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The sad end of Serafina, the woman to whom Umberto Tozzi dedicated ‘Gloria’ and ‘I love you’

Perhaps Glory not the best Umberto Tozzi song (Turin, 1952) and not even the most popular. I love you, for example, it exceeds in listens on Spotify. AND I will walk and Your they were hits in half Europe before her. But Glory, a curiosity for the year 1979 because it mixed the great Italian ballad with nods to disco music, it is probably the one that has brought him the most money. He spent 16 weeks in the top 10 Italian, was number one in Switzerland and Spain (in a version in our language sung by Tozzi himself) and climbed to the top positions in Austria, Belgium, Holland, France and Germany. The song became famous in the rest of the world thanks to an english version by the American Laura Branigan who was part of the soundtrack of Flashdance in 1982 and became one of the most successful pieces of music of that year.

“I don’t want to say anything, I have no intention of giving interviews. I have forgiven her for all the damage she did to me and to our son, “Umberto Tozzi told the ‘Corriere della Sera’ after hearing the news of Scialò’s death.

But who is Gloria? The public wondered, always ready to create a legend around a song named after a woman. The muse of this song – and other hits mentioned as I love you- Her name was Serafina Scialò and she was the singer’s partner between 1979 and 1984. After the Christmas holidays in 2019, she did not return to the center where she worked as a cleaner (although she had had a successful career in the seventies and eighties as press officer for several artists ). It was when her co-workers finally decided to call the police. On Friday, January 17, carabinieri they found Serafina dead at 63 years old at his home in Udine, a small Italian city in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region.

But how does the one who was the partner and muse of one of the most successful Italian composers end up in such a sad situation? Serafina and Umberto never married (according to Tozzi clarified) and had a son named Nicola Armando in 1983. The separation came shortly after and the little one became a focus of conflict. According to Tozzi, Serafina brainwashed her son to antagonize him and that is why Nicola Armando was always reluctant to meet him. As if that were not enough, Umberto accused Serafina of having appropriated 450 million lire (almost 240,000 euros at that time, which with inflation would be equivalent to almost 730,000 today) by cashing two blank checks that he had given to her for cover the child support. ‘Gloria’, by Umberto Tozzi, in its original version in Italian. The same singer also sang it in Spanish with great success in our country.

The matter was put in the hands of lawyers and Serafina was about to go to prison, but according to the version that Tozzi told the Corriere della SeraEven though she “had left him on the street,” he dropped the accusation “because she was the mother” of his son. She added: “I don’t want to say anything, I have no intention of giving interviews. I have forgiven her for all the harm she did to me and our son. “

His son did give an interview. And what interview. It was for the same newspaper and was dispatched at ease against his father. “I move around the world like Nicola, not like Tozzi. When I introduce myself I say: ‘I’m Nicola Armando, a pleasure’. I only add Tozzi if I really have to. And if they ask me if I am related to Umberto, I answer that I am not ”.

“My first memories are the discussions on the phone, always through a third party,” explained the couple’s son. “My parents only spoke through lawyers and I was in the middle.” From her mother, Nicola remembers that she was a brilliant press agent who not only worked for her father, but also for Donna Summer or the Village People. But it was fragile. When it separated, it fell into self-destruction, ”she said.

One of the few images of Umberto Tozzi and Serafina Scialò together when they were a couple in the early eighties.

Nicola’s version differs from her father’s: Umberto says that the late Serafina never allowed him to see her son, but Nicola states in the Run that she encouraged him to call his father and he sought him out on many occasions, but was met with rejection. She also wanted to clarify the theft charge that, according to Tozzi, led her to take Serafina to court. “It’s false. Since they weren’t married, she was pregnant with me and he traveled a lot, [Tozzi] He gave her two blank checks just in case. But she never charged anything. “In spite of everything, it is not closed to a new meeting.” I would like to have time to talk, him and me alone, “says Nicola.

Gloria Cuzzi, one of Serafina’s few friends, spoke also and, to what seemed like a story of spite, the love tragedy joined, very much in spirit with the Italian ballad if you think about it: “He always continued to love Tozzi. He was the only man for her ”. Some Italian media they rushed initially to consider the option of suicide, but as confirmed the Run, the death was due to natural causes, probably a heart attack.

Scialò was buried on January 29 at the Udine cemetery. Tozzi did not come. His son Nicola Armando stood in the front row wearing sunglasses before a discreet coffin, with a bouquet of flowers on top. Of her he said during the ceremony: “She was a strong and ingenious woman, but she burned like a candle.”

To the song Glory a certain curse seems to haunt him. Laura Branigan, the singer who made her famous in the United States, died of an aneurysm at age 52. And Sunny Johnson, the actress who appeared in the famous sequence of Flashdance where this version sounds and which was key to its international success, died at 30 due to a stroke.

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