Sonnino, (Giorgio) Sidney

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SONNINO, (Giorgio ) SIDNEY (1847–1922), Italian statesman and economist who twice became prime minister of Italy. The son of a wealthy Jewish merchant from Pisa and a Protestant mother whose faith he adopted, Sonnino graduated from the University of Pisa and was variously occupied as a journalist, lawyer, and diplomat. In 1880 he entered parliament where he rapidly established himself as an authority on financial policy. In 1893 he became undersecretary of the treasury and was made minister of finance in 1896 when, together with Luigi *Luzzatti, he helped reduce the Italian budget deficit.

Sonnino served two short periods as prime minister (in 1906 and 1909–10) and was foreign minister during World War i, signing the Treaty of London in 1915 by which Italy sided with the Allies. He remained foreign minister after the war and headed the Italian delegation at the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. Sonnino retired in 1920 and was made a senator for life. He left two books dealing with his political life: Discorsi per la Guerra (1922) and Discorsi parlamentari (3 vol., 1925).


M. Viterbo, Sidney Sonnino (It., 1923); A. Savelli, S. Sonnino (It., 1923); C. Montalcini, Sidney Sonnino (It., 1926). add. bibliography: G Haywood, Failure of a Dream:Sidney Sonnino and the Rise and the Fall of the Liberal Italy (1999); E. Minuto, Il partito dei parlamentari: Sidney Sonnino e le istituzioni rappresentative(19001906) (2004).

[Giorgio Romano]