Sitting in a tree, kis… Well actually in one of the first pictures I saw of them, they were hanging upside down from the rafters surrounded by thousands of onlookers.
Benito Mussolini claimed no fame for having great relationships with women. One biographer reported that he stabbed a girlfriend in the arm. In 1914 at the age of 31, he began his marriage tour. His two wives were Ida Dalser and Rachele Guidi (a former mistress from before his first marriage). Although Benito had several mistresses and brief sexual encounters, Claretta Petacci is probably the best known mistress. He died in her arms as she tried to protect him. (Wikipedia)
Claretta was just 14 when she started writing to Benito. It didn’t take her long to get his attention. Here is the first paragraph from one of her first letters, translated by a fellow blogger, GioHAOT, from Italy. I’m not going to show the entire letter, which gets more shocking because you can read the entire letter on her blog.
Dux. For the second time they have cowardly made an attempt on Your person. A woman! What infamy, what cowardice, what disgrace! But she’s a foreigner and that’s enough! Beloved Dux, why have they made another attempt* to take you away from our strong and safe love? Dux, my very great Dux, our life, our hope, our glory, how can there be a soul so wicked to attempt to the bright destiny of our beautiful Italy? O, Dux, why wasn’t I there!
Attention! Attention! Benito! … He soon contacted her, and they corresponded. One article says that even though she began writing to him when she was 14, they were not introduced until she was 20. Since I haven’t read any well documented books, just the internet, I can’t comment on the veracity of that statement. You might expect that a leader of a country would encourage this young woman to do well in school, and get a good education. But history tells us that was not the advice he gave her.
I love her last statement, “O, Dux, why wasn’t I there!” Isn’t that just like a kid to think they could have changed the course of the world simply by asserting their presence into the situation. Apparently her mom wouldn’t let her run to his side to help, or these blotched assassination attempts in 1925 and 1926 would never have happened! Claretta became his mistress, and protectorate, in the 1930s for about 9 years. Claretta WAS THERE to protect him when they tried to flee Italy after the war was lost, and Allied folks were looking for him. She proved her ineffectiveness. He died shortly after she did, shot in the chest, at his request, after the first several shots didn’t kill him.
According to internet sources I read, Benito was more of a ladies’ man that even Claretta could handle. I haven’t read them, but Italy released Claretta’s diaries, and she did not hold back her descriptions. One of my sources stated that It was not unusual for him to entertain 4 women a night, and I don’t think that included his mistress or his wife. Apparently he could string along about 14 women at a time. What a guy! 🙂
Claretta tried to clean up his act by screaming at him about his encounters.
In April 1938, she records their exchange after she caught him with former girlfriend Alice De Fonseca Pallottelli.
‘All right, I did it. I hadn’t seen her since before Christmas, I felt like seeing her; I don’t think I committed a crime. I spent 12 minutes with her,’ he conceded.
‘Twenty-four!’ screamed Claretta.
‘All right, 24 then, so it was a quick thing,’ grumbled Il Duce.
‘Who cares? She’s past it. After 17 years there’s no enthusiasm; it’s like when I take my wife.’
I taught California and American History, so I’m not a world history expert. As I read about his historic drama, my questions were:
- Where was her mother when she was writing letters like this to the leader of the country?
- Why was this the kind of guy anyone would choose to lead ANY country?
- What did she and other women see in this man? (I LOVE that his initials are BM! hahaha 🙂 )
What are some of your questions?
If you want more sordid details, you’ll have to look at some of these sites. I’ve had about as much of Benito as I can take! 🙂