Rome, Sept.27 : Active efforts are on to revive and rehabilitate Benito Mussolini, Italy's wartime dictator.
On Friday, urban planners and architectural historians from across Italy gathered in Rome to honour the "glories" of Fascist architecture.
The conference, at Latina, a model "new town" created in reclaimed marshland south of Rome by Mussolini in 1932, is the brainchild of Giorgio Frasinetti, the head of urban planning at Predappio, the town in Emilia-Romagna where Il Duce was born and is buried, reports The Times. Frasinetti admitted that Fascism had its "ugly" aspects but he insisted that the buildings erected throughout the country under Mussolini should not be seen as an embarrassment, but deserved "re-evaluation".
The move follows the restoration of an obelisk bearing the word "Dux" (Duce) outside the Olympic Stadium in Rome and of Mussolini's Rome residence, the Villa Torlonia.
There is, however, growing disquiet on the Left and among Jewish and Roman Catholic groups. They fear that neo-Fascists are taking advantage of a perceived shift to the right in Italy since elections last April, which brought to power a coalition headed by Silvio Berlusconi.
Mussolini's tomb at Predappio has become a shrine for neo-Fascists, who have grown increasingly assertive, plastering Rome with far-Right posters and massing on football terraces and at political rallies with their close-cropped hair and black shirts.