Born: 28 February 1912, Rome
Died: 28 April 1945, in front of the Villa Belmonte near Lake Como.
Cause of death: Executed by gunshot to the chest by a plumber named Moretti .
Notable because: Mistress of Mussolini, Clara Petacci was shot with him, killed while wearing no underwear, and later hung upside down in front of an Esso petrol station - photos of which became very widely circulated. In her case, standing by her man did not work out well - resulting in a fatal chest wound, being strung up upside down, and urinated on by an angry mob.
Clara Petacci was an upper class Roman who became Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's mistress. Her father had been the personal physician to the Pope. She was twenty-nine years younger than Mussolini.
Petacci was with Mussolini to the end. On 27 April 1945, when a convoy of escaping Italian Social Republic members, including Mussolini, was captured by Communist partisans, it is said that Petacci was offered the opportunity to go unmolested, but there is no solid evidence for this.
At ten minutes past four on the afternoon of April 28, 1945, a plumber named Moretti shot and killed Mussolini and Clara Petacci, who was not wearing any underwear, in front of the Villa Belmonte near Lake Como. Next to Moretti—who was later tried for theft and other misdeeds—was one Colonel Valerio, whose submachine gun had jammed while he was trying to shoot the defenseless couple.
Valerio left the assassinated couple’s corpses lying on the road, later to be dragged to Piazzale Loreto in Milan and hanged upside down from a petrol station’s roof girders. The cheering mob even had the courtesy to tie a rope to la Petacci’s skirt to hide her nakedness before a raging crowd were allowed to kick and urinate on the former leaders.
Many photographs show the bodies of Mussolini and Petacci hanging between four other bodies. Mussolini and Petacci are together in the middle with two bodies hanging to either side of the couple. However, this photograph taken from the rear shows three bodies hanging on Mussolini's side to the right of the couple as seen from the rear. This indicates that Mussolini and Petacci were hanged upside down with five others at the petrol station.
The sight of Claretta's female forms has been subject to more than political interest - the 33 years old woman looked attractive even when she was dead and degraded.