This essay reconstructs the political journey of Lorenzo Natali, leader of the Christian Democrats in Abruzzo and, later on, Vice-President of the European Commission from 1977 to 1989. In his youth he was involved in the activities to help the poor organised by Giorgio La Pira, mayor of Florence in later years, then he took part in the resistance movement against Nazism and, finally, became a Christian Democrat leader at regional level. A member of the Parliament, Under-Secretary of State and Minister in various governments from the mid-50s to the 1970s, Natali and his political experience represent an original synthesis between Christian faith and political commitment. Natali interpreted his public role as an opportunity to benefit at the same time his native region, his nation, Europe and even some non-European countries in their relations with the EEC. Natali’s political profile, whilst secondary inside the Christian Democracy, testifies a straightforward personal and political journey, reflecting the attitude of an entire generation, who left no room to chance either in its political party activity, or in its governmental tasks. Defeated and marginalised in his region’s politics, Natali remains, nevertheless, a figure of some significance in the process of the EEC enlargement to twelve countries.
Keywords: Lorenzo Natali, European history, Italian history, European integration, Christian Democracy, political careers