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22 Jun 2017
Duce! — The Rise and Fall of Italian Fascism

Duce! — The Rise and Fall of Italian Fascism

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Led by Historical Trips co-founder Nigel Jones, this pioneering tour promises a penetrating and eye-opening overview of one of the 20th century's most controversial and notorious leaders, the state he created, and the lasting legacy he left behind, which still has uncomfortable echoes in today's Europe.

Nigel Jones explains: “In the history of fascism, Mussolini has always been overshadowed by Hitler. Yet Mussolini invented the doctrine; ruled Italy for a full decade before the Nazis came to power; and was initially admired by many democratic leaders - including Churchill-before fatally hitching his wagon to Hitler's dark star.

I devised this tour as a natural successor to our hugely successful Face of Evil exploration of Nazi Germany, as I wanted to physically experience the places where this most destructive and influential brand of politics was first put into effect. And pasta and pizza are so much more palatable than Bavarian dumplings!"

In March 1919 a group of disgruntled WW1 veterans met in Milan to found a new political movement - the Fascio di Combattimento. Within four years their leader the "Duce", Benito Mussolini, arrived in Rome to inaugurate the world's first Fascist state.

Mussolini ruled Italy with an iron hand for the next two decades. His dictatorial regime brutalised its opponents, transformed Italy with grandiose building projects, and inspired imitators around the world - including an admiring Adolf Hitler. Mussolini's fatal alliance with Nazi Germany would drag Italy into the Second World War with disastrous consequences for him and his country.

Now, in a unique and ground-breaking new tour, Historical Trips have devised an itinerary tracing the rise and fall of Italian Fascism from its birth in Milan to Mussolini's dramatic demise in the same city a quarter of a century later as his regime crashed in ruins in 1945.

In a twin tour to our ever-popular Face of Evil trip around the key sites of Nazi Germany, we will visit Mussolini's birthplace, Predappio, the small town where his body - after many vicissitudes - now lies; see the enduring traces of Fascism in the buildings and monuments erected by the regime in Rome and elsewhere; climb to the mountain top hotel where German commandos staged a daring airborne raid to rescue the fallen Duce; and stay on the shores of the beautiful Lake Garda where Mussolini led the radical Salo republic under German protection in the war's final days.

To learn more about Duce! and to book your place, head to the tour page, or get in touch on 01722 713820. Head to Nigel's Guide Lecturer profile to see where else you can join him on tour this year and next — just click the 'Tours' tab for the full list.