At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

23 March 2019

23 March

Benito Mussolini and the birth of the Italian Fascists


Milan rally in 1919 launched the National Fascist Party

Italy's notorious dictator Benito Mussolini officially formed what would become known as the National Fascist Party on this day in 1919 at a rally in Milan's Piazza San Sepolcro. A war veteran and former socialist activist who had moved towards a more nationalist political stance, Mussolini initially drew his followers together as the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento (Italian Combat Group). This group evolved into the Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF) two years later, sweeping to power in 1922 when King Victor Emmanuel III, fearing civil war after 30,000 of Mussolini's supporters, the Blackshirts, marched on Rome, asked Mussolini to form a government.
The son of a blacksmith, Mussolini had been a leading figure in the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) and edited the left-wing newspaper Avanti. But he was expelled by the PSI because of his opposition to the party's neutral stance on the First World War and became disillusioned with orthodox socialism. Read more…

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Ugo Tognazzi - comic actor


Achieved international fame through La Cage aux Folles

Ugo Tognazzi, the actor who achieved international fame in the film La Cage aux Folles, was born on this day in 1922 in Cremona. Renowned for his wide repertoire in portraying comic characters, Tognazzi made more than 62 films and worked with many of Italy's top directors. Along with Vittorio Gassman, Alberto Sordi and Nino Manfredi, Tognazzi was regarded as one of the four top stars of commedia all'Italiana - comedy the Italian way - in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1981 he won the award for best actor at the Cannes International Film Festival for his role in Bernardo Bertolucci's Tragedia di un Uomo Ridicolo (The Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man). His work was widely acclaimed in Italy, but it was not until he was cast in the role of homosexual cabaret owner Renato Baldi in the French director Édouard Molinaro's 1979 movie La Cage Aux Folles that he became known outside Italy. Read more...

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Lorenzino de’ Medici - assassin


Mystery over motive for killing cousin

Lorenzino de’ Medici, who became famous for the assassination of his cousin, the Florentine ruler Alessandro de’ Medici, was born on this day in 1514 in Florence. The killing took place on the evening of January 6, 1537, after Lorenzino had lured Alessandro to his apartments in Florence on the promise of a night of passion with a woman who had agreed to meet him there. Lorenzino, sometimes known as Lorenzaccio, left Alessandro alone, promising to return with the woman in question only to come back instead with his servant, Piero. They attacked Alessandro with swords and daggers and killed him. In a written defence of his crime, Lorenzino claimed he committed the crime out of a love of liberty, ridding Florence of a leader generally acknowledged as a tyrant, but some historians believe he had other, less noble motives. Read more...

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