Here's What Really Happened To Benito Mussolini's Body

The day was April 25, 1945, and things weren't looking too good for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. The Allied Forces were charging up the Italian peninsula after him, so he was attempting to enter Switzerland with his mistress, Clara Petacci, some Germain soldiers, and a few supporters willing to follow the Fascist leader to the bitter end. According to the National WWII Museum, Mussolini's disguise as a German soldier wasn't good enough to cover his bad reputation, and some partisans identified him before he could cross the border. One of the downsides of leading a cult of personality is that it's hard to hide after plastering one's face all over the country for years.

Mussolini and Petacci were taken to the lakeside town of Giulino the following day and executed by firing squad. Now it was time for an oppressed people to get their reprisals. The bodies of the dictator and his mistress were then taken to Milan, where they were strung up by their feet outside a gas station in the city's Piazzale Loreto. Angry Italians desecrated the corpses, cussing them and spitting on them. One woman reportedly added five more bullets to the volley that had killed Mussolini, saying "For my five dead sons."

The weird fate of Mussolini's brain

Things didn't get much better for the strongman's lifeless body. According to, the man who put himself on a pedestal for a country to adore and fear was buried in the anonymity of an unmarked grave. Some Fascists came along and disinterred him a year later, absconding with it to a convent in the region of Lombardy, but the government was able to recover it and bury it at a Milan monastery. The dictator's wife had it moved to a family mausoleum in Predappio a year later.

Then about a decade after that, in 1966, she received a strange package from an American diplomat. It was an envelope containing part of her husband's brain. The Americans had somehow gotten a hold of it so that they could study the cerebral makeup of a murderous dictator. She rejoined the cerebral matter with its entombed body, and now 100,000 people visit Mussolini's grave each year. Then in 2009, Mussolini's granddaughter Alessandra filed a police report claiming that she had seen a listing for her good ole mass murderin' granddaddy's blood and brains on Ebay, according to the BBC. Who knows where more of Mussolini's remains will pop up next?