Washington Post

The surprising reason Mussolini's home town wants to build a fascism museum

The Casa del Fascio, or House of Fascism, in Predappio, Italy. The town's mayor, together with a team of historians, plans to transform the building into a museum and study center of fascism. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Simone Donati-TerraProject

PREDAPPIO, Italy - Thousands of admirers of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini visit his tiny home town every year. Now, as far-right parties expand their appeal ahead of March elections, the town's leftist mayor wants to open a museum of fascism on the main square, not as an homage to their cause but as a way to contain it.

The effort has reignited a long-running debate about Italy's conflicted relationship with the jut-jawed Mussolini, who seized power in 1922 and held his nation in thrall for more than two decades, building it into an industrial behemoth even as he threw his opponents into prison camps. Many historians and politicians say Italy never fully reckoned with its fascist past - and that one result is the modern-day popularity of leaders who cite Mussolini as a model...

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