In 1955, Mattei decided to launch Eni’s own magazine. Not just a company mouthpiece, but a wide-ranging editorial publication whose credibility would be built on distinguished bylines, starting with its editor: leading intellectual, writer and poet Attilio Bertolucci.
Mattei was clear in his vision: a modern, illustrated news magazine that could be read with equal interest by the Italian president and by Eni engineers focusing on drills and technical issues.
Bertolucci suggested calling the magazine Gatto Selvatico, from the English “wildcat”, the term used to describe the first oil prospectors. It was a suggestion wholeheartedly welcomed by Mattei. Bertolucci went on to create something that went beyond a mere account of the company’s success to explore the reality of life outside Eni.
Bertolucci’s declared aim was to publish a magazine that would be both “useful and enjoyable”. On the one hand, it was to be educated and thoughtful in telling its readers about their cultural surroundings; on the other, it had to be informative and able to tackle lighter subjects, with all articles being handled by eminent writers. Bertolucci ran the magazine until 1963, when he was replaced by Eni manager Franco Briatico, whose opinions on social issues Mattei particularly trusted.
During the magazine’s 10-year run, which ended in 1965, it published work by some of Italy’s leading literary and cultural figures. These included Giorgio Caproni (who wrote La tromba del silenzio for the first issue), Alfonso Gatto, Filiberto Menna, Carlo Cassola, Carlo Emilio Gadda, Leonardo Sciascia, Raffaele La Capria and Enzo Siciliano, among many others. Their subjects embraced Italian and foreign literature, including contemporary literary themes.