Bombs begin to fall around Milan. Pino and Mimo flee the theater and head to the Duomo to seek shelter. On the way to the Duomo, Pino and Mimo see the horrific results of the bombing, including dead children. Pino is shocked by what he sees and begins to cry. Eventually, Pino and Mimo make it to the Duomo, which is entirely intact, suggesting that the Cardinal’s plan worked. Although bombs are still falling throughout the city, Pino and Mimo see that it looks safe in the direction of their home, so they carefully make their way back to the flat. When they enter their flat, they hear music emanating from upstairs. The music makes Pino angry. He yells at his parents for playing it during such a horrific time. Porzia explains that music is necessary to get through trying times. This calms Pino, who is still coming to terms with what he’s witnessed.
This novel is concerned with the messy moral problems that accompany war. Even in the most justified of wars, which World War II certainly was for the Allied forces, innocent people die, including children. Though his talk with Cardinal Schuster began to make the war seem real for Pino, this incident brings the gravity of the situation into full focus for him. When Pino and Mimo return to their home, the power of music is expounded upon by Porzia. Here, it is described as a necessity for survival, a lesson Pino takes to heart.
Angry but relived, Porzia takes Pino into the dining room to get him some food. In the dining room, Pino finds Tullio, a family friend, with a beautiful girl named Cristina. Pino asks Tullio how he gets so many women to like him. Tullio tells him the key is to always listen. Pino then changes the subject to Colonel Rauff, who Tullio is spying on. Tullio chastises Pino for bringing up Rauff in their current setting. Soon after, Tullio and his date leave. Pino eats and listens to the adults discuss the increasing Nazi presence in Milan, which has them all on edge. In particular, Pino’s attention is piqued when he hears that the Jewish people attending the party are planning on fleeing the country.
Tullio is Pino’s role model, and he takes his advice seriously. He is also intrigued by the subject of Rauff but doesn’t have enough tact to know when to ask about him. Tullio chastises Pino, likely because he doesn’t know Cristina very well and worries that his secret about being a spy could get out. Additionally, this section is the first in the novel that references the Holocaust. Although most Italians at this time didn’t know the extent to which the Nazis brutalized Jewish people, it was well known that Jews were a persecuted group under Hitler’s regime.
Pino goes to bed and thinks about why the Nazis hate the Jews. Pino has many Jewish friends and cannot imagine taking such a stance. Because of the day’s events, Pino has trouble sleeping. He turns on the radio and listens to classical music, which calms him and allows him to sleep. The following afternoon, Pino goes looking for Carletto. Outside Carletto’s home, Pino sees Mr. Beltramini, Carletto’s father. The two of them discuss the previous day’s events and Mr. Beltramini tells Pino that he and Carletto must look after one another. After, Pino enters the Beltraminis’ shop and tells Carletto about his failed date and the air raid. After their brief talk, Pino and Carletto head to the theater, only to find it destroyed.
Again, music proves itself to be a useful distraction from the troubles of the world, as it lulls Pino to sleep. Additionally, Pino and Carletto’s trip to the theater demonstrates the immediacy of war; a beloved building that stood tall and housed people just a day before is now in shambles.