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Mussolini 'had 14 lovers at a time'

Italy's fascist dictator Benito Mussolini had 14 lovers at a time, de-classified diaries of his mistress have revealed. Claretta Petacci, a Vatican doctor's daughter, met Mussolini in 1932 at the age of 20, and became his lover four years later.

world Updated: Nov 22, 2009 17:38 IST

Italy's fascist dictator Benito Mussolini had 14 lovers at a time, de-classified diaries of his mistress have revealed.

Claretta Petacci, a Vatican doctor's daughter, met Mussolini in 1932 at the age of 20, and became his lover four years later. Her diaries cover the period from 1932 to 1938 and were released under Italy's 70-year rule.

In fact, according to the entries, Petacci was so jealous of the other women in Mussolini's life that she made him call her at least a dozen times a day, and every half hour after he got home in the evening, because she -- correctly -- suspected him of betraying her, The Sunday Times reported.

She wrote down the times of the calls and their content. In April 1938, Petacci described their exchange after she caught him having sex with his former girlfriend Alice De Fonseca Pallottelli.

"All right, I did it. I hadn't seen her since before Christmas. I felt like seeing her; I don't think I committed a crime. I spent 12 minutes with her," he admitted. Petacci just interrupted to exclaim: "Twenty-four!"

"All right, 24 then, so it was a quick thing. Who cares? she's past it. After 17 years there's no enthusiasm; it's like when I take my wife," he said.

He told her the idea of sleeping with only one woman was "inconceivable" to him. He said: "There was a period in which I had 14 women and I'd take three or four every evening, one after the other. That gives you an idea of my sexuality."

The diaries also include her descriptions of their embraces: "I can feel that all his nerves are taut and ready to spring," she wrote. "I hold him tightly. I kiss him and we make love with such fury that his screams seem like those of a wounded beast. Then, exhausted, he falls onto the bed."

After another encounter, she wrote that Mussolini had hurt her: "We made love with such force that he bit my shoulder so hard his teeth left a mark."

He boasted of the "sexual education" he had given her and lectured her on the benefits of orgasm: "Orgasm is good for you: it sharpens your thoughts, it widens your horizons, it helps your brain, makes it vivid and brilliant."