Abstract: The ''Mussolini Hometown Effect'' on Local Industrial Development: The Case of Forlì

Francesca Fauri


This paper will trace Forlì's long-term economic development, its transformation from an agricultural to an industrial community, and the alteration of its industrial development path due to its being the birthplace of ''il Duce.'' Forlì's aircraft industry, which could be described as having been ''artificially'' created at Mussolini's behest, did not survive the war, while its chemical industry, established and developed by Orsi Mangelli, managed to survive until the end of the 1960s. No trace of state-backed firms remains today except for the airport (albeit currently under compulsory liquidation), which, according to Mussolini's vision, was to form part of the Forlì aviation hub. The history of fascist intervention and rescue of banks and firms (either through nationalization or direct aid) throughout Italy in the interwar years is well known. Yet, I think the case of Forlì offers an original perspective: entrepreneurs who chose Mussolini's hometown to obtain special concessions, a novel element in the crowded panorama of special relationships between government and industry in Italy.