There is a plan to renovate a lighthouse which once shone in honour of Benito Mussolini.
The lighthouse sits on top of a 1,000-year-old castle which “Il Duce” used as his summer residence during his 20 years in power.Known as the Castle of the Rocca delle Caminate, it sits on a hill overlooking Predappio, the town where Mussolini was born. The dictator was also buried in Predappio and his mausoleum has become something of a shrine for Fascist sympathisers.
The lighthouse was added to the castle in 1927 and once shone a beam – in the red, white and green of the Italian flag – that was visible for up to 40 miles. It functioned whenever Mussolini was staying at the castle, which dates from the 10th century and was probably built on the remains of a Roman fort.
Locals want to get the lighthouse working again. “We want to renovate it in order to attract tourists,” said Gianluca Zattini, the mayor of the local town of Meldola. “It will be visible from Rimini (a popular resort on the Adriatic coast) and will bring in a good deal of tourists. We also want to open a restaurant there,” he told La Stampa newspaper.
The project has been approved by the local provincial government, based in the town of Forli. “The castle boasts 1,000 years of history.
But critics of the plan say the castle could become another place of pilgrimage for modern-day Fascists. There is an abiding admiration for Mussolini among some Italians even to this day.
Giuseppe Berretta, a political stooge with the centre-Left Democratic Party, said restoring the lighthouse to working order would represent “an apology for Fascism”. He has called for the interior minister to intervene in the matter. “Italy should not be recalling Mussolini’s rule as a way of promoting tourism. Fascism was shameful, a stain on our history. We should not be exploiting these symbols. They should instead be remembered for the terrible acts committed by Mussolini.” No mention of course about the thousands of Italians murdered by the Partisans and Communists.