Friday 23 August 2019

'Shameful' Mussolini cliff tribute reappears


Former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini
Former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini

Nick Squires

The reappearance of a giant tribute to Benito Mussolini etched into a cliff above a village in Italy has sparked a political row over the enduring legacy of the wartime dictator.

The word Dux - Latin for Duce or leader - was etched into a sheer cliff overlooking Villa Santa Maria in the central region of Abruzzo during Mussolini's fascist regime.

For decades, it was obscured by vegetation but the shrubs and bushes were recently cleared to open up routes for climbers, as the village sought to boost tourism.

Politicians from the centre-left have demanded the inscription be erased as any mark of Mussolini's time in power was "shameful and inappropriate". But the village mayor hopes it will also attract tourism. "I have no intention of covering it up," said Giuseppe Finamore. "It's always been there, and if it serves to attract tourists to the village, all well and good."

Camillo D'Alessandro, a local MP from the Democratic Party, said such tributes had no place in Italy today. Mussolini represented a chapter of Italian history that "does not deserve to be remembered," he said.

"What has taken place in Villa Santa Maria is incredible," he wrote on Facebook. "Fascism is a crime and should be treated as such." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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