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Left-wingers Move to Restore Birthplace of Benito Mussolini

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Some left-wing officials want to restore the birthplace of wartime Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in the central Italian town of Predappio and turn it into a museum.

Two members of Parliament from the Predappio area have presented a motion that would allocate some $11 million for the restoration of the birthplace and other sites.

The funds “would be very welcome for the restoration of the buildings associated with Mussolini,” Ivo Marcelli, the ex-Communist mayor of Predappio, told the Rome daily II Messagerro.

“It would be a godsend for local tourism and thus also for the local economy,” Marcelli added.

The parliamentary proposal said the buildings – including the house where Mussolini was born in 1883 – were in very bad condition, adding that they would be “worth restoring and reconstructing for a new cultural and touristic use.”

The officials supporting the move said their plan was not aimed primarily at right-wing Italians nostalgic for the Fascist era, but at all visitors interested in contemporary history.

They said caring for the buildings and recognizing their historical significance would attract more general tourists rather than simply right- wingers making a pilgrimage to fascist icons.

“These places have a value that goes well beyond a regional scope,” Denis Ugolini, one of the parliamentarians who proposed the plan told II Messaggero. “Many foreigners already come every year to visit Mussolini’s tomb and birthplace.”

Mussolini’s tomb in Predappio has long been a place of pilgrimage for right- wingers. On the 50th anniversary of Mussolini’s death in April, black-shirted neo-fascists, many giving straight-armed salutes and wearing Nazi swastikas, gathered there to honor his memory.

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