Predappio and Mussolini

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Predappio, as you visit it now, did not exist before the ’30s. It was a little country village, with a few houses, named Dovia. The original borough was up on a very strong rock where the Ordelaffi family built a fortress, one of the many ones you can find in the Apennines of the Pianura Padana. ~ Predappio, the rationalist town. A place to visit

Predappio, Duce’s town, is found in the province of Forlì-Cesena in Romagna, the western part of the region of Emilia Romagna. It is known as being the birthplace and final resting place of Fascist Dictator Benito Mussolini. Although the population of the village barely tops 6400, it is becoming increasingly popular with tourists on the Mussolini pilgrimage route.

You can visit Mussolini’s birthplace, which is now a museum with changing exhibits. It’s been gutted, so there isn’t a whole lot to see.

The house, which is just uphill from the old market, offers a video that is interesting but it’s only available in the Italian language.

Mussolini's Birthplace in Predappio

From the house you can walk down the main street in the direction of Palazzo Varano, the second home of Mussolini. Along the way are shops selling Fascist artifacts and the Fascist Headquarters, perhaps the best example of Rationalist architecture. It’s closed. There are no plans to renovate or destroy the building. Fascism in limbo.

palazzo varano picture
Palazzo Varano, Predappio

If you keep going past the Palazzo Varano and the big church of Sant’Antonio, preferably by car, you’ll come upon a gated cemetery on your right. There are no signs, but the Mussolini crypt is in a corner. You go down a few stairs and then there’s this:

mussolini tomb picture
Predappio: Mussolini's Tomb

Yes, in the off season when there are few tourists you’ll find them looking around for the tomb. It’s a great deal of fun. You’ll feel like a rat caught in a maze, little houses of death all around you. There’s a rest room too, in case the search goes on too long…

And don’t forget to visit the church in the cemetery. Mussolini’s labeled Baptismal Font sits in a pile with other junk.

mussolini baptismal font picture
Baptismal Font: Mussolini was baptized july 30, 1883.

Fascist Limbo. You don’t throw away history, but you want to.

Map

Rating:
An entirely different experience than, say, the Cinque Terre!
Don’t Miss: Mussolini’s Tomb, to the south
When to Go: Spring or Fall. Summers can be hot, but the Adriatic coast isn’t far away.
Region: Emilia Romagna: Map
Days: Day trip from Forli or Cesena, which has one of the oldest public libraries. the Biblioteca Malatestiana
: Closest train station: Forli. You can buy a bus ticket to Predappio in the station.
Predappio Lodging.
Eat: Ristorante Pizzeria del Moro where we had a very good meal.

Wine: Sangiovese: There is a Union of the Sangiovese di Predappio

Predappio and Mussolini originally appeared on JustGoItaly.com Sep 30, 2015, © James Martin.

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