Eager to boost tourism, the recently elected right-wing mayor of Mussolini’s hometown of Predappio will open the former dictator’s tomb for year-round visitors. Currently, the crypt of the Fascist is accessible only three days a year—those marking his birth, his death, and the date in 1922 when he and other Fascists marched on Rome and heralded the end of democratic government. It’s on this day (October 28) that black-shirt followers wearing fezzes (the hat he favored) now descend on the small town 200 miles north of the capital.
“People planning to visit Predappio currently phone ahead, find out the tomb is shut, and don’t come,” Mayor Roberto Canali told The Times of London. “Local restaurants and shops say they are suffering.”
The guest ledger in the crypt is filled with exhortations from visitors begging Mussolini, who was shot by anti-Fascists in the dying days of World War II, to return and save Italy from democratic government.