Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2017

Plans to Renovate Dictator’s Lighthouse Draws Controversy

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Plans to renovate a lighthouse that once shone to honor Benito Mussolini, the World War II Fascist leader of Italy, has drawn controversy.

In 1927 the lighthouse was added atop the 1,00A0 year old Castle of the Rocca delle Caminate that sits on a hill overlooking the town of Predappio, the town where Mussolini was born. The castle was used as the summer home of Mussolini during his 20 years in power. The lighthouse was never actually used as an aid to navigation. Instead, it once shone a beam in red, white, and green, the colors of the Italian flag, which was visible for 40 miles and was only shone when Mussolini was in residence.

Prior to and during World War II, the castle was used to torture anti-Fascists and partisan prisoners. But the brutal history has not stopped locals from wanting to get the lighthouse restored and working again to attract tourists to the area.

In spite of many protests, the local provincial government, based in the town of Forli, has approved the restoration. One national political leader said, “Italy should not be recalling Mussolini’s role as way of promoting tourism. Fascism was shameful, a stain on our history. We should not be exploiting these symbols. They should instead be remembered for the terrible acts committed by Mussolini.”

Anna Cocchi, the regional head of the Italian Partisans Association, said, “Mussolini does not deserve to be remembered.” Luciano Cara, a rabbi in the nearby city of Ferrara, said, “Fascism is already celebrated at Predappio where you can buy busts of Mussolini, flags, and trinkets. To restore the lighthouse would only add to what is already a squalid situation.”

However there are those who state that we should not try to alter history or hide it, but rather save it, so that we can understand and learn from the past.

This story appeared in the May/Jun 2017 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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