Children of Famous Parents: Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini

About the children of famous Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, biography of the kids.


Although Mussolini had 5 children by his wife, Rachele Guidi, he was a father in absentia much of the time; his son Vittorio (b. 1916- ) stated that his father "did not belong to his family." To Mussolini, children were little more than raw material from which to create future fascists and soldiers.

Edda (b. 1910- ), his firstborn and favorite, most resembled him in looks and personality. She was headstrong and rebellious and, even after her marriage, something of a swinger. Her father arranged her marriage to County Galeazzo Ciano. Ciano was expected to become Il Duce's successor, but his father-in-law had him executed as a "rebel" in 1944, perhaps as a sacrificial offering to prove to Hitler his coldness and toughness. Edda fled to Switzerland with her 3 children. Commenting on her father, she said: "There are only 2 solutions that will rehabilitate him in my eyes, to run away or to kill himself."

Vittorio became a volunteer pilot at 19; he loved W.W. II, and is said to have delighted in cruelty. When Mussolini tried to flee to Germany after his overthrow in September, 1943, Vittorio was waiting with Hitler; he had already taken refuge there. Vittorio participated in negotiations for the surrender of the Fascist hierarchy, then saved himself by going into hiding.

Bruno (1918-1941) became an air force captain and died at 23, testing a bomber.

Romano (b. 1927- ) scarcely knew his father, but adored him nonetheless. When Mussolini's regime fell, Romano was imprisoned with his mother and sister, Anna Maria (b. 1929- ); subsequently, he became a moderately successful jazz pianist.

A 6th child, Benito Albino (b. 1915-?) was illegitimate. His mother was Ida Dalser, whom Mussolini denounced in 1917 as "dangerous, unbalanced, and criminal." He had her interned as an enemy alien, and she spent the last 10 years of her life in a mental institution. The boy grew up under the supervision of guardians, and died during the war under mysterious circumstances--some say in an institution, like his mother; others, in naval action. His existence was not generally known until after his father's death.

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