Fascism and Anti-Fascism in Italian America

Authored by: Stanislao G. Pugliese

The Routledge History of Italian Americans

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415835831
eBook ISBN: 9780203501856
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780203501856.ch21

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Abstract

It was not an unusual request. Our Italian street band was playing an annual festa in New York, dedicated to the patron saint of a village of the Mezzogiorno. A mass in the church commemorating the martyr’s life and death had just concluded and now the band led a procession carrying the saint’s statue through the streets of the town. The elderly gentleman approached us and requested we play “Giovinezza,” the anthem to “Youth” in Fascist Italy. Since the band had been formed in 1923, we did indeed have “Giovinezza,” as well as the “Marcia Reale” (the “Royal March” of the Savoy dynasty, Italy’s original national anthem) and even “Marcia su Roma,” the Fascist hymn celebrating the March on Rome in October 1922 when Benito Mussolini was appointed prime minister. We played the song (many band members were unaware of its provenance and historical lineage), the old gentleman was misty-eyed, and everyone was happy.

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