Clara Petacci

She was the sister of the actress Miriam di San Servolo (real name Maria Petaccis).


Daughter of Josephine Persichetti (1888 – 1962) and the doctor Petaccis Francis Xavier (1883 – 1970), director of a clinic for a few years in Rome and introduced in Vatican circles as a doctor of the Sacred Apostolic Palaces. For a period of several years he also had his own clinic staff, “La Clinica del Sole”. Clara studied with yields alternate music and was a pupil of the violinist Corrado Archibugi, a friend of his parents.

In 1932, following a chance meeting occurred during a drive in Castel Fusano (Mussolini was alone at the wheel of his car, Petacci was with Federici, future husband, and the driver) Clara got to know Mussolini in person ; some time she sent numerous letters to the Duce, actually intercepted by the secretariat, but after that succeeded many “hearings” at the Palazzo Venezia, which after a series of confidential interviews acquired the character of a real relationship.

Petaccis, now married to Lieutenant of the ‘Italian Air Force Riccardo Federici (1904 – 1972), had in fact already distanced himself from the latter (from which he would officially separated in 1936). At the time of his meeting with Mussolini, Clara was twenty, thirty less of her lover.

Mussolini was married in a civil ceremony in 1915 and 1925 with a religious ceremony with Rachele Guidi (called “Donna Rachele”), whom he had met during childhood and which was linked since before 1910. He had also been awarded numerous lovers, including Ida Ida (who gave him his son Benito Albino Mussolini), and had recently ended a long and important relationship with Margherita Sarfatti.

Mussolini began to attend regularly Petaccis, receiving visits also punctual in his study of Head of government at the Palazzo Venezia. Clara remained for many years a faithful “beloved” Ben “,” as she called Mussolini also in the correspondence, prompting jokes and amenities among those who were informed.

Several leaders of fascism, on the other hand, felt it was the relationship between the leader and Petacci – as officially non-existent and tolerated by Donna Rachele – very inappropriate, because it can be a source of scandal and allegations of corruption in the scheme.

Clara was passionate about painting. He had the role of Mussolini’s secret companion, of which shared the darkest moments and the ultimate fate, apparently without ever advancing the claim that the lover would leave her for his wife Rachel.

The rise of the family’s social Petaccis

The proximity of Clara in Mussolini came to raise the rank of his family, fueling rumors about possible favoritism and corruption, which was mainly responsible (even from areas linked to the Fascist hierarchy) his brother Marcello Petacci (Rome May 1, 1910 – Dongo April 28, 1945).

Towards the end of 1939, the Petaccis moved from middle-class residence in Via Lazzaro Spallanzani (adjacent to Villa Torlonia) in the splendid villa “Camilluccia” (located on the slopes of Monte Mario, then the edge of town), designed by Italian architects Vincenzo Monaco and Amedeo Luccichenti, and that was a remarkable example of Italian Rationalism.

The big house was divided into 32 rooms on two floors topped by a terrace. In the basement, as the residence of the leader of Villa Torlonia, was converted into a bomb shelter, while in the park were also a swimming pool, a tennis court, a flower garden, edited by Clara, a vegetable garden and a chicken coop, cared for by the mother. Access to the complex was guarded by a gatehouse for the goalkeeper and one for the presidential guard assigned to the property.

In the right wing of the ground floor (probably for safety reasons due to the necessary proximity to the refuge) was positioned in the alcove Benito and Claretta. Composed of a room with walls and ceiling covered with mirrors and furnished with pink, was served by a bathroom covered in black marble and equipped with a large mosaic tub, placed flush with the floor, he wanted to imitate the Roman thermal baths.

At the residence Petaccis (via della Camilluccia 355/357) were sent numerous letters that required the good offices of Clara petitions to Mussolini.

After the fall of fascism, the villa was confiscated on charges that had been purchased with funds stolen by Mussolini to the state budget. The family was able to oppose such a measure of expropriation and subsequently obtained the restitution of the villa, showing the accusation as unfounded.

Later the house was sold, and ended up in a state of disrepair, until it was finally demolished to make way for a complex of buildings that are now home to the embassies of ‘Iraq in Italy and the Holy See.

The end

Overwhelmed by the events of the Second World War, Clara Petacci was arrested July 25, 1943, to the fall of the fascist regime, before being released on September 8, when it was announced the signing of ‘armistice Cassibile. The whole family left Rome and moved in Northern Italy still controlled by German forces, and then where he established the Republic of Salò. Clara moved into a villa in Gardone, not far from the residence of Mussolini and the seat of the Republican government in Salò.

In this period he had a dense correspondence with Mussolini and against the advice of the Duce kept all the letters: in one of these, he asked that the process of Verona Galeazzo Ciano was sentenced to death as a “traitor, vile, filthy, interested and false “, thus expressing a tough position (valid also for Edda Mussolini,” his worthy shows “), which was defined by the historian Emilio Gentile of” rigor Nazi “.

After moving to Milan following the abandonment of the lake coast by the leader, shortly after the middle of April 1945, 23 April, Petaccis – except Clara and her brother Marcello, who remained in Milan – began to safety in air , arriving in Barcelona after an adventurous flight lasted four hours. On April 25, both Clara and Marcello moved away from Milan together with the long column of fascist fleeing towards Como, Marcello trying to escape to Switzerland with false credentials to Spanish diplomat. On April 27, 1945, during the final attempt to evade capture Mussolini, Clara was blocked in Dongo by training the 52nd Garibaldi Brigade partisans, who intercepted a column of German vehicles with which the leader was traveling. Some claim that has been offered a way out, which she recused definitely. Might have fled to Spain with his family in plane (Miriam Petaccis: “Whoever loves is lost”).

The following day, 28 April, after the transfer to Bonzanigo of Mezzegra, Lake Como, Mussolini and Petacci were killed, though Clara did not hang on no condemnation. In the same day also the brother of Clara, Marcello Petacci, was killed by the partisans in Dongo, along with fifteen other people who accompanied the escape of Mussolini.

The next day, April 29, at Piazzale Loreto (Milan), the bodies of Benito Mussolini and Claretta Petacci were exposed (together with those of people in Dongo shot the day before and Achille Starace, who was killed in Piazzale Loreto just before) , hung by the feet to the shelter of the petrol pump It, after being outraged by the crowd. The site was chosen symbolically to avenge the massacre of fifteen partisans and anti-fascists, put to death in retaliation in the same place August 10, 1944.

As soon as he realized that there was the intention of hanging by the feet of the corpse also Petaccis the shelter, Don Pollarolo, chaplain of the partisans, took the initiative to ask a woman present in the crowd, the seamstress Rosa beams, a safety pin to attach the skirt worn by the body of Clara. This solution proved ineffective, however, and so the firemen intervened that arrived with water cannons to quell the anger of the crowd, to cater to steady the skirt with a rope.

After being buried in the first instance to the Cemetery of Milan, under the fictitious name of Rita Kolfuschg in 1959, with permission of the then President of the Council Fernando Tambroni, was interred in the family grave at the Monumental Cemetery City of Campo Verano Rome.

The character

In the cinema

•Mussolini’s last act (1974) of Charles Lizzani, played by Lisa Gastoni

•Caesar and Claretta (1975) (TV) by Claude Whatham, played by Helen Mirren

•Claretta Pasquale Squitieri (1984), played by Claudia Cardinale.

•Me and Duce (1985) by Alberto Negrin, played by Barbara De Rossi

•Mussolini: The Untold Story (1985) by William A. Graham, played by Virginia Madsen

In the theater

•The Picnic Claretta Kalisky of René (1973), broadcast by France Culture.

•I follow my destiny Bruno Swordsmen (2007-2008).

•That twenty-July at Villa Torlonia Pier Francesco Pingitore (2010)

In music

•Scott Walker American musician inside of her album The Drift 2006, he released the song Clara (Benito’s Dream), which tells of the love between Mussolini and Claretta Petacci.


Benito Mussolini. A Clara. All letters to Clara Petacci. From 1943 to 1945. by Luisa Montevecchi. Mondadori Electa, 2011 ISBN 88-370-8704-7

•Gunther Langes. Auf Wiedersehen Claretta – The diary of the man who could save Mussolini and Petacci. edited by Nico Pirozzi. Hundred Authors Editions, 2012 ISBN 978-88-97121-37-4

•Claretta Petacci. Toward disaster. Mussolini in the war. Diaries 1939-1940. edited by Mimmo Franzinelli. Rizzoli, 2011 ISBN 978-88-17-04742-5

•Claretta Petacci. Mussolini’s secret. Diaries 1932-1938. by Mauro Suttora. Rizzoli, 2009 ISBN 978-88-17-03737-2

•Robert Gervase. Claretta. The woman who died of Mussolini. Rizzoli, 1982

•Myriam Petaccis. Anyone who loves is lost. Reverdito Publisher 1988

•Festorazzi Roberto. Claretta Petacci. The woman who died for love of Mussolini. Minerva Edizioni, 2012 ISBN 978-8873814054

•Arrigo Petacco. Eva and Claretta. The lovers of the devil. Mondadori, 2012

•Arrigo Petacco. The secret archive of Mussolini. Mondadori, 1998

•Bruno Vespa. The love and power. Mondadori, 2007

•Franco Bandini. Claretta. Sugar, 1960

•Bruni Pierfranco. Claretta and Ben. My love is with you. Pellegrini Editore, 1996

•Marco Innocenti. Edda against Claretta. A story of love and hate. Murcia, 2003

•Fabrizio Bernini. The mayor of Gargnano. Life on the Garda head of fascism between Rachel and Claretta. Iuculano, 2007

•Lonati Bruno. That April 28. Mussolini and Claretta: the truth. Murcia, 1994

•Luciano Garibaldi. The English track. Who killed Mussolini and Petacci?. Ares, 2002

•D. Jarach. The life of Claretta Petacci. Alberto Peruzzo Editore, 1986

•G. Mouthpieces Pavilion. The harem of Mussolini. Murcia, 2006

•O. Del Buono. Loves blacks. Theoria, 1985

•Franco Rovere. Love life Claretta Petacci. Lucchi, 1946

•Marco Innocenti. White telephones, loves blacks. Murcia, 1999

•Anita Pensotti. The Italian. Simonelli Editore, 2004

•Richard Collier. Duce

! Duce.Murcia, 1971

•Alfredo Peace. Benito Mussolini, Claretta Petacci. Greek & Greek, 2008

•Luigi de Vincentis. I am you. UTAC 1947

•Duilio Susmel. Claretta Petacci From legend to history

!.River Publishing, 1959

•Mercutio. Splendor and misery of the sisters Petaccis. PGI – D. CONTE, 1944

•Brutus. The last favorite Claretta Petacci. Publisher Francesco Mondini, 1945

•Francis Xavier Petaccis. The life and his enemies. Editorial Union of Italy, 1940

•Marcello Petacci. Collection of some scientific works. Italgraf 1961

•Josephine Persichetti. The Enamorada de Mussolini. Ediciones Caballero Audaz 1947

•Antje Windgassen. Im Bund mit der Macht – Die Frauen der Diktatoren. ISBN 3-593-36900-1

•Franz Spunda. Clara Petacci. Roman um die Geliebte Mussolinis Berchtesgaden. ZIMMER & HERZOG, 1952

People executed by firing squad

Personality of Fascist Italy

Buried in the cemetery of Verano

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress