Reappearance of cliff-etching tribute to Mussolini sparks row in Italy

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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. “With the excuse of creating climbing routes, the council has resurrected an old inscription that pays tribute to the Fascist leader. It’s unacceptable. Fascism is a crime and should be treated as such.”

The MP has written to Matteo Salvini, the interior minister, calling for him to intervene. But Mr Salvini, who leads the hard-Right, anti-immigration League party, has publicly quoted Mussolini in the past and appears unlikely to weigh in on the case.

The ghost of Mussolini, who introduced highly discriminatory laws against Italian Jews, persecuted political opponents, allied with Hitler and declared war on the Allies, continues to haunt Italy.

In the mountains north of Rome a vast conifer plantation, planted in the 1930s to spell out the word DUX in giant letters, is still clearly visible and jealously guarded by apologists for Fascism.

Two years ago the bizarre plantation, which consists of 20,000 fir trees, was partially damaged by a wild fire, to the dismay of the far-Right.



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