I’m very well aware of the fact that folks commonly point to Rome’s Victor Emmanuel Monument and mouth the words “Mussolini’s Typewriter” knowingly.
Hah! Funny. Try typing on that. But really, what piece of equipment did Mr. Mussolini use to communicate with? I saw it the other day. It was in the Museo della Stampa in Fivizzano. That’s the printing museum. It’s open…well, seldomly is a good word you don’t hear all that often (because, I suppose, it’s not a real word). In any case, there was a food festival going on called Sapori Fivizzano, so they opened the museum pretty much every day, like other museums.
Oddly, Mussolini’s Typewriter was sitting on a plastic crate inside a protective glass enclosure, as if the museum folks didn’t know exactly how much respect to give this particular object. I wouldn’t know how much respect you would want me to give the mouthpiece of Fascism either. Whatever respect or lack of respect I’d show would be criticized—it’s happened often enough before—that I think what we have here is a brilliant idea for display. For those folks unhappy with highlighting an object associated with Fascism, you could just say, “but it’s sitting on a goddam crate on the floor, fer pete sakes.” If someone thought the typewriter should be respected as a historic artifact and remembered “so it won’t happen again” you could point to the fact that it’s one of the few objects in the museum to get a protected glass enclosure. Everyone goes away happy, regardless of politics or prejudice. Or so the fairy tale goes.
Really, if you’re in or near Fivizzano you should visit the Museo della Stampa. Little Fivizzano has given birth to a lot of heroes in the quest for mechanical writing devices like the typewriter as well as the printing press. I’ll talk more about it later.
But now, wanna see a Fascist typeface in action? That’s it over there to the right. Put your mouse cursor over it, smack it a good one and it’ll get bigger. Notice the boldness of it, the weight. Weight is always the sign of something gone bad. Heavy jackboots, heavy type, SUVs…
See our Map of Fivizzano for the location of the museum. Yep, our map. Wandering Italy, where it all started, unless someone stole this page. Shame on them. It happens.