Cesare Pavese was born September 9, 1908 in Santo Stefano Belbo, a Langhe village in the province of Cuneo, in the hamlet of San Sebastian where the family used to spend the summer. His father, Eugene, was chancellor of the courthouse in Turin, and resided here with his wife, Fiorentina Consolina Mesturini, daughter of wealthy merchants originating Ticineto (province of Alexandria), and the eldest daughter Maria, born in 1902, in an apartment Via XX September 79.
Despite the affluence, Pavese’s childhood was not happy: a sister and two brothers, who were born before him, had died prematurely. The mother, fragile health, had to entrust it to a newborn mercy of the nearby village of Montecucco, and then, when it took him to Turin in another nanny, Victoria Scaglione.
His father died of a brain cancer January 2, 1914; Cesare was five. As has been written, “there were already all reasons – family and emotional – to grow early the small Caesar […] to a human prehistory and literature that accompanied and marked the life of the writer.” The mother, of authoritarian character, he had to raise his two sons alone: his strict upbringing helped to accentuate the already introverted and unstable Caesar.