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He was one of the most brutal dictators of the twentieth century, one of the founders of Italian fascism. And also a passionate lover of women, of whom there were many in his biography. Many of them remained unknown, and even the wife of the Duce Rachele was not as famous as Clarice Petacci. For 12 years she was next to Mussolini, never complained about her humiliating position as a mistress, and on the day of the execution she tried to close him from bullets with her own body.
Dictator and fan
Clara Petacci was born and raised in the family of the Vatican doctor Francesco Saverio Petacci and from childhood was the most passionate fan of Benito Mussolini. Still very young, Clara began to write passionate, adoring letters to her idol.
She sincerely considered him the sun of Italy, a genius worthy of the adoration of his people. True, the letters of the young fan of the Duce did not reach him, quite naturally, settling somewhere in the office, like millions of other similar messages.
But in 1932, they met, and since then Claretta kept her diary, in which she wrote down almost every word said by her idol when meeting or during a telephone conversation. Her diary became a chronicle of their love, however, many of his materials are still kept classified as "secret", and only a part of Clara Petacci's notes from 1932 to 1938 was published. However, this story made the author one of the most famous women in Italy. It was an all-consuming, passionate and sacrificial love on her part.
The sun during the storm
They first met on April 24, 1932, on the Via del Mare. When Claretta, sitting in the cabin of the family car, saw the Duce driving a car passing by, she could not contain her emotions and loudly ordered the driver to catch up with Mussolini's car. She herself waved her hand from the window and shouted something of greeting. She hardly expected that Benito Mussolini, unattainable like a star, would stop at the side of the road and get out of his car.
But seeing the object of her passion so close, Claretta rushed to him with all her might and introduced herself. It was on that day that she made an entry in her diary, where she described all her emotions and the state of inner treasure, which began at the moment when the almighty Mussolini spoke to her. She compared it to a ray of the sun during a storm and called it an unforgettable pearl of her life.
On that day, 20-year-old Clarice asked the Duce for a date. Within a few days she found herself in Palazzo Venezia. For young Clara, it was incredible happiness: to see her duce, to communicate with him, to hear his voice. Despite the fact that she had a fiancé, she was ready to do anything to prolong every moment of meeting with Mussolini.
One but fiery passion
Surprisingly, Benito Mussolini, known for his lovingness, did not even try to seduce an enthusiastic fan. Every time she left, she begged him to meet again, waited for his calls, afraid to leave the phone, wrote letters in which she asked to give her the opportunity to see him.
Every day her diary was replenished with new entries about Mussolini. Surprisingly, there were practically no records about Riccardo Federic, her fiancé, and later her husband. They appeared later, when Clarice's relationship with the Duce had already become completely non-platonic. But between their acquaintance and physical intimacy, a whole four years passed.
Her husband, compared to Benito, seemed insignificant to her, and therefore she soon divorced her husband so that no one would interfere with her indulging in love for Benito. She herself did not want anything from her Duce, she needed only his love and attention. True, the girl's relatives, and especially her brother Marcello Petacci, had their own view of the situation and were able to derive the maximum benefit from Claretta's connection with Benito Mussolini.
Clarice lived only with thoughts of Mussolini. She diligently wrote down everything that was connected with him in her diary, sometimes she flew from the realization of her own happiness, sometimes she cried. But only next to him did she feel happy. She catches his every glance, is always present during performances and always admires her lover. Did she know how cruel and ruthless he could be? She probably knew. But she loved him. To oblivion, to fainting.
She actually passed out when Benito believed some rumors and accused her of cheating. She did not even allow other men in her thoughts and in the worst dream she did not imagine herself with anyone else. For her, only he existed. Claricce knew that he had other women, she herself saw how young beauties were brought to him. She was jealous, suffered, but never expressed her displeasure with Mussolini with a word or a look.
Her love was deaf and blind, her life made sense only next to him. Later, when the Second World War had already begun, quarrels broke out between Clara and Benito. But the young woman always considered herself only guilty of quarrels. If the lover stopped coming to her, she immediately began to write him numerous letters. She assured her of her love, accused the envious people who were trying to take away from her the most precious thing in her life: the opportunity to see and hear the Duce.
Even when Clarice became pregnant with Mussolini and had an abortion, from which she had long departed, she was least worried about her own condition. She only needed to recover to see Benito again. She was next to him when Mussolini was at the zenith of fame, when people caught his every word and were happy to see a wave of his hand. But she did not leave him when his star was rolling towards decline and he no longer ruled an empire, but a tiny part of the country …
Until the last drop of blood
She was arrested in 1943, immediately after the overthrow of Mussolini, and held in custody for almost two months. But as soon as she was released, Claretta immediately went to Northern Italy, closer to her beloved.
At the end of April 1945, the outcome of the war was already obvious, and the Duce made a last attempt to escape. When Mussolini, along with some of the German leaders, decided to make an attempt to leave Italy, Clarice was determined to be with Mussolini. She perfectly understood how risky this venture was, but she flatly refused to stay in a safe place. Why would she live if he was not around?
Their escort was blocked by the 52nd Garibaldi Brigade. They agreed to let the Germans pass, but demanded the extradition of the Italian fascists. Mussolini, despite wearing German uniform, was quickly recognized. And Clarice could well have left the country with the Germans. But she took her seat next to him again.
Even when Mussolini and Petacci were brought to the fence of the Villa Belmonte, the young woman was asked to step aside. But she not only held tightly to Mussolini's sleeve, but at the very first sounds of a shot began to close it from bullets with her own body. She lived for him and died with him.
Dictators who committed atrocities do not always receive just retribution after their resignation or overthrow. Many of them have secured a quiet old age in advance, and when the reins of government are gone, they turn into quiet citizens. But there are those who were overtaken by punishment during their lifetime.