Tragic story of Mussolini's wife made into film

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A film is to be made about a woman whom Italy's fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, tried to airbrush out of history.

Ida Dalser and her son by Mussolini both died in mental institutions after she tried unsuccessfully to force the dictator to recognise their marriage and his son, also named Benito. "Not Even Nero or Caligula would have done what you have done," she once wrote to him.

The story has considerable current relevance because of efforts by the Italian right to rehabilitate the dictator and portray him as a good family man and an essentially harmless, if occasionally misguided, authoritarian...

Although it was known Mussolini had had a relationship with Ida Dalser before the first world war, the evidence for a marriage and the existence of their son was only brought to light in 2001 by a local historian in northern Italy...

In 1926, she was arrested and committed to a mental hospital. The rest of her life was a nightmare of escapes, re-arrests and attempts to trace her son, who had been adopted by the former Fascist police chief of Sopramonte. Ida Dalser died of a "brain haemorrhage" in 1937 at a Venetian institution. Her son died five years later, also in an institution, near Milan.

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