Vincere: Letters from Mussolini and his Lover Ida

"Vincere," written/directed by Marco Bellocchio, surrounds the secret life of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. These are transcripts of letters sent from Mussolini and his lover Ida Dalser. "Vincere," which is currently screening in the United States, was released by IFC Films


My little Ida.  I have just arrived after twelve endless hours on a train that left me completely covered in soot. I washed it off as best as I could and my first thought, even before going to dinner, is you. Are you pleased? Will you say, once again, that you alone love me, while I don’t love you? I love you too, my dear Ida, even though I haven’t been able to prove it to you. During my journey, I thought of you a lot. Every time young married couples or sweethearts came into my compartment, I thought about our trip, the trip we have planned. How happy I would have been to have you with me, today, while the train was racing along under a cloudless sky, through a countryside displaying all of autumn’s melancholic seduction, towards this beautiful Rome which appeared before me just as the sunset was setting ablaze the horizon of the seven hills of the Eternal City.

This evening, we would have been together, whereas… Tomorrow, I’ll send you some picture postcards. I’ll certainly be in Milan on Tuesday or Wednesday evening. Be good, my little friend and think of me often. I embrace you with all the passion of our moments of intimacy and love. I remain your wild friend and lover. Benito. 


What I’m asking you for amounts to very little: my son and an immediate release from this truly putrid lunatic asylum, from this hospital for tuberculosis patients, where you have no right to bury me, my possessions, my furniture and all the personalized furnishings from my apartment in Milan which are to be handed down to my son… Stop having your son’s mother insulted, at least to appease your conscience, and the gloomy phantom that will come to visit you each night. 

Benito, listen to my heart-felt cry, we loved each other, we adored each other passionately, we had a child together, and because of you, I’m struggling in a world full of woes, you’ve killed off my lovely, healthy youthfulness. 

Lastly, references to her alleged mental illness:

Don’t you dare pretend! You know full well that my mental faculties are functioning perfectly just as they always did… My God, how right they were when they told me to leave you, as they suspected everything about you. But you managed to silence me with your explanations. You’ve suffered, I know, you’ve cried, but then you’ve come up with some new subterfuge you mustn’t build your will to fight on lies, not all men are stupid and who knows whether one day, you yourself will end up more distraught than your victims. May Heaven save you from the shameful bartering that we two innocents have been subjected to.  Oh, to die without being able to embrace my son once again. Believe me, Duce, you’re just a poor wretch. 


Gr. Uff. Piomarta Prefect of Trento

Your Excellency,

With this letter, may my desperate cry reach you. One can kill a woman, but not insult her beyond a certain limit. Nero and Caligula would never have dared to take their cynicism so far. For four years, Dr. Baroni and his colleagues have been making fun of me: I cannot even envisage dragging on through such a miserable existence without one single ray of sunshine. From what these scoundrels are saying, it would appear that the Mussolini brothers have sold me off for good, and that they themselves are responsible for all the suffering inflicted on me. The situation is so complicated that it requires an intervention on the part of Your Excellency to whom I have already written six letters to no avail. I have been gagged, drugged, beaten on the teeth, chained up in an airless cell, never being allowed out and injected with poison in my left arm to subjugate me to their will. I am a poor dead woman lying in her shroud under a heavy stone, waiting for my grave to open so that I may embrace, once more, the blessed, divine creature whom I adore. Come, come soon, immediately.  Anyone who does not know maternal suffering does not know what pain is! Ah! Where is my ill-fated creature buried? Has he, perhaps, disappeared from this world following atrocious forms of torture? And does that man not feel he is a father? I can die but not him, my son did not ask to be brought into this world and no one can or must make him suffer the same ordeal as his unfortunate mother. And does he not understand that we represent the political and moral force of those who will drag him into the abyss? 


The man I adored, defended, took care of when he was ill, followed like a shadow to rallies and demonstrations, when he was violently attacked in the squares in Milan and by Giolitti’s guards; praying and begging for an end to the duels, giving him an adorable son who looks exactly like him. Why did I do all this? Certainly not for his wealth! If he had been engulfed in flames or under a hail of bullets, I would have rushed to his aid. At that time, he was not an unjust man, but a real angel an abandoned genius, I took him into my home against everybody’s advice, I adored him, he adored me, he promised to make me the most envied of women. I asked him nothing more than to make me the most loved… 


For the son of Benito Mussolini editor and owner of Il Popolo d’Italia. Reduced to abject poverty after having been exploited and then abandoned by my son’s father Benito Mussolini, editor and owner of Il Popolo d’Italia, I am appealing to the generosity of the newspaper, Corriere della Sera, so that it will launch an appeal to collect funds for Mussolini’s son, since I can no longer provide for the son of the man who exploited me and the coward who has left me in dire straits along with my child, when all the while, he is rolling in money together with his famous “henchmen” and administrators Clerici and Morgagni.

The mother of little Benitino Mussolini.