Sicilian town to name street after Mussolini

Plans by the Right-wing mayor of a town in Sicily to name a street after Benito Mussolini have caused uproar in the island.

The decision by Guido Costa, mayor of Tremestieri Etneo (pop 21,000) in eastern Sicily, to call a street "Via Benito Mussolini - statesman," is said to be the first of its kind in Italy.

But the move, backed by the town council, would set an important precedent in Italy, at a time when the country's recently installed ruling coalition includes Mussolini's direct political heirs, the National Alliance. In Italy, streets are traditionally named after unquestioned national heroes, such as Giuseppe Garibaldi and Count Camillo Cavour, leading figures in the country's unification.

The centre-Left opposition in Sicily's devolved regional assembly has described the decision to name a street after the wartime fascist dictator as "impudent" and "arrogant", and has campaigned for it to be reversed.

By Bruce Johnston in Rome

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2001

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