The Mussolini diaries are several forged diaries of Italy's former fascist leader Benito Mussolini. The two best known cases of forged Mussolini diaries are those of 1957 and 2007, but other forgeries have also been discovered.
During 1957 a mother and daughter (Amalia and Rosa Panvini) produced thirty volumes of what they later claimed were Mussolini's diaries; these diaries apparently fooled the dictator's son and an expert. At first it was believed that the large number of volumes in themselves were evidence that they were not forgeries; it was later discovered that these diaries had in fact been forged.
In February 2007, Italian senator Marcello Dell'Utri claimed that diaries, covering the years from 1935 to 1939 had been found. Moreover, he claimed in the newspaper Corriere della Sera, these Mussolini diaries were with a lawyer at Bellinzona, in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. He said he examined the diaries and found that the "handwriting is clear and recognisably" that of Mussolini, though "a bit hurried". Dell'Utri stated that his claim was supported by an unknown handwriting expert. He said further that the diaries had been found in a suitcase the dictator was carrying when he was caught by partisans in Dongo, at Lake Como, while he was fleeing to Switzerland in April 1945. The books had been hidden by one of the partisans who had died recently.
These diaries occasioned much interest among historians, as it appeared that Mussolini reluctantly brought Italy into World War II and that he had tried to prevent the war. The diaries were also received with scepticism as they had not been authenticated independently. This scepticism was made more acute by memories of the 1957 forgery and the forged Hitler diaries case in 1983.
Later in February two Italian historians, Emilio Gentile and Roberto Travaglini, independently discovered that these diaries were indeed forged. The historians claim that these diaries had been around for some time and that someone had tried to sell these diaries to journalists before offering them to Dell'Utri. According to Gentile, the diaries contain "historical errors" and that the authors "seem to have copied various articles from old newspapers", and according to Travaglini "there were too many elements that did not match up".
Marcello Dell'Utri is the owner of the diaries and still claims them to be authentic.
- Hitler diaries, an article about the forged diaries of Hitler.