But Mr. Incerti, too, had never met Mr. Adler in person, and the night before he did, he was so excited he could barely sleep — “three hours, give or take,” he said.
Over the next two weeks, Mr. Adler is to attend several events for Mr. Incerti’s book as he takes part in a nostalgia tour.
He will visit Monterenzio, where he first encountered the children, and receive the keys to the village. He is scheduled to visit the Tuscan Gothic Line Museum, an hour north of Florence, and visit the Neapolitan hospital where he spent three months after being wounded in 1945. And in Rome, he’ll tour the main synagogue, which he visited in 1944, and is expected to meet with the mayor, Virginia Raggi.
“I never thought I’d be back to see the children,” Mr. Adler said a chaotic news conference on Monday, recalling the cruelty of war.
“But democracy is good, and it won the war,” he said. “We all pitched in — France, England, Italia, America — we all beat them.”
Giuliana Naldi got a little teary-eyed.
“It’s been very moving,” she said, noting that she had strategically kept a handkerchief close at hand.
Giuliana is the youngest of the three, but has the most vivid memory of her mother warning the children to hide because soldiers were coming that mid-October day in 1944. They hid in a wicker cradle, she recalled, pulling a cloth over themselves.