The crypt where Benito Mussolini is buried in Predappio was closed in 2017 for a restoration and since then it has only been opened on special occasions, such as today, on the eve of the anniversary of the birth of the Italian dictator. But this town calls out to be accessible all year.
And the descendants of Mussolini, who today came to pay tribute to this small town of 2,600 inhabitants in Emilia Romagna, say that the crypt will reopen "as it always was" and that criticism does not affect them.
While the Spanish Government maintains a legal battle with the family of the dictator Francisco Franco over the decision to exhume their remains from the Valley of the Fallen and their opposition to being buried in the Almudena Cathedral in the center of Madrid, the descendants of Mussolini have never had trouble keeping the crypt open.
The national vice president of the Association of Partisans of Italy, Emilio Ricci, said strongly that today again "a procession that would tarnish the memory of the many victims of fascist crimes, their racial laws and their collaboration with the Nazis which led to the massacre of innocent women, men and children, "somewhat contrary to the Constitution of the Republic and the laws in force.
Today the Mussolini family returned to Predappio, the nostalgic of fascism, the Duce fans or the simple curious of the so-called "black tourism" paraded, but moderation reigned.
Dressed in black T-shirts with the phrases that the Duce made popular, the nostalgic ones avoided, however, the uniforms, the Roman greetings or the fascist flags, after the controversies of other occasions.
"We are under observation," said one of the organizers of today's demonstration in Predappio, who asked the several hundred people present to put their hands to their hearts instead of the Roman greeting.
"Comrade Mussolini. Present!" They shouted three times with their hands in their hearts, aware or warned that the opening of the grave is at stake.
The first right-wing mayor for 75 years of Predappio, elected last May with more than 60% of the votes, Roberto Canali, promised in an election campaign that Mussolini's tomb would open, but he and the Duce's family asked for respect .
The crypt now opens three times to commemorate the death of the Duce (April 28), his birth and on October 28, when the so-called march on Rome in 1922 is commemorated, which brought him to power.
The rest of the year, Predappio goes from being a place of pilgrimage to a desert town.
"The critics don't worry me. We knew that a political tendency was going to criticize him and they will continue to do it, but what I have to worry about is what my citizens think and for them the opening of the crypt is positive, because it generates a flow of people who go to gift shops, bars and restaurants and it is a benefit for the whole community, "the mayor told EFE.
Also one of the Duce's great-grandchildren, Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini, who was a candidate for the European elections with the Fratelli D'Italia party, explained to EFE that the new controversies for the possible opening are "ridiculous".
"It has always been open. It was closed for maintenance, but it has always been open. Also after the war, when we were living very different times," explains the 51-year-old politician, who emphasizes that "the family's intention is to reopen the grave. "
"There is no problem. It is a private place, but it belongs to the Italian State for better or worse and, as it already was, we want it to be accessible to everyone again," he explains.
The grandson of Vittorio Mussolini, son of the fascist dictator, denies the accusations that these manifestations are "an apology of fascism" because, he says, "there is no attempt to rebuild this ideology."
"You have to come to visit the grave without a political discourse but only historical, know what Mussolini did. The facts," he says.
Since 1957 the remains of Mussolini, executed in 1945 after being captured by the Italian resistance, are in this cemetery of San Cassianno.
Today, again, the nostalgic of the Ventenio waited their turn to enter the mausoleum and leave a signature in the guest book or a red rose before the tomb presided by the huge marble bust of Benito Mussolini.
. (tagsToTranslate) family (t) Mussolini (t) Predappio (t) want (t) Duce