Italy’s new Senate President has a basement full of fascist World War II memorabilia

ROME — On the first cold rainy day in the Italian capital after the long hot summer, Italian senators elected their president Ignazio Benito Maria La Russa, who openly collects fascist World War II memorabilia, including busts and statues of dictator Benito Mussolini in the basement. His father was the secretary of the Fascist Party under Mussolini, and some of the brands are directly linked to il Duce, he told an Italian TV crew allowed into the trophy room.

His election came against the backdrop of Italy’s September 25 elections, which elected Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party, the far-right government in Italy since the end of World War II. La Russa won despite abstention from coalition member Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, which wanted Berlusconi back for the post after being banned from office for a decade for tax crimes. The extra votes were rallied by 17 opposition members who don’t appear to be all that opposed and who will lend even more power to the far-right majority if the first test serves as a precedent.

La Russa has served as Italy’s defense minister and is well known in international circles. He has kept his views on the continuation of Russian sanctions secret, but has previously spoken out in support of Vladimir Putin. Party leader and likely next Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has urged her party members to side with Ukraine and says her first state visit after being sworn in could be in Kyiv.

La Russa’s election paves the way for the election of the leader of Parliament’s lower house, which is expected to go to a member of Donald Trump fan Matteo Salvini’s far-right Lega party.

The new parliament, a stripped-down version of previous parliaments thanks to changes in the last government before it was overthrown, was opened by Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre, who, aged 92, reminded lawmakers that October 25 marked the 100th anniversary of Mussolini’s march is committed to Rome. “It is impossible for me not to feel a kind of dizziness when I think that the same little girl who, on a day like this in 1938, desolate and lost, was forced to leave her empty desk in elementary school by racist laws, now, by a strange twist of fate, is at the most prestigious desk in the Senate,” she said to applause ahead of the vote and before handing La Russa the symbolic opening bell.

Meloni is expected to be sworn in as Italy’s first woman prime minister on October 21. Italy’s new Senate President has a basement full of fascist World War II memorabilia


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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