Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had several mistresses - as many as 14 at a time, according to some - but no one stuck with him until the end quite like Clara Petacci. Petacci, his preferred paramour, kept a diary about her time as Mussolini's mistress that gives intimate insights into her lover's sexual behavior. Although never married to Mussolini, she was the woman behind one of the most powerful leaders of the twentieth century and died alongside him as a result.
Petacci Was Infatuated With Mussolini As A Child
Clara "Claretta" Petacci was the daughter of a doctor who worked first for the Papacy and later Mussolini's government. Born in 1912, Petacci was enamored with Mussolini from a young age. Petacci sent him poems and letters, a practice that picked up after Mussolini was almost killed in an assassination attempt in 1926.
The Two Met After She Flagged Down His Car
Petacci, almost three decades younger than the dictator, met him by accident in 1932 when they both happened to be driving down the same road. Twenty-year old Petacci was with her family, including her fiance, and spotted 49-year old Mussolini's Alfa Romeo. She seized upon her chance to meet the man she worshipped from afar and had the driver of the car follow Mussolini while she shouted from the window "Il Duce, Il Duce." Mussolini stopped, the two met, and, according to Petacci, it was love at first sight.
Clara Petacci Was Benito Mussolini's "Principle And Permanent Concubine"
The attraction between Mussolini and Petacci started immediately. She was invited to his villa for dinner but the accounts differ as to the exact nature of their relationship. By some accounts, Mussolini - married at the time and father to five children - and Petacci had nothing more than a friendship at first. Petacci married her fiance, a military lieutenant, but later left him and only then became Mussolini's lover. Another version, Petacci's own diary, indicate that she sent him love letters and the two entered into a clandestine sexual relationship within weeks of meeting. By still another version, Mussolini pursued Petacci, calling her house dozens of times per day and eventually asking her mother, Giuseppina, for permission to court her.
However it happened, Petacci became Mussolini's favorite lover and one that he returned to often. His propensity for one night stands was well known but Clara remained a constant.
Her Diary Reveals What Sex With Mussolini Was Like
"I hold him tightly. I kiss him and we make love with such fury that his screams seem like those of a wounded beast ... We made love with such force that he bit my shoulder so hard his teeth left a mark."
His own letters to Petracci contain glimpses into their relationship, too. He wrote to her on one occasion to "Be afraid of my love. It's like a cyclone. It's tremendous; it overwhelms everything. You must tremble."