“My Italy, although speech does not aid those mortal wounds of which in your lovely body I see so many, I wish at least my sighs to be such as Tiber and Arno hope for, and Po where I now sit sorrowful and sad” (Francis Petrarch; translation by Robert Durling).
Above: Italian resistance fighters in Piazza San Marco, Venice in 1945 (images via the Archivio Luce).
Today is Italian Liberation Day: Festa della Liberazione, April 25. Established in 1946, it commemorates the end of Nazi and Fascist rule in Italy.
It’s a national holiday in Italy and most Italians are taking today and tomorrow off (an Italian ponte or bridge, as it’s called, a long weekend).
But one of my colleagues, a young man from Tuscany, took time out to write me this morning.
“Viva l’Italia,” he wrote, “unita, libera e antifascista.”
“Long live Italy, united, free, and anti-fascist.”
It’s incredible to think that in 2019 the Italian government is being run by Matteo Salvini, a strongman, would-be autocrat whose political origins are murky with traces of racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia. He came to power (and continues to run) on a virulent nationalist and anti-immigrant platform. He’s pals with Putin and Orbán. Sound familiar? He’s one of Steve Bannon’s pet projects.
Just last week, the Washington Post ran this story on Mussolini’s grandson and his run for a seat in the EU Parliament. Neo-Fascism is no longer a taboo in Italian political and social circles, notes the author.
Salvini, for example, often cites the “golden years” of Mussolini and the Fascist regime. He forgets that those years weren’t golden for everyone.
Check out this slide show by the Archivio Luce. It features images from Italy after Mussolini’s fall.
Happy Italian Liberation Day! Long live a united, free, and anti-fascist Italy!