his adopted family, leaving a trail of debts and broken hearts behind him. After a ten-day police search he was tracked down to an old people’s home in Milan and taken into care - with a police escort.

Mr. Angelozzi, a retired classics teacher whose wife Lucia died in 1992, placed advertisements in the Italian press saying he was lonely and was putting himself up for adoption by any family “in need of a grandad”. Many people in Italy and beyond were touched by his plight, and he was inundated with offers. In the end he chose an Italian couple with two teenage children in the village of Spirano near Bergamo in northern Italy, saying that he would give the experiment three months to see if it worked out. By Christmas there appeared little doubt that it had, and he was photographed with his new family.

Yesterday, however, the family were struggling to come to terms with the fact that their dreams had been shattered. “It seems Grandpa Giorgio ran up a lot of debts,” they confirmed to reporters that the “adopted grandad” had vanished. They also said the family had paid for him to have treatment for cataracts and for further medical bills when he suspected he had a tumor. In addition, they had been sent a bill for dental treatment amounting to €3,500.

As he was driven away by the Milan social services yesterday Mr. Angelozzi, apparently bemused by the fuss, smiled and waved to reporters but declined to answer questions.