Showing posts with label 1924. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1924. Show all posts

11 March 2019

Franco Basaglia - psychiatrist

Work led to closure of mental hospitals by law

Franco Basaglia was destined for an academic career until the University of Padua deemed him too unconventional
Franco Basaglia was destined for an academic career until
the University of Padua deemed him too unconventional
The psychiatrist Franco Basaglia, whose work ultimately led to changes in the law that resulted in the closure and dismantling of Italy’s notorious psychiatric hospitals, was born on this day in 1924 in Venice.

As the founder of the Democratic Psychiatry movement and the main proponent of Law 180 - Italy's Mental Health Act of 1978 - which abolished mental hospitals, he is considered to be the most influential Italian psychiatrist of the 20th century.

His Law 180 - also known as Basaglia’s Law - had worldwide impact as other countries took up the Italian model and reformed their own way of dealing with the mentally ill.

Basaglia was born to a well-off family in the San Polo sestiere of Venice. He became an anti-Fascist in his teens and during the Second World War was an active member of the resistance in the city, to the extent that in December 1944, he was arrested and spent six months inside Venice’s grim Santa Maria Maggiore prison, being released only when the city was liberated in April of the following year.

He graduated in medicine and surgery from the University of Padua in 1949 and seemed destined for an academic career but after qualifying as a doctor in the field of ‘nervous and mental diseases’ and becoming an assistant professor he was deemed too unconventional for the tastes of the university hierarchy and told he should seek a career elsewhere.

Basaglia believed mental hospitals merely  reinforced the health problems of patients
Basaglia believed mental hospitals merely
reinforced the health problems of patients
As a result, Basaglia had to look for work and when he was appointed director of the provincial asylum in Gorizia, close to the border with Yugoslavia in northeastern Italy.

It was a grim job. Gorizia, 140km (87 miles) from Venice, was like a remote outpost and psychiatrists at the time regarded it as a sign of failure if they were forced to work in asylums. But Basaglia felt he had no choice.

In his studies he had already become convinced that the conventional methods for handling psychiatric patients needed to change and the post at Gorizia offered him the chance to put his ideas into practice.

On his first day in charge, he refused to sign the permits for the restraint of prisoners. He had soon introduced a requirement that doctors did not wear white coats and instead mingled freely with patients. Locked wards were opened, and the use of shackles and straitjackets was quickly outlawed.

He felt the traditional institutional response to psychiatric patients in distress, which revolved around physical abuse, forced restraint and appalling ‘punishments’, did nothing except reinforce the presumed ‘insanity’ of the victims.

Although he faced opposition from the older staff, he gradually replaced them with doctors he felt shared his views. Amid the tide of radical thinking that was sweeping Italy in the late 1960s, he published a book, L’istituzione negata - The Institution Denied - describing the methods being employed at Gorizia. It became a bestseller and a TV documentary based on the book made him famous.

Basaglia believed strongly in the rehabilitation of the victims of mental illness sufferers in the community
Basaglia believed strongly in the rehabilitation of the
victims of mental illness sufferers in the community
Occasionally, his determination to rehabilitate patients had tragic consequences. On at least two occasions, individuals he had allowed out of confinement committed murders. Basaglia was tried for manslaughter in both instances, and both times was cleared of the charge.

Basaglia left Gorizia in 1969, after which he a brief period in charge of the asylum in Colorno, near Parma, and six months in New York where he worked in a psychiatric hospital in Brooklyn. In 1971, he returned to Italy to be director of the San Giovanni psychiatric hospital in Trieste.

By then, other psychiatrists in Italy were putting Basaglia’s methods into practice and his ideas were acquiring political support. He repeated at the Trieste institution many of the measures that had proved successful in Gorizia, with the addition of such steps as launching co-operatives so that patients who were considered well enough could be re-integrated into the world of work. In 1977 he announced that the San Giovanni hospital was to close.

Soon afterwards, politicians successfully argued that a programme of closure should begin at psychiatric hospitals across the country.

Franca Ongaro continued Basaglia's work after his death
Franca Ongaro continued Basaglia's
work after his death
The Italian Parliament approved Law 180 on May 13, 1978, initiating the gradual dismantling of psychiatric hospitals, a process completed over the following 20 years.

In their place was to be a decentralised community service of treating and rehabilitating mental patients and preventing mental illness and promoting comprehensive treatment, particularly through services outside a hospital network. The emphasis in mental health moved from protecting society towards meeting the needs of patients.

Basaglia was described as a charismatic figure, so enthused about his work he would stay up all night talking with anyone who could match his intellectual stamina. He was also a heavy smoker. Sadly, by the time Basaglia’s Law came into force, he was suffering the effects of the brain tumour that would kill him.

He returned to San Polo, where he died in 1980 at the age of only 56. His wife, Franca Ongaro, who had worked with him on many of his books and essays, continued to work on his behalf after his death to ensure Basaglia’s Law was fully implemented.

The Basilica Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is one of the most notable churches in the San Polo sestiere of Venice
The Basilica Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is one of the
most notable churches in the San Polo sestiere of Venice
Travel tip:

San Polo, the smallest of the six Venice sestieri, is a vibrant district on the west side of the Grand Canal connected to the eastern side by the Rialto Bridge. The main sights include the Rialto Market, the 15th century Gothic church of San Polo and the imposing Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, usually just called the Frari, built in brick in the Venetian Gothic style and containing monuments to distinguished Venetians buried in the church, including a number of Doges and the painter Titian, who painted two large and important altarpieces that can be seen inside, the Assumption of the Virgin on the high altar and the Pesaro Madonna. where stalls sell fish, fruit and vegetables. The canalside Erbaria area has become a fashionable meeting place for aperitifs and cicchetti - the small snacks that are a kind of Venetian tapas.

The Piazza della Vittoria is the central square in the town of Gorizia, on the Italian border with Slovenia
The Piazza della Vittoria is the central square in the
town of Gorizia, on the Italian border with Slovenia
Travel tip:

Gorizia has the look of an historic Italian town but it has changed hands several times during its history, which is not surprising given its geographical location.  It sits literally on the border with Slovenia and, in fact, is part of a metropolitan area shared by the two countries, the section on the Slovenian side being now known as Nova Gorica. It has German, Slovenian, Friulian and Venetian influences, which can be experienced in particular in the local cuisine.

28 September 2017

Marcello Mastroianni – actor

Film star who immortalised the Trevi Fountain

Marcello Mastroianni was an icon of Italian cinema for more than 45 years
Marcello Mastroianni was an star of
Italian cinema for more than 45 years
Marcello Vincenzo Domenico Mastroianni, who grew up to star in some of the most iconic Italian films of the 20th century, was born on this day in 1924 in Fontana Liri, in the province of Frosinone in Lazio.

He was the son of Ida Irolle and Ottone Mastroianni, who ran a carpentry shop. His uncle, Umberto Mastroianni, was a sculptor.

At the age of 14, Marcello Mastroianni made his screen debut as an extra in a 1939 film called Marionette.

His career was interrupted by the Second World War, during which he was interned in a German prison camp until he managed to escape and go into hiding in Venice.

He made several minor film appearances after the war until he landed his first big role in Atto d’accusa, directed by Giacomo Gentilomo, in 1951.

Ten years later, Mastroianni had become an international celebrity, having starred in Federico Fellini’s La dolce vita opposite Anita Ekberg. He played a disillusioned tabloid journalist who spends his days and nights exploring Rome’s high society. The film is most famous for the scene in which Ekberg's character, Sylvia, wades into the Trevi Fountain.

Mastroianni followed this with a starring role in Fellini’s   - Otto e mezzo - in which he played a film director who suffers from creative block while making a movie.

Mastroianni's famous Trevi Fountain scene with Anita Ekberg in Federico Fellini's La dolce vita
Mastroianni's famous Trevi Fountain scene with Anita
Ekberg in Federico Fellini's La dolce vita
He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times, for Pietro Germi's Divorce, Italian-style, Ettore Scola's A Special Day and Dark Eyes, directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. He is one of only three actors to have twice been awarded the Best Actor award at the Cannes film festival.

A Special Day was one of 11 films in which he starred opposite Sophia Loren, his on-screen partnership with whom was a feature of Italian cinema in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Mastroianni married Flora Carabella in 1950 and they had a daughter, Barbara. After they separated, he had a relationship with the actress Faye Dunaway. He later lived with French actress Catherine Deneuve and they had a daughter, Chiara Mastroianni.

Mastroianni in Divorce, Italian-style
Mastroianni in Divorce, Italian-style
He was rumoured to have had affairs with other actresses until, in 1976, he became involved with Anna Maria Tato, an author and film maker.

Mastroianni died from pancreatic cancer in 1996 at the age of 72. Both of his daughters, as well as Deneuve and Tato, were at his bedside.

The Trevi Fountain was turned off and draped in black as a tribute to him.

Travel tip:

Fontana Liri, where Marcello Mastroianni was born, is a small village in the Apennines, about 90km (56 miles) southeast of Rome and about 15km (9 miles) east of Frosinone. It falls within the remote hilly part of Lazio known as the Ciociaria, which is south of Rome and north of Naples and is named after the ciocie, sandals, traditionally worn by local people.

The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome
The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome
Travel tip:

The Trevi Fountain in Rome, where Marcello Mastroianni paddled with Anita Ekberg in La dolce vita, was symbolically turned off and draped in black as a tribute to the actor after he died. The fountain was officially opened by Pope Clement XIII in 1762. Standing at more than 26m (85 feet) high and 49m (161 feet) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and probably the most famous fountain in the world. It was designed by a Roman architect, Nicola Salvi, but he died when it was only half finished. Made from Travertine stone quarried in Tivoli near Rome, the fountain was completed by Giuseppe Pannini, with Oceanus (god of all water), designed by Pietro Bracci, set in the central niche. Coins are traditionally thrown into the fountain by visitors, using the right hand over the left shoulder. It is estimated about 3000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day, money which is used to subsidise a supermarket for the poor in Rome.

28 July 2017

Luigi Musso - racing driver

Wealthy Roman who found expectations hard to bear

Musso at the wheel of his Ferrari Formula One car
Musso at the wheel of his Ferrari Formula One car

Luigi Musso, who for a period of his life was Italy’s top racing driver, was born on this day in 1924 in Rome.

Musso competed six times for the world drivers’ championship, three times for Maserati and three times for Ferrari. His finished third in the 1957 season, driving for Ferrari.

His solitary Formula One Grand Prix victory came in 1956 in Argentina, although he had to content himself with a half-share of the points after being forced to hand over his car to Juan Fangio, the local hero and Ferrari team leader, after 29 of the 98 laps, when Fangio’s car failed.

Sadly, two years later he was killed in an accident at the French Grand Prix in Reims, which his girlfriend, Fiamma Breschi, blamed on the ferocity of his rivalry with his fellow Ferrari drivers Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins.

Born into a wealthy Roman family – his father was a diplomat – Musso grew up in a luxurious palazzo off the Via Veneto. He acquired his love of cars from his brothers, who were also racing drivers.

Luigi Musso was the wealthy son of a Roman diplomat
Luigi Musso was the wealthy son
of a Roman diplomat
He began to compete in 1950 in a car he bought himself, a 750cc Giannini sports car. He made an inauspicious start, his first race ending when he left the track and collided with a statue of the national hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi.

But he soon began to enjoy success racing sports cars and his talent was noted by Maserati, for whom he dominated the 1953 national 2000cc sports car championship. More success the following year, when he placed highly in the two big endurance road races, the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio, as well as winning several smaller events, saw him named reserve driver for Maserati’s Formula One team. In that capacity he finished second in the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

He moved to Ferrari in 1956, a season which began with his handover to Fangio in Buenos Aires and was interrupted by a major crash in Germany, in which Musso was lucky to escape with only a broken arm.

When he returned for the Italian Grand Prix, the last race on the calendar, he found himself facing a repeat of the first, when his team asked him to surrender his car to Fangio.  This time, risking his Ferrari career, he refused, taking a gamble that almost paid off.  In the lead with four laps remaining, he suffered a puncture and then steering problems and was forced to quit, leaving Stirling Moss, in a Maserati, to win.

The pit lane at the Argentine Grand Prix of 1956, in which Musso, whose car is No 12, gained his only F1 win
The pit lane at the Argentine Grand Prix of 1956, in which
Musso, whose car is No 12, gained his only F1 win
Musso was embarrassed. Yet far from attracting ignominy he endeared himself to the Monza crowd, who appreciated his daring.  Come the 1957 season he was firmly in the spotlight, the Italian press loving the new rivalry between Musso and his fellow Italian, Eugenio Castellotti.

When Castellotti suffered fatal injuries in a crash while testing, Italian motor racing fans looked to Musso more than ever to deliver success.

Yet he found the weight of expectation hard to bear.  He was now the best Italian driver, built up by the press as the heir to Alberto Ascari, the winner of back-to-back Formula One world titles in 1952 and 1953 but who had himself been killed in an accident in 1955.  The pressure on Musso to win races became intense.

There were rumours of debts, the result of a gambling habit that saw him lose large sums in the casinos. His personal life was in turmoil, too, after leaving his wife and two children for Fiamma, a beautiful blonde. And then there was the growing animosity between Musso and his Ferrari teammates, Hawthorn and Collins, two close friends who had a deal to pool their prize money and share it, from which Musso was excluded.

Musso's girlfriend, Fiamma Breschi
Musso's girlfriend, Fiamma Breschi
It all came to a head in the French Grand Prix at Reims in July. Musso was second on the grid behind Hawthorn, having matched his best-ever performance in practice. The race was the most lucrative on the calendar and Musso was determined to win.

Hawthorn made a flying start and began to pull away from the field.  Musso felt he had no option but to chase hard.  He took more and more risks until, on the 10th lap, he took one too many.  Attempting to take a corner at 150mph, he was unable to keep the car on the track and one of the wheels clipped the edge of a ditch, sending it somersaulting into the air.

Musso was thrown from the car but suffered severe head injuries.  He was taken to hospital but died later that evening.

Breschi later recalled that after spending several hours at the hospital, doctors told her she should return to her hotel to rest. In the car park of the hotel she says she saw Hawthorn and Collins laughing and joking, playing football with a tin can, and hated them from that point onwards.

The Excelsior Hotel is a landmark on the Via Veneto
The Excelsior Hotel is a landmark on the Via Veneto
Travel tip:

The Via Vittorio Veneto, colloquially known as Via Veneto, is one of the most elegant and expensive streets in Rome. The street is named after the Battle of Vittorio Veneto (1918), a decisive Italian victory of the First World War. Federico Fellini's 1960 film La Dolce Vita was mostly centered on the Via Veneto area. Its bars and restaurants attracted Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Anita Ekberg, Anna Magnani, Gary Cooper and Orson Welles as well as writers Tennessee Williams and Jean Cocteau and the designer Coco Chanel.

Monza Cathedral with its marble facade
Monza Cathedral with its marble facade 
Travel tip:

Although widely known for its Formula One track, Monza has other attractions that tend to be overlooked. There is an elegant and stylish historical centre, in which the cathedral, which originated in the sixth century and was rebuilt in the 14th, featuring a marble façade in Romanesque style with some Gothic adornments, and a bell tower added in 1606, stands out.  Another feature is the vast Parco di Monza, at 688 hectares one of the largest enclosed parks in Italy, which contains the Royal Villa, built between 1771 and 1780 for Archduke Ferdinand of Austria.

29 January 2017

Luigi Nono - avant-garde composer

Venetian used music as a medium for political protest

Luigi Nono: the composer who used his music to express his political viewpoint
Luigi Nono: the composer who used his music
to express his political viewpoint
The Italian avant-garde composer Luigi Nono, famous for using music as a form of political expression, was born in Venice on this day in 1924.

Nono, whose compositions often defied the description of music in any traditional sense, was something of a contradiction in that he was brought up in comfortable surroundings and had a conventional music background.

His father was a successful engineer, wealthy enough to provide for his family in a large house in Dorsoduro, facing the Giudecca Canal, while his grandfather, a notable painter, inspired in him an interest in the arts.  He had music lessons with the composer Gian Francesco Malipiero at the Venice Conservatory, where he developed a fascination for the Renaissance madrigal tradition, before going to the University of Padua to study law.

Nono appreciated the natural sounds of Venice, in particular how much they were influenced by the water, and as he began to compose works of his own there might have been an expectation that any contemporary influences would have been against a backcloth of ideas rooted in tradition.

Yet the classical Venetian music of Giovanni Gabrieli, Antonio Vivaldi and others could not have been further away from the sounds that would define much of Nono's output.

There was no harmony or melody, none of the things commonly associated with music.  Instead, Nono's compositions often comprised strange sounds, generated by conventional instruments and voices, yet difficult to associate with them.  Listening to them was uncomfortable but that was their purpose, to defy convention and challenge the listener to be aroused and seek an interpretation, in much the same way that modern art asks the observer to see visual images in a different way.

Luigi Nono was born in this house on Fondamenta Zattere al Ponte Longo, facing the wide Giudecca Canal
Luigi Nono was born in this house on Fondamenta Zattere
al Ponte Longo, facing the wide Giudecca Canal
Nono's early influences were the Italian composer-conductor Bruno Maderna and German conductor Hermann Scherchen, with whom he began working in 1946 and who both encouraged his work.  He attended the Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany, where his compositions reflected his admiration for the Austrian abstract composer Anton Webern. 

Yet just as strong an influence was his politics. Like many Italian intellectuals of the post-war period, Nono had been disturbed by the experience of growing up under Fascism. He rebelled in the 1950s by becoming a Communist, following in the footsteps of other well-heeled intellectuals, such as the film director Luigi Visconti.

However, there was nothing faddish or self-indulgent about his interest in left-wing causes. It seemed to be at the roots of his being. "An artist must concern himself with his time," he once said. "Injustice dominates in our time. As man and musician I must protest.

"The genesis of every work of mine springs from some human 'provocation' – an event or a text in our lives which provokes my instinct and my consciousness to bear witness."

Thus he produced pieces such as Il Canto Sospeso  - 'The Suspended Song' - which celebrates the heroic deaths of Resistance fighters. Later pieces would highlight revolutionary causes around the world from Mao to Castro yet never was any protesting sentiment expressed in a rousing chorus, rather in distorted and fragmented sounds, the sounds of shouts and screams and rage.

Nono's grave at the cemetery of San Michele
Nono's grave at the cemetery of San Michele
He wrote pieces protesting against the atomic bomb, against American involvement in Vietnam and was inspired by visits to former Nazi prison camps.  Nono was once described as the angriest composer that ever lived, a flippant remark yet once that seemed to be borne out by his body of work.

Only in his later years did he mellow, when his compositions sought to reflect the stillness and muffled sounds of Venice at its most haunting, in the winter, empty of crowds and shrouded in mists.

Married to the daughter of Arnold Schoenberg, the Austrian composer and music theorist who was an early influence, Nono had two daughters, Silvia and Serena. He died from a liver complaint in 1990. He is buried at the cemetery on San Michele island.

Travel tip:

The Dorsoduro, where Nono grew up, is one of the six sestieri - municipal areas - of Venice, sitting between the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal.  It is regarded as a good place to get the feel for the more traditional Venice, without the huge crowds and tourist trappings associated with the areas around St Mark's and the Rialto.  There are many traditional bacari, the small bars that sell inexpensive small snacks - cicchetti - along with glasses of wine - known locally as ombre, as well as squares where local people meet during the day and students gather at night.  Yet it is also home to some fine churches, such as San Sebastiano, full of works by Veronese, and two of the city's most prestigious galleries, the Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim.

Hotels in Venice from

The church of San Sebastiano in Dorsoduro has many  works by the Venetian Renaissance painter Veronese
The church of San Sebastiano in Dorsoduro has many
works by the Venetian Renaissance painter Veronese
Travel tip:

The Giudecca itself - an island divided from the main body of Venice by the wide Giudecca Canal - is perhaps even more representative of the real Venice, if such a thing exists.  Rarely a destination for many tourists, apart from the well-heeled ones who stay at the famed Hotel Cipriani at its eastern tip, it was once home to only the residents of a small fishing village. Later it was developed for market gardens and then became fashionable with Venice's wealthier residents as somewhere with space to build their grand houses.  More recently, the western end of the island has become home to shipyards and factories.  There are plenty of interesting streets and enough bars and local restaurants to satisfy those curious enough to explore.

Hotels in Venice from Expedia

More reading:

How the Baroque master Antonio Vivaldi died penniless in Vienna

Gabrieli's music led the transition from Renaissance to Baroque in music of Venice

How the Venetian Patty Pravo turned her back on classical music for a career in pop

Also on this day:

1966: Fire destroys Venice's La Fenice opera house

(Picture credits: Luigi Nono from Zoeken; Nono's house and San Sebastiano by Didier Descouens; grave by Smerus; all via Wikimedia Commons)


30 May 2016

Giacomo Matteotti - martyr of freedom

Politician kidnapped and murdered by Fascist thugs

Photo of Giacomo Matteotti
Giacomo Matteotti
A brave and historic speech made in the Italian parliament on this day in 1924 marked the start of a crisis for Benito Mussolini's Fascist government.

The young socialist politician who delivered the speech, denouncing the Fascist victory in the general election held in April of that year as having been won through fraud and violence, was subsequently kidnapped and murdered.

Giacomo Matteotti, the 29-year-old founder and leader of the Unified Socialist Party, accused Mussolini's party of employing thugs to intimidate the public into voting Fascist and said that changes to electoral law were inherently corrupt in that they were framed to make a Mussolini government almost inevitable.

Matteotti, who had already written a controversial book about the Fascists' rise to power, knew the risk he took in making the speech and is said to have told colleagues they should "get ready to hold a wake for me" as they offered him their congratulations.

Less than two weeks later, on June 10, Matteotti was walking along the banks of the River Tiber close to his home in Rome when he was attacked by five or six assailants who beat him up and bundled him into a car.  He tried to escape but was repeatedly stabbed with a sharply pointed carpenter's wood file.

Matteotti's body was not discovered until August 16, buried in a shallow grave near Riano, about 30 kilometres outside Rome, but witnesses identified the car, which was found bloodstained and abandoned a few days after he was taken.  Arrests soon followed, with the kidnap gang revealed to be members of Mussolini's secret police, the Ceka.

There was public outrage at the murder, especially over the implication that Mussolini had ordered it himself, not only on account of the May 30 speech but because Matteotti was thought to have uncovered evidence that an American oil company was funding the Fascists in return for exclusive rights to Italy's oil reserves.

Photo of sign indicating Piazza Giacomo Matteotti in Bergamo
Giacomo Matteotti is commemorated in the name of a
square in Bergamo in Lombardy
Opposition politicians refused to attend the Chamber of Deputies and demanded that the King, Victor Emmanuel III, dismissed Mussolini from power.  But the monarch, anxious not to expose the country to possible civil war and wary, in any case, of the republican leanings of the socialists, declined to do so.

Already under pressure from extremists in his party to abandon all pretence to democracy and impose a dictatorship on the country, Mussolini saw the king's backing as a chance to strengthen his grip.

He made a speech accepting broad responsibility for Matteotti's death as head of the Fascist party while at the same time challenging his opponents to prosecute him if they thought he was directly linked to the crime.

When they failed to do so, he began to introduce laws that would ultimately outlaw any form of opposition to the Fascist regime, marking the start of totalitarian rule.

Three of the kidnappers were jailed, although Victor Emmanuel subsequently granted them amnesty. Retried after the Second World War, the three were sentenced again to 30 years in prison, although in none of the trials could it be proved that they acted on Mussolini's direct orders.

Matteotti's body, meanwhile, had been returned to his home town of Fratta Polesine, just outside Rovigo in the Veneto region, where he had enjoyed a comfortable upbringing in a wealthy family, his interest in left-wing politics taking hold after he had left to study law at the University of Bologna. He is buried in the family crypt.

Façade of the Villa Badoer in Fratta Polesine
Travel tip:

A village of fewer than 3,000 inhabitants, Fratta Polesine is notable for the Villa Badoer, built between 1557 and 1563 by the architect Andrea Palladio for a Venetian nobleman, and the first to feature the temple-like façade that would become Palladio's hallmark.

Travel tip:

Matteotti's memory is preserved in streets and squares named in his honour all over Italy, one example being the Piazza Giacomo Matteotti in in Bergamo, the elegant city north of Milan in Lombardy, where the street sign describes him as Martire della Libertà - martyr of freedom.

More reading:

The death of Mussolini

Victor Emmanuel III abdicates

(Photo of Villa Badoer by Marcok CC BY-SA 3.0)