Danilo Bruno Pietro Dolci was born on June 28, 1924, in the Karstic town of Sežana (now in Slovenia), at the time part of the Italian border region known as Julian March. His father was an agnostic Sicilian railway official, while his mother, Meli Kokelj, was a deeply Catholic local Slovene woman. The young Danilo grew up in Mussolini’s fascist state. As a teenager, Dolci saw Italy enter into World War II. He worried his family by tearing down any Fascist war posters he came across.