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The site of Mussolini's last stand on Lake Como

The site where Mussolini was shot in Mezzegra, Lago di Como
(Photo by Johnnyb11)

Just north of Lenno on Lake Como, in the town of Mezzegra, take a left at the main intersection in town (signposted for Mezzerba, Bonzango, Giulino, and Pola), then immediately take the left fork, which is Via 24 Maggio.

Two and a half blocks along, on the right, is the gated entrance to Villa Belmonte at no. 14, marked by two long-stemmed flowers in black-and-white pebble dashing decorating the sliver of driveway before the metal gate.

Here, a black cross marks the spot where Benito Mussolini was shot and killed (along with his lover Claretta Petacci) by partisans, marking the last stand—last cower, really—of the Fascist dictator's rule over Italy.

Actually, he wasn't really the ruler of Italy at the time. At this point in Mussolini's rapidly failing career Italy had already become an ally of the Allies, and Mussolini was merely the Nazi puppet ruler of the short-lived Republic of Salò, headquartered on nearby Lake Garda.

Why was he on Lake Como to begin with? The Swiss border is just on the other side of the mountains from Como's western shore. Mussolini was trying to escape into Switzerland—where he had lived (illegally) as a youth to escape (get this) Italian military service—when he was captured and killed.

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If you don't take a tour or have a rental car, the easiest way is by bus ( or by boat ( Buses are a little cheaper and more frequent, but Lake Como ferries are faster and way, way more scenic—especially since many of those amazing villas with their fabulous gardens are protected behind high walls on the landlubbing side—but from the water, you get a full-on view.

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