Clara Petacci

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Clara Petacci
Clara Petacci.png
Petacci in the 1930s
Born(1912-02-28)28 February 1912
Died28 April 1945(1945-04-28) (aged 33)
Known forBeing the mistress of Benito Mussolini
Partner(s)Benito Mussolini (1933–1945)
RelativesMiriam di San Servolo (sister)
Marcello Petacci (brother)

Clara Petacci, known as Claretta Petacci (Italian: [klaˈretta peˈtattʃi]; 28 February 1912 – 28 April 1945), was a mistress of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. She was killed during Mussolini's execution by Italian partisans, allegedly throwing herself on him in a vain attempt to protect him from the bullets.[1]

Early life[edit]

Daughter of Giuseppina Persichetti (1888–1962) and the physician Francesco Saverio Petacci (1883–1970), Clara Petacci was born into a privileged and religious family in Rome in 1912.[2][3] Her father, a physician of the Holy Apostolic Palaces,[4] became a supporter of fascism. A child when Mussolini rose to power in the 1920s, Clara Petacci idolised him from an early age. After Violet Gibson attempted to assassinate the dictator in April 1926, the 14-year-old Petacci wrote to him commenting "O, Duce, why was I not with you? ... Could I not have strangled that murderous woman?"[5]

Relationship with Mussolini[edit]

Petacci had a long-standing relationship with Mussolini while he was married to Rachele Mussolini. Petacci was 28 years younger than Mussolini.[6] They met for the first time in 1933; in 1934 Petacci married Italian Air Force officer Riccardo Federici, but she parted ways with her husband when he was sent as Air Attaché to Tokyo in 1936.[7]

Part of Petacci and Mussolini's correspondence has not been released on the grounds of privacy.[8]


The corpses of Bombacci, Mussolini, Clara Petacci, Pavolini and Starace in Piazzale Loreto, 1945

On 27 April 1945, Mussolini and Petacci were captured by partisans while traveling with a convoy of Italian Social Republic members.[9]

On 28 April, she and Mussolini were taken to Mezzegra and executed. On the following day, the bodies of Mussolini and Petacci were taken to Piazzale Loreto in Milan and hung upside down in front of an Esso petrol station. The bodies were photographed as a crowd vented their rage upon them.[10]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pierluigi Baima Bollone, Le ultime ore di Mussolini, Milano, Mondadori, 2005, ISBN 88-04-53487-7., pagg. 89 e
  2. ^ Barber, Tony (17 February 2017). "Claretta by RJB Bosworth — Mussolini's last lover". Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  3. ^ Downing, Ben (2017-03-24). "In Bed With Il Duce". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  4. ^ De Felice (1981) p. 278
  5. ^ Thomson, Ian (25 February 2017). "The Ben and Clara affair". Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  6. ^ (in Spanish) Giuseppina Persichetti, La enamorada de Mussolini, Madrid, Ediciones Caballero Audaz, 1947.
  7. ^ Bosworth, R.J.B. (2010). Mussolini. Bloomsbury.
  8. ^ (in Italian) Giampiero Buonomo, Quel carteggio tra Mussolini e la Petacci. Storici sacrificati sull’altare della privacy, in Diritto e giustizia, 16 luglio 2005.
  9. ^ Gunther Langes, Auf Wiedersehen Claretta. Il diario dell'uomo che poteva salvare Mussolini e la Petacci, a cura di Nico Pirozzi, Villaricca, Edizioni Cento Autori, 2012. ISBN 978-88-97121-37-4.
  10. ^ "Death of the Father-Mussolini & Fascist Italy: the 'infamous' exhibit". Cornell Institute for Digital Collections. 1999.
  11. ^ "Caesar and Claretta". British Theatre Guide. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  12. ^ Enrico Lancia (1998). I premi del cinema. Gremese Editore, 1998. ISBN 88-7742-221-1.
  13. ^ "Mussolini: The Untold Story (1985): Virginia Madsen: Claretta Petacci". IMDB. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  14. ^ "Mussolini and I". IMDB. Retrieved 16 November 2021.


  • De Felice, Renzo (1996) [1981]. Mussolini. Il Duce. 2: Lo stato totalitario, 1936–1940 (in Italian) (2 ed.). Torino: Einaudi.

Further reading[edit]