Born May 23, 1737 in Bologna, Italy as the third youngest into a family of Patricians hailing from Piedmont in service to the Papal Legate of Bologna. His father, Giuseppe Pirozzi, served as the fencing instructor in unofficial court of the "holy governor" of Bologna. His mother, Massima, managed the house and cared for the family's four children. While the family was certainly better off than most in Bologna, the city remained corrupt and shrinking in affluence yearly. While the lack of commerce did not directly effect the Pirozzi's, eventually the Legate began trimming the wages of his courtesans and staff. Even so, Giuseppe was afforded a quality education and an upbringing the average Bolognesi would have envied. While being a third son meant little as far as inheritance or prestige, Eberardo was favored by his father as, even in his youth, he showed skill in blade work. Day after day as soon as he could hold a sword, Eberardo trained with his father. His mother, while not a fencer herself, had an appreciation for another form of show; theater. In spite of its economic decline, Bologna still had a strong opera and theater scene. His mother was a patron of the town's theater troupes and took the Pirozzi children to see the performances. Eberardo loved tales in which the characters came to sword play. He admired the gusto in which the actors would fight, but would spend as much time admiring the play as he did analyzing technique.
Growing into a strapping, but stocky young man, Eberardo began having feelings of wanderlust. He would often walk the streets of Bologna and realized his economic prospects were shrinking with each emigrating citizen. The chance of finding employ as a fencing instructor required not only a market for his skills, but a degree of prestige. As was the case with many of his swordsman peers, he sought to ply his trade in war. While abhorred by his father and mother, Eberardo sought mercenary work in the Austrian armies marching against Prussia in the Third Silesian War. While not the most glorious theatre of the Seven Years War, the war proved pivotal in gaining the young swordsman merit. He came into the service of one of Count Leopold Joseph von Daun's staff officers, the Freiherr Major Johann Schwarz, as a brevet Unterleutnant (Lieutenant), sword instructor and bodyguard. While his professional status was meritorious enough, Eberardo gained renown in actual combat. With the approval of his employer and coordination with the commander of the Grenz Infantry, he was bloodied at the Battle of Kolin, 18 June 1757. With shot and blade, he fought amongst the lines of Grenzers that provoked the Prussians into attacking the Austrian defensive lines. According to a Croat trooper on the field, "the Italian fought with a frenzy he would not wish to be on the other end of". While not a soldier by trade and only a man of brevet rank, he demonstrated a skill in combat and a least a modicum of small unit leadership ability. Eberardo would continue to serve in his brevet role as a staff man to Major Schwarz throughout the duration of the war, seeing more action at the Battle of Hochkirch, 14 October 1758 and at Togau, 3 November 1760. His experiences in the field may have tempered his soul, but his blade skills were kept fresh with the regimental duels that occurred throughout the conflict. He earned the nickname "Der Teufel Italienisch" or the Devil Italian for his seemingly impervious skill when dueling other fencers.
At the conclusion of the war with the Treaty of Hubertusburg and election of Joseph II as Holy Roman Emperor in 1763, Eberardo was released from his brevet status but still continued to serve in the Schwarz' household. Serving as a fencing instructor to the Major and his offspring, Eberardo recieved a steady income and continued to work his craft. The now 23 year old Eberardo was a man of little want. But, as do most men, lusted for the touch of a woman. The Freiherr's home was not in a drought of the fairer sex, as the family had three daughters and a myriad of servants. Although he and his employer built a strong rapport over the years, the two came into conflict when Eberardo was caught in the bed of the Freiherr's second daughter, Helena. Whether the two developed a genuine romance or both were fulfilling cravings of lust is lost to history, but nonetheless the act had repercussions. Eberardo was forced to leave the Schwarz household. Always one with a contemplative mind, Eberardo was ashamed of his actions and often reflected on how lust overtook him as he journeyed. Not desiring to return to Bologna just yet, he decided to seek employment elsewhere in the Holy Roman Empire.
Nearly a year later, he attempted to settle down in the Bishopric of Trent in the employ of the Prince-Bishop Cristoforo Francesco Sizzo de Norris. While the Prince-Bishop was too focused on Austro-Catholic Church politics to truly enjoy the benefits of the fencer he had hired, Eberardo was again earning decent coin and again found himself with a woman. But, this woman was not one pursued out of lust, no the two genuinely had a connection. Her name was Annuziata Bonomi and she was of noble, Patrician stock. The two first met, but only with their eyes in the Mass services at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Every mass the two would exchange flirtatious glances. Annuziata was acting perhaps out of youthful playfulness, but Eberardo was smitten by her dark locks and dusky, almost Stygian-esque eyes. Annuziata's father, Tiberio, was a fervent Catholic and a hardliner for Trento's independence from Austria, as such he would never let a Bolognesi-Piedmonter who once served in Austria's war machine to court his daughter. Even so, the two felt an attraction. Glances turned into notes, notes turned into coded letters. This exchange went on for months until they planned their clandestine meeting one winter night. His nerves were shaken for once, his breathing quick in pace; he was nervous. Would she arrive? Would they be found out? Her father had eyes everywhere. She did arrive and they were not found. With the weight of worry lifted from his chest, Eberardo was at rest. Eberardo finally was able to hold the object of his admiration, his muse, his breathe of life. Other than fencing or committing his sword to service, his romance of Annuziata was the longest relationship he ever maintained. Even when their words were script on parchment, he felt blessed. But, now that he had the warmth of her body next to his, the gentle touch of her hand, the soft kiss of her lips he felt as if he had risen to Heaven above. His angel was in his arms, but to Annuziata, she felt as if she was being tempted by the Devil. In spite of her feelings for Eberardo, Annuziata would pray for her carnal sins, always clutching her rosary beads.
The one meeting turned into more over the course of a few months, into Spring and onwards into Summer. Marriage was a dream for Eberardo, but Annuziata's father was the rude awakening. Annuziata was well into the age of marriage and, upon a worthy offer of a suitor, was betrothed. The man was not Eberardo, but a merchant from Revereto, far outside of Trento's limits. Vincenzo Riversi was a name that Eberardo reviled. He was a suitable match, a Godly man, a man of means and a man nearly ten years Eberardo's senior. To Annuziata, she was deeply conflicted by her familiar duties, her forbidden romance, and her feelings of internal moral conflict. She began limiting the times the two would meet, the times the two would be intimate, the times the two would sit and make their own stories, the times the two would joke and laugh, the times to two would practice fencing, the times in which she felt loved. This became even more so when she found out she was pregnant. Pregnant by Eberardo's seed as she was yet to be touched by her betrothed. The seedling she carried was kept secret, even to Eberardo.
She hid herself from the world and Eberardo felt lost without his love. But even with her clarity in his life, Eberardo had one aim, to be rid of Vincenzo. He would often spy on the man's dealings in Trent and shadow his path throughout the city. He had concocted a plan after a few weeks of trailing his rival, to stage a duel by claiming that Vincenzo had affronted his honor. While dueling was expressly forbidden under the Bishop-Principalities laws, being in the service of the Prince-Bishop would prove to his scurrilous advantage; at least on a gamble. Eberardo assembled his entourage, matching in number to the usual coterie that Vincenzo walked the streets with. His plan was to have one of his men instigate a duel between the pair as Eberardo "accidentally" bumps into the haughty Vincenzo. And, as it was planned, as Vincenzo began walking the market stalls of Trento, so did Eberardo. The two collided by the fountain in the middle of the bustling square. Insults were thrown and Eberardo's men egged it on. Eberardo declared a duel was to be had and Vincenzo agreed. Drawing swords, the two began to duel. While Vincenzo had the advantage of height he, perhaps unfairly, was outmatched by Eberardo's training. Vincenzo Riversi was slain shortly thereafter, his blood flowed into the market fountain, the city guards summoned in the chaos that ensued after. Eberardo was apprehended and brought forth before a Gubernatorial council. He was sentenced to a confinement while a verdict was to be reached. Normally one would obtain some form of leniency if such an altercation was self-defense, but the court knew clearly that this was a challenge. Even so, motives were unclear and the it appeared to be little more than a squabble between two patrician strangers over words that affronted their honor. This paired with Eberardo's service to the Prince-Bishop, spared him his life. However, his service to the Prince-Bishop was to be severed with the onset of the new year.
Annuziata's father was infuriated, not only by the slaying of his future son-in-law, but by who committed the act. Luckily, his piousness served as an out for his daughter. Feigning a desire to seek Christ in a convent away from the debacle in Trento, Annuziata was permitted to leave the city and, in turn, hide her growing belly; especially from Eberardo. Months passed and even though she was clearly pregnant, the nuns of the convent swore to keep this to secrecy. Her hiding came at a cost to her health. While the nuns lived calmly and quietly, the quality of food was lacking and she began losing weight and succumbing to illnesses easier. Still, she was determined to bring her budding child into the world. His daughter's pregnancy was an utter shock to Tiberio, but realized keeping his daughter out of the public eye was better to uphold the family image. Still, Annuziata was impure and he was to the grandfather of a bastard.
January 23, 1765 marked the day that Eberardo's child was to be born. A son, a son that he had no knowledge of until he was hit with the news that Annuziata passed along with the birth of a child. Her family's efforts to suppress the news was futile. Even hiding in a convent, the passing of one of the most prominent families in the regions only daughter was sure to make waves. It had been months, nearly 9 since the two last spoke. Since the two last shared themselves. The realization that he had a child and the loss of his love were Earth-shattering. He wanted to leave this God-forsaken "Holy City". He was already legally forced out of his home, now his heart was gone as well. It was time for him to leave the city, he had no place in Trento. Annuziata's funeral service was held in The Santa Maria Maggiore. While Eberardo would surely be denied a part of the funeral procession to the mausoleums that followed the viewing, his presence, although entirely unwelcome by the Bonomi family, would not be out of place. Walking into the old Renaissance church, Eberardo made a line straight to his love's casket; an open casket. He looked over her body, it was frailer than what he remembered, but still beautiful. He noticed she clutched her rosary beads, something he always would scoff and jest at. Still, he wanted them, he wanted something to remember her by as he could not claim his son. He absconded with the beads and left the chapel as quickly as he arrived. Before leaving the city for good, he commissioned a sword with an attached note for the newborn son, the "bastard" that Tiberio Bonomi was now a ward of.
Eberardo would once find himself back in Bologna, his reputation not tarnished outside of Trento, he sought employment in the role in which his father once held. Unlike the Legate his father served, the reigning Legate would have no such need for a man of the blade. Discouraged, but comforted by his siblings and by wine, he remained in Bologna for almost three years, doing odd work for his elder brothers. He was still a man of means, he earned his small fortune, but he was aimless and felt lost. There was no major war in a realistic proximity for him to fight, he was unable to meet his child, he lost the love of his life, he was broken. With the worsening economic situation in Bologna still declining, even nearly a decade later, Eberardo was again motivated to leave the ailing city. Venturing forth to Venetia, Eberardo began selling his sword to the merchants of Venice. He would serve as a bodyguard, an instructor, or whatever role suited a bladesman. He kept this up for a time until upon the suggestion and donation of one of his employers, he was encouraged to open his own school.
August 10, 1772 was the date that marked the opening of Eberardo Pirozzi's "House of Fencing". While the building he purchased was one of the few eyesores in the sestieri of San Marco, it was only cheap because it was in disrepair. Still, Eberardo welcomed his newfound focus and perhaps, even though it was not suited for fencing, he began work to adapt the old building into one that could effectively host the art. And that he and his crew of worker did. Dueling chambers with priste and sword racks were built and the old facade was painted anew. He began to welcome students in the months after he opened. His first clients were the scions of his Venetian employers, but he eventually attracted more of a variety of fencers. Notable for combining Bolognese techniques with the Venetian school of fencing, Eberardo offered a curriculum unlike any other school. His willingness to host even discounted classes for those who genuinely sought to learn the art was a bit of a shock to many of the Patricians of Venice, but the potential loss of coin was worth it in pursuit of the craft he loved. Yet, even with new faces, he hoped and longed for his son to walk through the halls. He did not know his face, but hoped the gift of his first blade would develop into a love of fencing. The hole in his heart where his son would be would never be filled, but the remaining patchwork was beginning to be sewn back shut. Eventually his school grew to hold more than one instructor and the facilities improved. Fine oak and birch woodwork scrolled the walls and the floors were updated. His "House of Blades" was beginning to look more like an estate.
Currently, Eberardo still hosts classes, but his more husky build an aged joints contend with his vigor and love for Fencing. He welcomes all who enter as if they were his son and hopes to instill a similar love for the dancing of blades.