Muti, Ettore

   A flamboyant figure from Ravenna on the Adriatic, Ettore Muti was secretary of the Partito Nazionale Fascista/National Fascist Party (PNF) between 1939 and 1941. A close friend of Galeazzo Ciano, son-in-law of Benito Mussolini, Muti was somewhat childish in the Duce’s company. His courageous service in the Arditi in World War I had led to frequent decoration. After becoming party secretary, his penchant for wearing all his medals on any and every occasion resulted in his being ironically described as having “the most magnificent chest in Italy.” Undeniably brave, he had also participated in Gabriele D’Annunzio’s occupation of Fiume. Both in the war in Ethiopia and in the Spanish Civil War, he was Ciano’s copilot in bombing raids. He lost a hand and an eye in the Spanish Civil War, for which he was awarded a gold medal.
   Memorialist Fidia Gambetta described Muti’s penchant for driving his Bugatti two-seater at breakneck speeds into the main square of small Italian towns. The scene was reproduced by Federico Fellini in his film-memoir, Amacord (“I remember” in Romagnole dialect). Muti’s limited administrative abilities led to his dismissal in May 1941 and his replacement by Adelchi Serena, who was, in turn, replaced by a young, unknown, and administratively inexperienced law student, Aldo Vidussoni.
   When Pietro Badoglio came to power in July 1943, he had Muti arrested at his seaside villa in Fregene, near Rome. Muti was allegedly killed while attempting to escape, but it was widely believed that the new government had murdered a potentially dangerous enemy. As a result, Muti became a cult figure for diehard opponents of the Badoglio regime.
   See also Fascism.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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