Mussolini: Bombast and Braggadocio

My crew and I are in Europe, filming a new TV special about fascism which will air across the USA next September. Our first stop is Rome, to see the stony remnants of Mussolini’s bombastic years.

Every time Mussolini signed the equivalent of an executive order, he’d have a marble stone engraved with the new law. Even minor actions were memorialized with bombast and braggadocio by these marble monuments to the big guy who got it done.

Mussolini's laws written in stone

Local guides Alfio Di Mauro and Francesca Caruso have been helping me at each stop in Rome. (Their families both lived through Mussolini’s fascist nightmare.) Here, they are teaching me the tough guy pose that Il Duce used as he strutted around in public and gave rambling speeches at rallies designed to energize his angry base.

Rick Steves with guides Alfio and Francesca

Mussolini planned a futuristic city called “EUR.” We needed fascistic-looking places to shoot “on cameras” (when I am speaking on camera), and there were plenty here. This colonnade is text-book fascist — inspired by ancient Rome, but even bolder.

EUR collonade