Far-Right Hate and Extremist Groups


GPAHE Editor’s Note: GPAHE’s country reports describe active far-right extremist and hate groups (including political parties that meet our criteria) to highlight the growing global threat of far-right extremism and the transnational nature of this movement. You can read more about how we classify far-right extremist groups and the purpose of these reports.

It is impossible not to use the word fascism when writing about the far-right landscape in Italy, both because of Italy’s history with fascism and because the term is frequently used in describing the political landscape today. While most experts agree that the foundations of fascism are authoritarian and nationalistic, there is debate about other basic characteristics, including the role of bigotry and the oppression of marginalized communities in its furtherance.

The modern Merriam-Webster definition is a “political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race (emphasis GPAHE) above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.” For the purposes of this report, it’s important to note that the term fascism appears frequently because Italian sources use it and because there is more acceptance that a current fascistic movement does not exist without bigoted and exclusionary rights-restricting views, which GPAHE’s work concentrates on exposing, and activities that can inspire violence. GPAHE considers all groups profiled here to be far-right extremist and a threat to safety and democracy. Additionally, GPAHE does not attempt to provide a full history of fascism in Italy or its role in the lead up and during World War II, and the impact of Benito Mussolini. Much fuller accounts on these subjects are available.


Italy has a long and complex history inevitably intertwined with the rise of fascism in the early 20th century through the end of World War II, the so-called “Ventennio”, or period of 20 years of Benito Mussolini’s rule through the Nationalist Fascist Party from 1922-1943. After the war, a republic was formed and the monarchy was forced to abdicate, largely because of its support, however shallow, of Mussolini. The legacy of fascism continues to influence today’s political landscape with traces of fascist ideology and rhetoric found in certain political movements and with many groups having direct historical roots in Mussolini’s party.

In recent years, Italy has experienced the rise of populist and far-right parties which have garnered support by exploiting public discontent and concerns over issues such as immigration, national identity, and economic inequality. This trend has been fortified by the increase of xenophobia in Italian political discourse that stemmed from various recent refugee crises. Italy’s position on the Mediterranean makes it a destination for refugees and migrants that try to reach Europe by boat from the Northern African coast. 

These far-right movements employ extreme and bigoted nationalist rhetoric, advocating for stricter immigration policies, echoing themes of the fascist era. These demands are often coupled with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, efforts to restrict abortion, which is legal in Italy to 90 days, but often difficult to obtain, oppression of the the Roma community, and, in some cases, euroscepticism, speech more than practice, through the framing of the frequently antisemitic “anti-globalism” rhetoric. Furthermore, the party leading the current governmental coalition, Fratelli d’Italia (FDI) (Brothers of Italy) is part of a political tradition that can be directly traced back to Mussolini’s fascist party. The rise of this party and its leader, Giorgia Meloni, has ushered in a normalization of extreme far-right movements in Italy in the same vein that other European and Western countries have experienced a rise in far-right extremism. Once controversial political figures have also undergone a political normalization through a historical reframing of the Italian anti-fascist heritage on which the Italian republic itself is founded.

Italy Unfriendly to LGBTQ+ Rights and Equality

Civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community are more limited in Italy compared to other western European countries. In fact, Italy ranks 24th out of 27 EU member countries, behind Hungary at number 20, according to the latest ILGA-Europe reporting on LGBTQ+ human rights. There is no marriage equality for non-heterosexual couples, just civil unions, no adoption rights, and no specific protections from hate crimes. In recent months, some cities have begun recognizing children of homosexual couples conceived through surrogacy abroad (surrogacy is illegal in Italy) or from a previous marriage, but have been stymied by the far-right Meloni government, which has ordered cities like Milan to stop registering children from such couples, as well as trying to approve a law that would make even surrogacy carried out abroad punishable in Italy.

Far-right groups and parties also often target civil rights laws such as the DDL Cirinna (the law that legalized civil unions for homosexual couples in 2016) and the DDL Zan (proposed legislation that would have penalized hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people and instituted a national day against homophobia, an extension to the Mancino law mentioned below). Some groups with stronger ties to Catholicism also contest the “legge 194”, the law that legalized abortion in Italy in 1978. 

Targeting Migrants and Refugees

The far-right extremist movements oppose easing the criteria for obtaining Italian citizenship, including recognizing birthright citizenship, and support violating international laws in order to stop the arrival of refugees fleeing to Italy. Of course, these efforts are not just about immigration policy, they also have the purpose of safeguarding what the far right conceptualizes as the “Italian race”. While the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory has always been a recurring topic in far-right Italian circles, it is now mainstream, being specifically mentioned in April 2023 by the agriculture minister of the current government, Francesco Lollobrigida. Lollobrigida said, “Italians are having fewer children, so we’re replacing them with someone else,” adding, “that’s not the way forward.” 

Similar to what has been seen in other countries, the extreme far-right in Italy has co-opted the COVID pandemic to recruit and organize, much of it online. COVID denialism has been coupled with antisemitism and other far-right ideologies. For example, in 2021, the heads of Forza Nuova, a neo-fascist party, hijacked an anti-vax rally into attacking a trade union’s HQ, causing violence, and prompting a proposed ban of the group.

Underground Movement

Just as in other countries, Italy has an underground extreme far-right movement that is increasingly committed to bringing about a total social and political breakdown through violence, also known as accelerationism. The movement is marked by antisemitism, white supremacy, and conspiracy theories like the racist “Great Replacement,” which has inspired mass violence and murders globally. In November 2022, five members of a white supremacist group calling themselves the Order of Hagal, promoting the occult, neo-Nazi, Holocaust denial, and anti-vax conspiracies were arrested in the province of Naples for “association for the purpose of terrorism.” Authorities believe the members were ready to take violent action against police and civilians, and intercepted communications that spoke of a massacre similar to that in Christchurch, N.Z., where 51 people were killed at mosques. The members also had multiple transnational connections, reportedly taking part in paramilitary training, including some overseas. Although unconfirmed, one member claimed to have met American Steve Bannon. In other cases, a 23-year-old who was allegedly a member of the neo-Nazi The Base was arrested on terrorism charges with the names of white supremacist mass murders painted on his shoes, and still another 22-year-old incel (involuntary celibate) inspired by the accelerationist neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division was arrested for terrorist association and incitement to commit racial crimes, among other charges. In 2019, police raided the homes of 19 individuals from across the country where they found Nazi flags, books on Hitler and Mussolini, and weapons. The individuals were reportedly forming a new Nazi party, calling themselves the Italian National Socialist Workers’ Party, and planned to form a transnational European alliance with other white supremacists. Much as seen in the U.S., where Republicans have refused to address the rise of far-right extremism and violence, in 2019, the Italian far-right parties of Fratelli d’Italia, Lega, and Forza Italia refused to support a parliamentary committee to combat hate and antisemitism when requested by a senator who was a Holocaust survivor and receiving around the clock protection because of the volume of hateful threats she received. Additionally, neo-Nazi groups like Hammerskins, Combat 18, Blood and Honour, and others have little organized presence and are very difficult to track, but have a hand in organizing events like hate music festivals. 

A Brief History of Fascism in Italy

Mussolini’s rise to power began in 1922 when his National Fascist Party (PNF) organized the March on Rome, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Luigi Facta. Faced with the threat of violence, King Victor Emmanuel III appointed Mussolini as the head of government. Mussolini gradually consolidated power, establishing a one-party state and suppressing political opposition through censorship, repression, and intimidation. The fascist regime aimed to create a centralized authoritarian state with a strong emphasis on nationalism, militarism, and corporatism, meaning economic control by the state. Mussolini implemented policies including the suppression of labor unions, establishment of state-controlled syndicates, and promoted imperialist ambitions, particularly in Africa.

Italy’s alliance with Nazi Germany during World War II melded its fascism with Nazi policies. The regime enacted antisemitic laws, the Racial Laws, and collaborated with the Nazis in the persecution and deportation of Jews leading to the deaths of thousands during the Holocaust. Italy’s military involvement in the war ended in July 1943 when Mussolini was ousted from power and arrested, and the PNF was outlawed.

In September 1943, Mussolini was freed by the German special forces and reinstated as the head of a Nazi-controlled puppet government in Northern Italy, the RSI (Repubblica Sociale Italiana, Italian Social Republic), sometimes called the Salò republic. He also founded the PFR (Partito Fascista Repubblicano, Republican Fascist Party). The following November, the new republican fascist forces met in Verona to promulgate a new fascist manifesto, the Verona Manifesto. 

In the two following years, anti-fascist and anti-Nazi resistance groups formed and opposed the occupying forces with guerilla tactics, eventually called the “Italian civil war.”  In reaction, German occupiers, with the help of still-active fascist militias, often engaged in retaliation on civilians. An example is the case of the Fosse Ardeatine massacre, in which 335 Italians, mostly civilians, were executed in retaliation for an attack on an SS group.

On April 25, 1945, the resistance forces, supported by the Allies, initiated a national insurrection in Northern Italy that seized power and dissolved the RSI. Two days later, Mussolini was captured and the following day, executed, bringing an end to the “civil war.” April 25th remains a national holiday celebrating the resistance and the liberation from Nazifascist forces.

After the Italians repudiated the King in a referendum, a new constitution was promulgated incorporating anti-fascist values, authored by the anti-fascist forces of all ideological backgrounds, from Christian democrats to Communists. The constitution ends with a special disposition which included a ban on any reconstitution of the dissolved Fascist party. The constitutional ban remains today through the Scelba law, legislation passed in 1952 that regulates the procedure to dissolve groups that appear to further the “anti-democratic aims of the fascist party,” and the Mancino law, which criminalizes hate speech that incites violence and discrimination on an ethnic, national or religious basis. However, the full application of such laws has always been problematic and arbitrary, given the strong freedom of expression protections in the Italian Constitution. It is difficult to condemn a group or individuals for such acts, and therefore, it usually comes down to the judges’ opinion of what can or cannot be punished. In practice, the dissolution of fascist groups has only been used for very dangerous and/or terrorist groups. 

Fascist Influence Continues

Despite that constitutional ban, from the ashes of the Republican Fascist party and the RSI armed forces, the MSI (Movimento Sociale Italiano) was formed in 1947. Ideologically neo-fascist (and allied with the monarchists after 1972), it was consistently the fourth biggest party in terms of vote share during the First Italian Republic. Its historical leader, Giorgio Almirante, had been chief of cabinet for the minister of culture in the RSI and had previously written for the fascist magazine, “La Difesa della Razza” (The Defence of Race). But it was only a part of a governing coalition once during the entire duration of the First Republic, historically dominated by the Christian Democrats. The Tambroni Government (sworn in on March 26, 1960), a Christian Democratic government with MSI support, was seen as dangerously authoritarian and was met with extensive protests and clashes with the police throughout Italy. The government ordered suppression of the protests resulting in the second Reggio Emilia massacre (the first in 1943 where seven brothers resisting fascist rule were killed) in which five striking union members were killed and dozens more injured by police.  The government lasted only four months. In response to the massacre, an Italian independent senator, Ferruccio Parri, proposed the legal dissolution of the party for unconstitutionality. 

During the Years of Lead (the Italian historical period from the late 1960s to the 1980s, characterized by political instability, terrorism, and extremism), various far-right extremist and/or terrorist organizations formed, mostly sparking from the MSI sphere, like Ordine Nuovo (New Order) (ON). First instituted as a right-wing research institute by the former MSI member Pino Rauti (father of Isabella Rauti, current FDI MP) in 1956, it later became a neo-fascist terrorist organization after Rauti left the group to return to the MSI in 1969. ON was dissolved by the Interior Minister in 1973 for violating the ban on the reconstitution of the Fascist party. Stemming from the same research institute was Avanguardia Nazionale, which formed in 1960 and was dissolved in 1976, after being allegedly involved in some of the most deadly terrorist attacks in Italian history and having been linked to the Borghese coup. This was a failed fascist coup carried out by Junio Valerio Borghese, a war hero to WWII fascists for his role as the leader of the X Mas, a special forces unit guilty of war crimes. In 1977, the NAR (Revolutionary Armed Nuclei), another far-right terrorist cell, was responsible for several murders as well as the worst terrorist attack in post-War Italian history, a bombing in a Bologna train station that killed 85 and injured more than 200. Massimo Morsello, referenced multiple times throughout this report, was condemned for subversive actions for being a member of the NAR.

Modern Far-Right Movements 

The MSI tried to introduce its original fascist ideals into the parliamentary system until 1995, when Gianfranco Fini reformed the party into Alleanza Nazionale (AN) (National Alliance). The party was rebranded and abandoned its nostalgic rhetoric to gain legitimacy as an apparently mainstream right-wing conservative movement in order to govern in the Second Italian Republic. This resulted in the inclusion of AN in various governments led by Silvio Berlusconi (Forza Italia; Popolo della Libertà) from 1994 to 2011. Berlusconi was Italy’s longest serving prime minister and was once described as the “man who screwed an entire country.” Berlusconi died in June 2023. 

The current Italian government led by Giorgia Meloni of FDI, or Brothers of Italy, was formed by a coalition of right-wing and far-right coalition parties, ranging from Forza Italia and Noi di Centro to the populist far-right Lega (The League) and the post-Fascist FDI (Brothers of Italy), a party with fascist roots that tries to moderate in order to take part in the democratic process. FDI can trace its roots to MSI: Alleanza Nazionale was absorbed by Berlusconi’s Popolo della Libertà (People of Freedom) party in 2009. In 2012, former AN members formed FDI. 

Many FDI members and senior leaders got their start as members of MSI or AN youth organizations, including the party co-founder and now PM Giorgia Meloni, who started her political career  in the Fronte della Gioventù (Youth Front, MSI youth movement) at 16 and was later elected head of the AN youth movement, Azione Giovani (Youth Action), in 2004. Next in her career was election to the national parliament in 2006. She became minister of youth in the fourth Berlusconi government in 2008. 

FDI never fully renounced the MSI tradition, incorporating the writing “MSI” in its symbol up to 2017 (and still retaining the iconic MSI flame symbol as of 2023). Furthermore, MSI figures are still often celebrated by FDI members. For example, in May 2023, FDI co-founder and current President of the Senate Ignazio La Russa honored neo-fascist and Mussolini ally, Giorgio Almirante, on the anniversary of his death. La Russa, an avid fascist memorabilia collector,  once wrote on Twitter but later deleted, “Do not shake hands with anyone, the infection is lethal. Use the Roman salute, anti-virus and anti-microbial.” Even though far-right leaders and parties are in government leadership roles and have recently taken up more extreme rhetoric and positions usually relegated to the fringes, many far-right extremist groups are also still active in Italy.

Italian Group Descriptions

Casaggi Firenze

Location:  Florence

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+

Casaggì Firenze is an organization that subscribes to Identitarian ideology, a white nationalist philosophy that argues against non-white immigrants in European countries and often alleges that the white supremacist “Great Replacement” conspiracy is occurring, and “globalists” or Jews are blamed for importing people of color into traditionally white countries. Casaggi Firenze is based in Florence and was founded by activists of the Allenza Nazionale youth movement Azioni Giovani (Youth Actions) in 2005. Among their current leaders is Marco Scatarzi, who also founded their publishing house, Passaggio al Bosco (Passage to the Woods). The group as a whole is essentially part of Gioventù Nazionale, the youth movement of the governing Italian far-right party Fratelli D’Italia, and they present themselves as a “metapolitical” association. They further their political cause through social gatherings and cultural events. While they are self-described as a “right wing social center,” a seemingly benign term, their now-private website touts that their history and education stem from fascist ideals and that the ideology itself  “is alive and will always be in the historical memory of this (sic) people.”

Cassagì’s publishing house sponsors a variety of fascist authors, including French neo-fascist Dominique Venner, Irish fascist leader Eoin O’Duffy, and American co-founder of the white nationalist movement Wolves of Vinland, Jack Donovan. It also includes “The Doctrine of Fascism,” written by Benito Mussolini and fascist philosopher Giovanni Gentile. Their social media presence is primarily on Facebook and Instagram, where they post tributes to fascist martyrs like Massimo Morsello, who was the co-founder of far-right political party Forza Nuova and previously convicted for his involvement in the terrorist group Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari (Armed Revolutionary Nuclei). On Instagram, Casaggì has posted anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric such as “no to gender ideology which is a call to remove anything related to the LGBTQ+ community from schools, and references to the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, such as one post advocating that it is imperative “to counter ethnic substitution, which is destroying the peoples of Europe.” 

In 2021, Casaggì organized events and protests that violated Italy’s lockdown rules, causing the Italian Democratic Party to denounce the events, saying that increased COVID infection rates are “a consequence of these irresponsible attitudes.” In February 2023, the group was reportedly involved in an incident with Azione Studentesca (Casaggì student movement affiliated with Fratelli d’Italia) where anti-fascist high school students in Florence were assaulted for interfering in Casaggì’s attempts to distribute leaflets. The mayor of Florence condemned the assaults as an “intolerable fascist attack.” Unsurprisingly, Fratelli d’Italia’s Florence chapter only condemned “every form of violence” and tried to distance themselves from the accusations. Casaggì is represented by Sonia Michelacci in the court proceedings, who is the author of several works on fascism and National Socialism. Michelacci has also spoken at meetings organized by the neo-Nazi organization Dodici Raggi (Do. Ra.).

Casaggì’s other public appearances demonstrate the group’s penchant for displaying fascist and neo-Nazi propaganda. The group engages in a myriad of non-violent forms of propagandizing, as they often create fliers for distribution and large banners for public display. In 2016, Casaggì protested against civil unions for gay couples, writing “No to DDL Cirinnà,”the bill to legalize civil unions, on a banner. In a 2017 protest of a proposed Ius Soli law, which would grant Italian citizenship to anyone born on Italian soil, and therefore the children of migrants, Casaggì wrote the Nazi slogan “Our nation is blood and soil! No ius soli” on a banner. In 2019, a flier made by Azione Studentesca (Student Action) declared a “fight against ethnic classes” in order to limit “the maximum number of foreigners in every school class [to] 10%.” Following criticism, the student group stated they merely wanted to “open a debate on the issue of the number of foreigners present in a class.” Azione Studentesca also distributed a number of anti-LGBTQ+ fliers and banners, including a flier against “LGBTQ dictatorship” in 2021 and a banner protesting gender-neutral bathrooms in a school with the text “Males and females. Full stop!” On Liberation Day in 2022, over 100 Cassagi militants held a memorial at the Trespiano shrine to pay homage to fascist Italian soldiers who fought during World War II. In fact, Casaggì organizes rallies yearly to celebrate soldiers of the Italian Social Republic, the failed fascist puppet-state created in World War II. 

Casaggì’s headquarters in Florence is home to a number of events and small concerts. They’ve hosted artists such as Federico Goglio, otherwise known as Skoll, who has been accused of apology to fascism alongside several members of Forza Nuova and CasaPound. In 2021, Casaggì hosted a conference supporting the Russian occupation of Donbass, a region in eastern Ukraine. The following year, the group hosted an event with the Institut Iliad, a French far-right think tank that had previously organized events with proponents of the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. Like many other neo-fascist groups in Italy, Casaggì took part in the neo-Nazi music festival Fortress Fest in Verona.

CasaPound Italia (House Pound Italy)

Location: Rome

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Roma

CasaPound Italia, or CPItalia (CPI), is a neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBTQ+ political party founded in 2003 and currently led by Gianluca Iannone. The name is derived from the words “casa,” meaning “house,” and “Pound,” after the American poet Ezra Pound, an unrepentant fascist and antisemite who collaborated with Italy during World War II. The group’s previous leader, Simone di Stefano, resigned in 2022 to form the anti-vax, political party eXit. The creation of CasaPound can be traced back to Iannone’s neo-fascist, punk-rock band, ZetaZeroAlfa, and their subsequent illegal occupation of a vacant government building in Rome in 2003, from which they were finally evicted in January 2019. CasaPound also has a youth movement called Blocco Studentesco (Student Block). CasaPound originally attempted to join the Fiamma Tricolore party, which is a successor to the Italian Socialist Movement (MSI), but was expelled after occupying Fiamma’s head offices in 2008. This served as the impetus for CasaPound’s trajectory into politics beginning in 2011 and reorganizing in 2013, when they ran in a number of local and national elections with little success. After a decade of unsuccessful political campaigning, Iannone announced in 2019 that CPI will stop standing in elections but remain a political movement. They attempt to spread their message through their online radio program Radio Bandiera Nera, a news magazine, Il Primato Nationale, and a publishing house, Altaforte. 

While supportive of Italy’s fascist past, CasaPound self-identifies as a “third millennium fascist” populist group, or a modern approach to Italy’s history with fascism. Their media presence corroborates this identification, as they make posts promoting their fascist beliefs along with anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-immigrant sentiment. CasaPound is clear in its support of racist and neo-fascist beliefs, and despite their attempts to publicly present themselves as a legitimate organization doing charity work, they are open about their hateful fascist beliefs. On Twitter, when advertising a nationalist rally, they posted “sangue e suolo,” which is Italian for the Nazi slogan “Blood and Soil,” a reference that makes clear the group does not want to have Italian culture “overtaken” by immigrants. Iannone’s band previously used another fascist slogan in their song titled “nel dubbio mena” (“when in doubt, punch”). Consistent with their support of fascism, CasaPound expressed full support for the positions of Lega leader Matteo Salvini and had Andrea Bonazza, a municipal councilor and member of CasaPound, declare his open support for fascism in 2015, saying “I’m a fascist, why not? There is nothing wrong with that.” In July 2021, CasaPound paid homage to the X MAS division, an Italian Navy regiment during World War II that was accused of war crimes and whose leader, Junio Valerio Borghese, attempted a fascist coup in Italy in 1970. 

CasaPound’s publishing house, Altaforte, owned by Francesco Polacchi, has connections with other neo-fascist publishing houses like Casaggì Passaggio al bosco and AGA Edizioni, the latter of which is owned by former convicted fascist terrorist Maurizio Murelli, a figure strongly connected to Putin’s ally and far-right ideologue Alexander Dugin. Altaforte’s alignment with fascism has landed them in trouble on numerous occasions, as publishing houses have forced them to pull out of events due to their hateful beliefs. For example, Altaforte was expelled from the nationally-renowned Turin Book Fair in May 2019 after a Holocaust survivor, who was scheduled to speak at the fair, protested Altafore’s presence. 

CasaPound’s official Twitter account has posted anti-immigration rhetoric such as “Defend Borders,” which is a slogan they used to support a campaign targeting Algerian migrants. Their Twitter account was suspended in March 2023 for incitement of hatred, a violation of Twitter rules. As of mid-2023, the account remains suspended. On their official YouTube channel, CasaPound publishes videos that demonstrate their stance “against illegal immigration,” goals to defend their “sacred borders,” and opposition to Italy’s proposed “ius soli” law, which would have guaranteed birthright citizenship. On the International Day of Indigenous Peoples in August 2022, a United Nations-designated day to recognize the historic and continued violations against Indigenous peoples worldwide, CasaPound published an article on their website discussing the need to “preserve a relative ethnic and cultural homogeneity” while advertising banners saying “Let’s save the indigenous peoples of Europe.” On May 17th, 2023, CasaPound’s official Telegram channel posted anti-immigrant banners saying “Rapes and violence known origin” and “Rapes and immigration only regression” referencing their false belief that immigrants are violent rapists. Accompanying these banners was a statement saying that Rome is “oppressed by the excessive presence of immigrants” who are “endangering all citizens, who are no longer free and safe even to go home in the evening.”

CasaPound has posted anti-LGBTQ+ messages on both their YouTube and Telegram channels. On YouTube, they published a video protesting the projection of rainbows in the main square of Syracuse. In November 2022, they uploaded a poster on Telegram saying “women are just supermarkets for kids for the LGBTQ world” to protest a gender studies meeting at the University of Trento. On May 5th, 2023, Casapound advertised an event run by Blocco Studentesco on their Telegram channel to discuss “LGBT rights and transfeminism that hates women.” 

CasaPound’s extremist beliefs manifest in outright hate and acts of violence. In 2019, the Bolzano hockey club wanted to pursue charges against former CasaPound member Andrea Bonazza for comparing the club’s foundation in 1933 with Hitler’s rise to power. In April 2019, Francesco Chiricozzi, a city councilor of a minor town who was a CasaPound candidate, was arrested for taking part in a gang rape in a CPI-affiliated pub in the province of Viterbo. In response, Iannone announced that Chiricozzi was expelled from the party and would resign as councilor. Chiricozzi was subsequently sentenced in 2021 to three years in prison for his heinous crime. One month later, former CasaPound leader Mauro Antonini led a mob in a Roman neighborhood to protest the assignment of popular housing to people with a Romani background, which led to verbal confrontations with teenagers. While dozens performed fascist salutes, the crowd chanted “those b******* must burn” and “they must die of hunger.” In May 2019, a Romani family had to have escorts in and out of their residence because a mob led by CasaPound screamed rape and murder threats at them. In December 2022, 13 CasaPound members were banned from all sporting events for their brutal assault of Moroccan fans in Verona celebrating their country’s achievements in the 2022 World Cup. Just one month later, swastikas, fasces, and racist slogans appeared in Bolzano. The city as of mid-2023 is pursuing legal action. The graffiti was signed by Bolzano hockey hooligans. This hooligans group features among its members Andrea Bonazza, a local CasaPound leader and once member of the Bolzano city council. He is known for having shown appreciation for Hitler and Mussolini on a radio show after his election. Bonazza also presented himself in Bolzano city council wearing a shirt depicting the Charlemagne division of the Waffen SS, a French Nazi volunteer corps known for being the last to defend Hitler’s bunker towards the end of World War II.

Despite no longer running candidates for office, CasaPound remains active in Italy’s politics, strongly allying with Matteo Salvini’s far-right Lega Party. In the 2014 European parliamentary elections, the group helped to elect Lega candidate Mario Borghezio. In 2015, CasaPound and Lega combined forces to hold a protest against the government, attended by Salvini. In fact, Salvini’s support for CasaPound can also be seen when he published photos of himself wearing Pivert clothing, which is CasaPound’s clothing brand. Support is often reciprocated by CasaPound, as Altaforte published a book-interview with Salvini. CasaPound members were listed as Lega candidates in both the 2021 Rome municipal elections and the 2023 Lazio regional elections. 

CasaPound maintains relationships with Italian political parties such as Italexit, a eurosceptic party founded by Gianluigi Paragone, who was expelled from M5S for voting against party interests in January 2020. The online newspaper Fanpage claims the bridge between the two parties was formed by Fiumicino Senator and Lega member William De Vecchis. In Italexit’s electoral lists, a number of individuals associated with CasaPound can be found, including Carlotta Chiaraluce (Lazio) and Massimo Cristiano (Calabria). During a local election run-off in Lucca in June 2022, the center-right coalition allied with CasaPound, leading to Democratic Party member and former Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Laura Boldrini decrying the alliance as “coming to terms with the ‘fascists of the new millennium’” and a “disturbing choice.” Following the election, which the center-right won, Fabio Barsanti, a former CasaPound city councilor, became secretary of sport in the Lucca City Council. Some ramifications of this election included the city of Lucca endorsing a CasaPound event and, in December 2022, removing the requirement to proclaim oneself as anti-fascist in order to secure public spaces and funds for events. As another example, in the May 2023 municipal election, CasaPound supported a candidate together with mainstream right-wing parties. A politician from the list was asked to make the Nazi salute to show his allegiance, which he promptly did at a rally.

CasaPound has also maintained close relationships with other neo-Nazi groups. In the early 2010s, CasaPound forged an alliance with Golden Dawn, the now-banned Greek neo-Nazi party, determined by the courts to be a criminal organization. CasaPound held a meeting which resulted in the potential alliance of the two parties in November 2013, which two senior members of Golden Dawn attended, including former MP Apostolos Gklestos. In 2015, Iannone and other CPI members met with Golden Dawn members in Athens in order to deliver “humanitarian aid” in the “For Greece, With Greece” campaign.

Dodici Raggi/ Do. Ra. (Twelve Rays)

Location:  Varese

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+

Dodici Raggi, or  Do. Ra., a militant neo-Nazi organization founded in 2012 from the union of the Ultras 7 Laghi and Varese Skinhead group, seeks to facilitate the “rebirth of the natural order” through open support for fascism and National Socialism. They are currently led by Alessandro Limido and are supported by the former leader of the neo-Nazi group Manipolo D’Avanguardia Bergamo (MAB), Enrico Labanca. The name Dodici Raggi is based on the “Black Sun,” a Nazi symbol consisting of twelve rays emanating from a black circle depicted in Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler’s redesign of Wewelsburg Castle. Fascist and Nazi influence are evident in the group’s Telegram group, which is rife with antisemitism and justifies fascism due to capitalism and communism existing “in the shadow of the Star of David.” Do. Ra. idolizes Benito Mussoloni and performs pagan rituals associated with Nazism. They have celebrated the anniversary of Mussolini’s fascist organization “Italian Fasces of Combat,” co-opted his slogan “a noi!” (“to us!”) and protested the release of an anti-Mussolini book. Unsurprising given their inspiration from Himmler, Do. Ra. gathers for pagan rites such as swastika burning rituals to celebrate the summer solstice and regularly gathers to place ritualistic runes on the graves of Nazi officers. 

Since their inception, Do. Ra. has spread fascist ideas and targets those who oppose their hateful beliefs. On their website, Do. Ra.’s seemingly environmentally motivated “Defend the Earth” project is actually a veiled antisemitic piece by Labanca discussing the “Aryan man’s” role as the “antithesis of the Jew.” They also have their own sports association and publishing house, the latter of which shares a myriad of fascist and Nazi literature and music. Works by Arnaldo Mussolini and antisemitic writer Gino Sottochiesa are all posted in the “Popular Library” section. Starting in 2013, Do. Ra organized concerts to commemorate Hitler’s birthday alongside rock bands known for promoting white supremacist ideology and anti-immigrant sentiment. In 2015, they organized an anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-immigrant rally where they distributed leaflets telling LGBTQ+ people that “natural law condemns you to extinction.”

In recent years, Do. Ra. has escalated the nature of their gatherings and organization to the point where law enforcement was forced to intervene. In 2017, police seized a number of weapons, swastikas, and neo-Nazi propaganda at their headquarters. Limido himself was sentenced to four months in prison in 2019 for an altercation with a senior police officer where he called the police, and the deputy commissioner “pieces of shit,” during an antisemitic demonstration. The same year, Limido and Do. Ra. member Maurizio Moro were sentenced to three months in prison for organizing an illegal demonstration celebrating Nazi ideology with banners and torches at the top of Mount San Martino, a place dedicated to the memory of Italian anti-fascist resistance. Members of Do. Ra. were denounced and charged in 2021 for supporting fascism, illegally demonstrating, and violent actions during an anti-vaccine riot. With the group coming to the attention of the Italian media and government, Do. Ra. targeted journalist Paolo Berizzi in early 2022. They give him an “invitation” to confront Do. Ra. members in Varese and publicly announced their intention to “respond without delay” to the media’s “lies and slander.” Their harassment posed such a threat that Berizzi became the first journalist in Europe to live under guard. On April 25, 2023, Limido and his followers disrupted a Liberation Day commemoration in Azzate (near Milan) by clashing with anti-fascists, singing the pro-Mussolini song “A noi la morte non ci fa paura” (“Death does not scare us”) and chanting fascist slogans.

Do. Ra. has been active politically; they ran a petition in 2017 to outlaw the National Association of Italian Partisans (ANPI), an organization dedicated to preserving the memory of resistance against fascism during World War II. In this petition, Do. Ra. explicitly asked “that the ANPI be closed” and that everyone still alive in the organization be “tried for war crimes.’ The ANPI has been a vocal critic of Do. Ra., labeling them as purveyors of “systematic violence, intimidation, [and] threats.” Two years later, 52 Do. Ra. members attempted to re-constitute Italy’s Fascist Party, but Limido claimed that they did “not have the numbers to do it.” 

Fortezza Europa (Fortress Europe)

Location:  Verona

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+

Fortezza Europa (Fortress Europe) is a neo-Nazi organization based in Verona. Their name is based on a Nazi term for a German-dominated Europe. They currently operate solely in Verona, a city well-known for the presence of far-right extremists. Its reported leader, Yari Chiavenato, left the far-right Italian party Forza Nuova with some followers in 2017 in order to form the group. The leadership also includes Emanuele Tesauro and Allesandro Cavallini. Andrea Bacciga, who is a Verona City Council member and member of Matteo Salvini’s Lega Party, is also linked with the group, having previously spoken at events organized by Fortezza Europa. The group and some of its leaders have social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram. On Facebook, Fortezza Europa and Tesauro frequently post anti-refugee messages warning their followers about the “costs or the possible consequences” of accepting more asylum seekers into the city followed by the racist slogan “Refugees, all home!” They’ve also called for refugees to be relocated to council members’ homes, assuming that the presence of refugees would ruin the suburban neighborhoods in which the politicians reside. Tesauro also spews the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, saying “Our biggest worry is the immigrational [sic] deluge with which somebody is trying to ethnically substitute Europeans.”

Fortezza Europa advertises events and posts tributes to Italian fascists such as Massimo Morsello, who was one of the founders of Forza Nuova, saying “In his name we fight!” Fortezza Europa’s leaders promote fascist, misogynist, and racist beliefs. Yari Chiavenato has a history of involvement with neo-Nazi and neo-fascist organizations, as he joined the Veronese Skinheads at age 17 before entering politics. He was part of the neo-fascist party Fiamma Tricolore and then joined Forza Nuova after leaving the skinheads. Chiavenato was arrested in 1996 for displaying a mannequin of a Black person being hanged during a soccer match. He was subsequently acquitted, however judges presiding the case noted “a climate of silence” meant witnesses around Chiavenato belonged to the “Ultras”, traditionally known to be far-right hooligans, who would “have certainly facilitated the commission of the crime.” Chiavenato was arrested in January 2003 along with 22 other Forza Nuova members for assaulting controversial Italian-Muslim television personality Adel Smith. In 2008, Chiavenato was sentenced to two years and two months for the assault but received a pardon. Bacciga, during his time as a city council member, openly performed the Nazi salute during a 2018 meeting, which is illegal under Italian law.

The next year, Bacciga was involved in defacing wagons at the Bacanal del Gnoco carnival in Verona with racist slogans such as “stop immigration.” He also dressed up as a handmaiden from the TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale” as a counter-protest to feminist groups organizing against anti-abortion laws. These actions led the Verona chapter of transnational feminist and anti-fascist movement Non Una di Meno to denounce Bacciga along with calls for his resignation from the city council. He also once donated a book written by a Belgian SS leader, Leon Degrelle, to the Verona city library.

While Fortezza Europa has not been involved in criminality as an organization, they’ve organized local events and placed anti-refugee and racist posters advertising the group around Verona. In 2022, they attended a festival, “Fortress Fest,” organized alongside the racist skinhead organization Hammerskins, which included the participation of far-right and neo-Nazi groups such as CasaPound, Forza Nuova, the Veneto Fronte Skinheads, and the Casaggì founded publishing house, Passaggio al bosco. It was here members of the group posed with a banner of the Fortezza Europa logo with the text “White Lives Matter,” a slogan created by American white supremacists in reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is now the name of an American-based white supremacist network. They have advertised another music and cultural festival featuring groups from Italy, Spain, and Finland to be held in July 2023, in Verona.

Forza Nuova (New Force) Lotta Studentesca (Student Struggle)

Location:  Rome*, Bari, Catana, Lombardy, Sicilia, Veneto, Verona

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+

Forza Nuova (“New Force”) is a neo-fascist political party that pushes white nationalism and rails against immigrants and LGBTQ+ people. They are one of the most organized groups in the Italian far right. The movement is led by Roberto Fiore, who is also the chair of the far-right Alliance for Peace and Freedom (AFP) European Parliament party, and is based out of Rome with chapters all over the country, and a youth movement called Lotta Studentesca (Student Struggle). Their organizational hierarchy consists of spokesperson Giuseppe Provenzale, Verona Chapter leader Luca Castellini, Rome Chapter leader Guiliano Castellino, Bari Chapter leader Roberto Falco, and Catania Chapter leader Giuseppe Bonanno Conti. Forza Nuova’s website describes the party as one that “aims to lay foundations for a real and decisive reconstruction of law, stability and justice in our country, thus strengthening its weakened fiber and guaranteeing the future of our people” by repealing abortion laws, facilitating “family and demographic growth,” “stopping immigration,” “banning Freemasonry and Secret Sects,” “eradicating usury,” reinstating the 1929 Church-State concordat, repealing the Mancino and Scelba liberticidal laws laws that destroy liberty by restricting citizen speech and actions, and acting to form “Corporations for the Defense of Workers.”

Posts previously published on the website include pro-fascist messages like “Mussolini per mille anni” (“Mussolini for a thousand years”), “Viva il fascismo. Benito Mussolini presente” (“Long live fascism. Benito Mussolini is present”) and vile racist rhetoric like “Rapeugees (sic) not welcome.” The party also holds that Italian women should give birth to more children, citing the need for more Italians instead of immigrants, rhetoric which aligns with theGreat Replacement” conspiracy theory. Forza Nuova and its hierarchy are all active on Twitter and the Russian social media network VK. On Twitter, party leaders like Castellini focus on rejecting “globalism,” an antisemitic term tied closely to the “Great Replacement” conspiracy and the Great Reset conspiracy theories, along with targeting LGBTQ+ inclusive policies at universities. In one tweet, Castellini claimed the University of Verona is hostage to “gender globalism” and calls for an end to “LGBQIA+ (sic) propaganda at the University.” 

Lotta Studentesca echoes similar anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, targeting transgender-inclusive policies in schools as “confusing the young.” They’re also overt in their fascist principles, posting messages like “YOU WILL NEVER GET FREE OF US” on Liberation Day, a holiday meant to celebrate Italy’s liberation from fascism after the fall of Mussolini. The party’s YouTube channel, while not active since 2021, has posted videos against the usage of masks during the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-immigrant videos with messages to “say enough to immigration and degradation.” Similarly, in a now-deleted Facebook post from 2016, Forza Nuova celebrated the murder of a Nigerian boy at the hands of a fascist, claiming that the horrible act merely resulted in “the typical end of a worm.” Due to their anti-immigrant campaigns that violated Facebook’s community standards, Forza Nuova’s Facebook account was shut down in 2019 when Facebook took action against it for violating their policies. Roberto Fiore responded with claims that Forza Nuova will organize more street protests. 

The party challenged Facebook about their deplatforming, but lost the case since hate speech is not protected by the right to freedom of expression. In fact, Facebook was “required to take action against hate speech on its platform.” 

Forza Nuova’s uses social media activity to propagandize their real-world organizing and acts of violence. In September 2017, Castellino along with three Forza Nuova militants were arrested for their involvement in injuring two traffic wardens and a police officer while protesting the eviction of an illegally-occupied apartment poised to be assigned to an Eritrean citizen. The Forza Nuova YouTube page featured footage of the protest. Only a few months later, in December 2017, party militants wearing face masks threw smoke bombs inside the headquarters and at employees of Italian newspaper Repubblica while holding a sign that said “Boycott Repubblica and L’Espresso” because the paper was writing articles documenting Forza Nuova’s fascist activity. 

These violent acts resulted in the arrest of one Forza Nuova militant. In August 2018, four members of Forza Nuova were identified for raiding the Democratic Party’s headquarters. The militants shouted “we are fascists” and “we are in charge” and wielded bats and knives engraved with Nazi imagery, such as the swastika, and fascist slogans like “boia chi molla,” meaning “those who give up are traitors,” and “DUX MUSSOLINI,” which is Latin for “leader Mussolini.” In January 2019, Castellino was arrested for attacking and robbing journalist Federico Marconi and photographer Paolo Marchetti, who were documenting a far-right rally dedicated to commemorating the deaths of MSI Youth Front members. Castellino was sentenced to five years and six months in prison in 2020. He was also given a lifetime ban on holding public office. 

In March 2019, Forza Nuova militants harassed a high school teacher who was hosting six migrants, and placed posters on the high school saying “Immigration is not strength, but only business.” Only a few months later, in August, the son of Guiliano Castellino’s partner, Fabio Corradetti, received a suspended sentence of one year in prison for assaulting a soldier of the Carabinieri, an Italian law enforcement agency. Leading up to the sentencing, members of Forza Nuova made their presence known at the courts by making threats and flaunting fascist symbols. Keeping in line with the theme of fascist violence, Italian police foiled a plan by Forza Nuova militants to throw a molotov cocktail at the National Association of Italian Partisans (ANPI), an organization dedicated to the preservation of anti-fascist efforts towards the end of World War II. 

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred Forza Nuova into a flurry of anti-democratic and racist demonstrations. In February 2020, militants harassed Chinese shop-owners by leaving leaflets on their shop windows saying “Buying Italian is a moral duty.” At a fascist anti-government rally in Rome in June 2020, organized by Forza Nuova, and attended by Roberto Fiore and Guiliano Castellino and militants doing the Roman salute, over one hundred rioters belonging to Forza Nuova and CasaPound ended up throwing stones, firecrackers, and bottles while attacking journalists, cameramen, and law enforcement. The next year, in October 2021, 12 Forza Nuova militants, including Fiore and Castellino, were arrested for their role in violence at a rally consisting of over 10,000 people protesting the “Green Pass” program, which required employees in Italy to show proof of vaccination and evidence of a negative COVID test. 

Following the violence, Italian police blocked Forza Nuova’s website from public viewership. The website eventually went back up, and as of publication, remains live. In January 2022, Forza Nuova held a funeral for a 44-year-old former militant and draped the casket in a swastika flag while doing the Roman salute. The Catholic Church in Rome strongly condemned the event, especially since it was conducted outside a local Roman church.

Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy)

Location:  Rome*, throughout Italy

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Muslim

Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) (FDI) is a far-right political party led by current Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. The name Fratelli d’Italia comes from the Italian national anthem. As of this writing, FDI is the most popular party in the country and currently leads the government of Italy. The predecessor of the FDI, the Alleanza Nazionale, was previously in power during the early 2000s as a junior partner in the “center-right coalition” led by Forza Italia’s Silvio Berlusconi. The FDI has a direct evolutionary line to Mussolini’s Partito Nazionale Fascista (1921–1943), which later emerged as the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI) (1945-1995). More recently, the party was reconstituted as the Alleanza Nazionale (AN) (1995-2009), which was dissolved in 2009, leading its members to join Berlusconi’s party the Il Popolo della Libertà (PdL) [The People of Freedom]. 

In 2012, the ex-Alleanza Nazionale (AN) faction of the PdL split from the party over differences with Berlusconi and formed the Brothers of Italy. Much of the subsequent mainstreaming of the AN and FDI can be directly attributed to Silvio Berlusconi as a result of this merger. Berlusconi invited the AN to form a government in every coalition from 2000-2008 and also participated in right-wing coalitions with the Brothers of Italy. For most of the 2010s, the FDI received few votes, with the exception of Marco Marsilio, who became the party’s first regional president in 2019. During the coronavirus pandemic, FDI was the only party not to join Mario Draghi’s national unity government, preferring to stay outside and criticize the government for its pandemic efforts, among other things, a strategy which served them well in the long-run. 

The FDI reversed its original position to vaccinations to oppose the green pass and vaccine passport measures during the pandemic in order to recruit and gain a considerable following from anti-vaxxers. FDI called it an example of an “Orwellian” and “totalitarian regime.” Their polling numbers quickly rose as the sole opposition party to the government leading them to win the next national election in 2022. While the successors of the MSI have moderated relative to their fascist ancestors, the FDI holds a position on the far-right fringe of the party system that espouses white supremacist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBTQ+ views. The FDI has the party slogans “Italy First and Italians First,” and “God, Fatherland and Family,” the latter a callback to the Mussolini regime, and seeks to “defend our Christian identity from the process of Islamization.” 

While today, it may be a far-right party, due to its history, the FDI has an ambiguous relationship with fascist groups. Investigations by Fanpage.It reported that a secretive “Black Lobby,” with ties to Lega and FDI politicians, has been working to influence the party from the outside, providing money in exchange for favors. The group allegedly holds an “admiration for fascism” according to the reporting, and the “Black Baron,” Roberto Jonghi Lavarini, leader of the group, is an unapologetic supporter of the Mussolini regime. His Fare Fronte (Face and Resist) movement merged with Meloni’s FDI prior to the 2018 elections. Other members are supporters of the Nazi regime. MEPs Carlo Fidanza, Roberto Jonghi Lavarini, and candidate Chiara Valcepina were all implicated in the “Lobby Nera” investigation, where members of the party were filmed making explicitly racist, fascist, and sexist jokes, and making Roman salutes. European Parliament member Carlo Fidanza has made comments praising Adolf Hitler and antisemitism. 

He also regularly attends CPAC: last March he published a video at CPAC in which he reiterated his support for the “Big Lie,” the idea that Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election due to vote manipulation. More reporting has shown that the FDI have created targeted election ads on Facebook for those “interested in fascism”, aimed at catching those who are nostalgic for Mussolini. Meloni insists that the party is not a fascist one, and FDI MPs and members have aggressively responded when academics and journalists have declared them fascist, however, many of its members support far-right and authoritarian views and argue, to the contrary, that they should be “free” to say that “I am a fascist.” Within their ranks, Minister for Business and Made in Italy Adolfo Urso, was part of the MSI Youth group in the 1970s, and was subsequently employed by “Il Secolo D’Italia,” the MSI party newspaper. Urso has now established himself as one of the primary links between the FDI and Republicans based in the United States. His foundation, “Farefuturo,” often hosts James Carefano, a Heritage Foundation analyst, and consistently collaborates with the International Republican Institute.

At the local level, candidates, such as the municipal councilor Nicola Franco, blur this line by flaunting their fascist bonafides. Franco showed off his personal library with texts that glorify the fascist and Nazi periods of history. Busts of Mussolini have been found at the Brothers of Italy headquarters, and members have celebrated the fascist dictator. In a similar way, Meloni retains symbolic elements of fascism, such as the tri-color flame, previously used by the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI), which was not the original logo of the party, and reintroduced it in subsequent party logos to mainstream it back into Italian politics (see below).

Meloni has also nominated Mussolini descendants as candidates in a likely move to claim the “nostalgia vote.” Caio Giulio Cesare Mussolini, the great-grandson of Benito Mussolini, ran a campaign for the EU parliament and identified as “a post-fascist who refers to those values in a non-ideological way.” Even Meloni, in her earlier years, expressed sympathy for Mussolini. At age 19 she stated, “I think that Mussolini was a good politician, in other words, what he did for Italy, we don’t find that in the politicians that we’ve had for the past 50 years.” Last September, former MEP and brother of the FDI President of the Senate Romano La Russa made a Roman salute at the funeral of his brother-in-law. For the first time, in 2022, government officials did not take part in the ceremony for the anniversary of the Strage di Piazza Fontana (Piazza Fontana bombing), an event when the neo-fascist group Ordine Nuovo (New Order) carried out a terrorist attack on the Banca Nazionale dell’Agricoltura in Milan in 1969.

The party is strongly anti-immigrant, and migrants from North Africa and the NGOs that aim to prevent them from drowning during their sea journeys are a common scapegoat for Meloni. This is made clear in the party’s platform: “Security is the basis of social coexistence and guarantees development and well-being. Between old and new forms of crime, Italy is increasingly insecure. Illegal immigration threatens the safety and quality of life of citizens. Our cities are degraded and unlivable. Suburbs and historic centers are the scene of illegal occupations, violence and drug dealing. 

A strong political change is needed to guarantee legality within our borders, redevelop our territories and strengthen the national social and economic fabric.” The party has also proposed for some time to solve the issue of migrants arriving by sea by establishing a military naval blockade in the Mediterranean, a measure that would violate international treaties on the rights of refugees. Meloni and her party have made comments that refer to a planned “invasion” and demographic substitution (a version of white supremacist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory) of the ‘native’ Italian population. In 2017, Meloni stated that left-wing governments sought to “finance the invasion to replace Italians with immigrants and gift citizenship through ius soli (birthright citizenship),” while more recently FDI MP Francesco Lollobrigida said the following in a speech, “Italians are having fewer children, so we’re replacing them with someone else. Yes to helping births, no to ethnic replacement. That’s not the way forward.”

FDI is also hostile to abortion rights and LGBTQ+ rights in Italy. In Abruzzo, governed by the FDI, the party unsuccessfully supported the passage of a law that would require a burial for all aborted fetuses, even if it went against the wishes of the woman. Meloni denies that LGBTQ+ people are discriminated against in Italy, but her government opposed a law, dubbed the “Zan bill,” to make bigoted attacks against women, the LGBTQ+ community, and those with disabilities illegal as hate crimes. FDI and Lega organized alongside the Vatican to block the law in 2021 on behalf of “religious freedom.” FDI considers LGBTQ+ rights to be “gender ideology,” and Meloni argues that among its flaws, is its “true goal” of “the disappearance of the woman and above all the end of motherhood.” Meloni has attended the conferences organized by the American-based anti-LGBTQ+ World Congress of Families and is close to their organization. Meloni is opposed to same-sex couples adopting and argues that “the right state must try to reserve the adoption for a man and a woman.” 

Meloni and FDI frequently lash out at civil society groups, protesters, and government institutions in ways that divide society and degrade democracy. In February 2023, members of Azione Studentsca, a group with close ties to Casaggi and National Youth, attacked a group of students at a high school in Florence, and the FDI remained silent about the attack. 

Meloni has extensive transnational ties and has appeared at the American Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and was invited by Republicans to the National Prayer Breakfast. She also joined the mainstream Aspen Institute, all in 2020. She and the American far-right proponent and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon were once filmed strategizing together as far back as 2018. Bannon said of her then: “You put a reasonable face on right-wing populism, you get elected.” Meloni has also said about her ties to American politics, “The U.S. is of course a point of reference for our alliances, and I have a good relationship with the Republican Party. Republicans are also among the parties that are registered to the European Conservatives. We have networks connecting us, our think tanks work with the International Republican Institute, with the Heritage Foundation, we do cultural exchanges, and many of their fights are about things we have talked about.” 

Lealtà Azione (Loyalty Action) FEDErAZIONE (Lealtà Azione subgroup)

Lealta Azione Locations:  Milan*, Florence, Genoa, Legnano, Lodi, South Milan, Monza, Turin

FEDErAZIONE Locations:  Bari, Caltanissetta, Catania, Catanzaro, Fiumicino, Florence, Forlì, Genoa, Lecco, Legnano, Lodi, Melissano, Milan, South Milan, Monza, Mosciano Palermo, Pescara, Rome, Sant’Angelo, Sava, Taranto, Turin, Vicenza, Vittorio

Ideology: Neo-Nazi, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+

Lealtà Azione, or “Loyalty Action,” founded in 2010, is a white nationalist, neo-Nazi organization based in the Lombardy region of Italy, currently led by Stefano Del Miglio. They maintain a focus on fascist history and martyrs, are critical of liberal democracy, and tie their cause to the defense of the “traditional family,” a phrase associated with opposition to the LGBTQ+ community. One of their affiliate organizations, “Memento” (“Remember”), demonstrates their penchant for fascism by honoring militant fascists such as Giovanni Berta. The group and its affiliates enjoy a large network of social media accounts, including YouTube, Twitter, and they have Facebook pages for the cities in which they have chapters. On Facebook, Genoa chapter leader Stefano Garassino demonstrated the group’s antisemitic beliefs when he called Jewish people a “filthy race of hook-nosed merchants” in response to an attack on Palestinians by Israel in May 2018.

Del Miglio and his followers are no strangers to violence. In 2007, Del Miglio was convicted of raiding the Navigli canal in Milan and stabbing six young leftists. In 2016, 15 members of Lealtà Azione broke into a Milan University library to “hunt” students they considered “leftist.” One student testified that the attack was “well organized”, and the assailants only retreated after interventions from university workers and students. Not all their gatherings end in violence, but they do reflect their hateful ideology. In 2019, Lealtà Azione hosted a fascist demonstration at the graves of soldiers loyal to the Italian Social Republic (Republic of Salò), a neo-Nazi puppet state led by Mussolini towards the end of World War II, and honored them with the Roman Salute. 

While members who participated in the demonstration were tried for “discriminatory demonstration,” changed shortly thereafter to “fascist demonstration,” they were acquitted because the demonstration had “no purpose of fascist restoration” and did not meet “the requirement of concrete danger” to merit a conviction. In April 2022, approximately 100 Lealtà Azione members were involved in a 1,000-strong march attended by members from various fascist and neo-Nazi groups honoring fascist martyrs. Those involved announced their presence using the Roman salute. 

Lealtà Azione’s activity is mostly local to Milan and Monza, although they’ve expanded over the years to create a network of more than 20 chapters under the name FEDErAZIONE. Despite Lealtà Azione’s violent past, the group and its FEDErAZIONE counterparts are particularly focused on optics. In order to promote a positive public image, Lealtà Azione removed an entire section of their website filled with quotes from fascist ideologues that were present in 2015. The FEDErAZIONE website’s “About Us” section describes the organization as participating in personal training (physical and cultural), political activism, facilitating national solidarity, and organizing events across Italy for people to “grow together.” However, FEDErAZIONE is open about their support for fascists, as one of their affiliate organizations, titled “Tana Dei Lupi” (“Lair of the Wolves”) promotes the ideology of fascists and Nazis such as creator of the Romanian Iron Guard Corneliu Codreanu and Belgian Nazi Léon Degrelle. The site also injects neo-Nazi terminology into its platform, including one passage that claims “Blood and soil” in Italy are being “violently separated in an ideological way.” 

Further, FEDErAZIONE members are committed to preserving and pursuing Identitarian and traditional values through social action. One example of this is in July 2019 when FEDErAZIONE’s Turin branch hung banners on bridges targeting the LGBTQ+ community, including one that said “No to the LGBT mafia.” Following a blitz of banners placed in a number of Italian cities, FEDErAZIONE put out a statement explaining their actions as “reaffirming the sacred and inalienable principle of the sacredness of the family.” Pursuant to their goals of maintaining a positive public image, FEDErAZIONE collaborates with charitable organizations and social groups, which have gained them mainstream recognition despite their bigoted beliefs. For example, an organization closely tied with Lealtà Azione called Bran.Co (pack) partnered with the highly-respected Lombardy Food Bank to distribute food to families in need. 

However, consistent with their ideas, only “traditional” Italian families were helped by Bran.Co. Lealtà Azione’s mountaineering club (Lupi delle Vette, or mountain wolves) was also warmly welcomed by the Italian ambassador to Kenya in honor of a recent mountaineering feat. In this case, media outlets identified Lealtà Azione as a right-wing extremist group when reporting on their expedition. 

Lealtà Azione is heavily involved in Italian politics, even gaining greater influence than other seemingly more well-known groups like CasaPound and Forza Nuova. Since they aren’t a political party, Lealtà Azione often either lends support to or are directly involved with Matteo Salvini’s Lega Nord (Northern League) and Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli D’Italia (Brothers of Italy). In 2015, members of the group were spotted participating in an event supporting Lega Nord. In 2016, Lealtà Azione member Stefano Pavesi was elected as a city council member in Milan, followed by Andrea Arbizzoni the following year, who was elected to the Monza City Council running on an anti-immigration platform for Fratelli d’Italia. 

During the 2018 general election, Lealtà Azione supported Salvini along with two other Lega Nord politicians with ties to Lealtà Azione. Stefano Pavesi was once again elected onto Milan’s City Council as a Lega Nord candidate. Lealtà Azione’s partnership with Lega Nord deepened after the 2018 election, as they held a conference in March 2022 about the Russia-Ukraine war featuring Lega Nord MP Vito Comencini as a speaker. Lealtà Azione also has a close relationship with Fratelli D’Italia, and in June 2022, members took part in and provided security to the party’s mayoral campaigning events in Genoa. 

Lega per Salvini Premier (League for Salvini Premier)

Location: Milan

Ideology: Anti-Woman, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Roma, Anti-Muslim

Lega per Salvini Premier (League for Salvini Premier) is an Italian far-right, populist party founded in 1989 by Umberto Bossi as a federation of six regionalist parties in the north of Italy. In its early days, Lega advocated for autonomy and secession for “Padania,” the northern Italian regions, and opposed immigration to Italy. Matteo Salvini has led Lega as the Federal Secretary of the party since 2013. Ideologically, Lega holds nationalistic and protectionist positions which often clash with European integration and trends associated with globalization. Under the leadership of Salvini, Lega began opening the party up to potential supporters in the south of Italy as well, a constituency that the party had not sought previously. 

This coincided with a toning down of northern regionalist issues, and the emphasizing of immigration and cultural issues, which led to Lega gaining support in subsequent elections. Since then, Lega has been a junior governing partner in coalitions with the Five-Star Movement (M5S), and later with the Brothers of Italy, the party of the current prime minister, Giorgia Meloni. Lately, Lega’s popularity has started to wane, and many previous supporters went to the Brothers of Italy and other right-wing parties. 

Lega and Salvini are hostile to the rights of Romani people in Italy and it is alleged that there was an increase in hate incidents against the Roma in response to Salvini’s anti-Roma rhetoric.  In June 2018, Salvini announced that the government would be conducting a census of Romani people in order to decide which of them were in the country legally. When explaining the proposal, he stated that “unfortunately you have to keep the Italian Roma at home,” when referring to Roma with Italian citizenship. The measure was subsequently denounced as unconstitutional by all opposition parties, including some members of the M5S in their governing coalition.

Immigration is a primary concern of Lega, and their use of the term “illegal immigration” frequently incorporates opposition to immigration in general. Matteo Salvini regularly posts videos of immigrant crime and violence (primarily of those allegedly committed by people of color) in an effort to associate crime as a whole with foreigners (and people from the African continent). Salvini references foreign crime statistics in his discourse and he frequently argues in favor of tough measures to “control” immigration, such as incarceration and deportation. He has referred to 10 percent of refugees from the Ivory Coast as being “former guerrillas” that had participated in civil wars, and that “someone would like them to come and fight the war at our house too.” He also advocates for welfare chauvinism, providing Italian citizens with a national preference for social benefits over immigrants and Roma people. 

He has referred to illegal immigration as an “invasion” for which Italian citizenship is the “conquest,” and organized a “Stop Invasion” campaign, echoing many invasion-related narratives on the far right. During the turbulence created by the 2015 increase in immigration across the Mediterranean following the civil war in Libya, Salvini called for refugees to be banned from Italy and follow the proper asylum process. He frequently echoes narratives consistent with theGreat Replacement” conspiracy theory:

“I’m paid by citizens to help our young people start having children again the way they did a few years ago, and not to uproot the best of the African youth to replace Europeans who are not having children anymore… Maybe in Luxembourg there’s this need, in Italy there’s the need to help our kids have kids, not to have new slaves to replace the children we’re not having.” Salvini demonizes Muslims by claiming all believers are radical Islamists. For Salvini, feminists are not concerned with the needs of women because they permit “Islamic extremism” and “Islamic subculture” to proliferate and take away the rights of other women. 

However, this supposed support for women is bogus, as Salvini is hostile to LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, both seen as being harmful to the “traditional family,” and risking “the cancellation of our people.” He is a frequent attendee of anti-LGBTQ+ conferences such as the U,S.-based World Congress of Families, and the Lega party is strongly opposed to abortion rights and the right to be a surrogate mother. In Verona, councilors approved a motion, sponsored by Lega member Alberto Zelger, that declared Verona a “pro-life city,” and provided public funds to anti-abortion groups and programs that encourage pregnant women to give up unplanned babies for adoption. They associate this stance with lower birth rates, and a risk of being “replaced” by migrants from Africa. Salvini has written on Twitter that he “can’t repopulate Calabria, Sardinia or Trentino with migrants paid with the money of Italians,” and that he plans on raising the birth rate “not taking pieces of Africa and bringing them to Italy.” With regards to misogyny, the Crotone Lega chapter has published a misogynistic party leaflet online that stated that the “natural role of women” is “the promotion and support of life and the family,” and contained a list of six ways “the natural role of women” is being interfered with, including equality in the workplace. Salvini denied knowing about the leaflet. In 2018, former President of Italy’s lower House of Parliament, Laura Boldrini, claimed she was subject to a “terrifying campaign” of sexist attacks against her by Salvini. In one instance, Salvini attended a rally in 2016 with a sex doll which he referred to as “Boldrini’s clone.” 

When asked if he would apologize for the gross misrepresentation of another Italian politician, Salvini replied: “You must be joking, it’s Boldrini who should apologize because she is a racist towards Italians.” In 2018, Salvini shared a picture on Facebook of three young women, reported to be minors, protesting against him. Salvini defended his right to criticize the protestors, despite comments attached to the post calling for the minors to “take up prostitution” and “be raped.” These misogynistic views are represented in Lega’s ideology and policy. According to a study, Lega stresses the importance of the “natural patriarchal family as the ‘fundamental unit of society’,” and, consequently, believes that gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights are a threat to both western and Christian values. Further, he is also against most significant issues regarding LGBTQ+ equality, referring to it as “gender ideology,” such as same-sex marriage, civil unions, and adoption by same-sex couples. He opposed a law to make discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community illegal. He has called on Lega mayors to disobey the law and not perform same-sex civil unions. In an effort to “defend the natural family,” Salvini ordered the change of the identity card application forms for children to reflect parents as “mother” or “father” instead of “parent 1” and “parent 2.” Surrogacy is illegal in Italy and opposed by far-right groups primarily as it would also allow same-sex couples to have children.

Salvini has exhibited behaviors that are indicative of him being hostile to aspects of democracy, such as the free press. He has referred to critical pieces against him and Lega as a “lynching” against him. There are also instances when Salvini has said things that could have provoked violence. His speech has been associated with an uptick in hate crimes, and provided rhetorical cover for the “patrols” of extreme-right groups such as CasaPound. Regarding differences with the judiciary over a restrictive self-defense bill that would punish people for shooting someone in self-defense unless they are defending children in their home, he or someone on his team tweeted to “first shoot the Communist judges,” which was subsequently deleted and blamed on a staffer.

Salvini has close ties with the European far right. At a conference organized by Portugal’s Chega, he claimed that he sought to unite the European Identitarian right. Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, Salvini was a fan of the far-right Putinist regime in Moscow. He has stated “I believe that Russia is much more democratic than the European Union,” and that he would “exchange two of Mattarella (referring to the then-president) for half a Putin.” In March 2018, he called for Russians to vote for Putin in the presidential election. In March 2017, Lega signed a confidential cooperation agreement with the United Russia party, and Salvini has been investigated for corruption for allegedly receiving funding from Russia in a secret oil deal. Since the invasion, Lega and Salvini have distanced themselves from Putin, stating “my opinion about Putin has indeed changed amid the war, because when someone starts invading, bombing, sending tanks into another country, well, everything changes.”

Militia Christi

Location:  Rome*, Milan

Ideology: Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+, Religious Nationalist

Militia Christi (MC) is a small fundamentalist Catholic organization that describes itself as a “Christian political movement,” but they don’t appear to plan to run candidates in national elections. Apparently founded in 1992, MC registered its logo for 2013 elections, but didn’t run candidates. Their normal logo is a cross and heart with blue or black lettering, but for the 2013 elections, they had to substitute an anchor since crosses are not allowed in official political logos. MC believes an LGBTQ+ “lobby” is taking over the Western world, destroying families and traditional Catholic, Italian culture. They oppose civil unions and legal rights for same-sex parents as well as Pride events. They support Russia in the current invasion of Ukraine. They also do not believe that Meloni’s FDI is acting fast enough or harshly enough when it comes to immigration, referring to migrant and refugee arrivals as an “invasion,” using typical language associated with the white supremacist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory. MC’s leadership is unclear as they seem most associated with Rete dei Patrioti (National Movement-Patriots’ Network) and its leaders, including Giustino d’Uva, who often speaks on behalf of MC. MC announced their support for D’Uva in the 2022 elections. MC also began sharing its headquarters with the far-right Rete de Patrioti in January 2023.  

Lorenzo Roselli, a university student, appears in the majority of MC videos and photos. He describes himself as a “hardcore Catholic” and an “Italian National Revolutionary.” He’s also a contributor to the far-right Radio Spada (Radio Sword), which describes itself as “a counter-information site that believes Roman Catholicism to be the only truthful and effective form of cultural, social and political antagonism to the serious decadence and self-destructive impulses of the world we live in: for this reason it intends, today more than ever, to defend and to propagate the Catholic faith, the principles and values ​​of Christian civilization and culture.” 

They regularly leaflet and hold events protesting the LGBTQ+ “lobby,” hold prayer vigils against LGBTQ+ rights, and rallies to protest abortion and the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights. They are vehemently opposed the Zan bill, which would give the LGBTQ+ community legal protection from hate crimes. MC also claimed to have vandalized LGBTQ+ posters on Trans Day of Remembrance. They have conducted events with anti-LGBTQ+ activists from other countries including Spain, Hungary and France. 

MC is highly active on social media. Examples include Twitter,“THERE IS a #lobbyLgbt which is imposing its IDEOLOGY, above all #gender, above all on the conscience of the younger ones…WE CANNOT TOLERATE IT;” and Telegram, “No gender (theory) in schools.”  They have also declared the LGBTQ+ “lobby” an “extremist group like ISIS,” and said, “no to civil unions and no to homosexual dictatorship.”

Movimento Nazionale – Rete dei Patrioti (National Movement – Patriots’ Network), Rete Studentesca (Student Network)

Locations:  Bergamo, Brescia, Cesena, Como, Cremona, Emilia Romagna, Faenza, Forlì, Groane, Lecco, Liguria, Lodi, Lombardia, Lumezzane, Mantova, Martesana, Milano*, Milano sud, Montecatini, Monza e Brianza, Pavia, Puglia, Ravenna, Rimini, Toscana, Trentino Alto Adige,
Valconca, Valmarecchia, Varese, Varese sud

Ideology: White Nationalist, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+

Movimento Nazionale – Rete dei Patrioti (National Movement-Patriots’ Network)(MN), composed of multiple chapters, splintered from Forza Nuova in May 2020, over the leadership of Roberto Fiore and Giuliano Castellino and financial disagreements. The new network maintains its traditional Identitarian positions and is deeply rooted in religion, specifically Catholicism, perhaps even more so than Forza Nuova. They have a close relationship with the Rome-based, anti-LGBTQ+ Militia Christi and conduct joint actions with them. Lately, MN de facto leader Giustino D’uva, has claimed to be the vice president of a charity called Le Ali, and the network has used this name to gather food for poor families, thanking Militia Christi.

They have a student division called Rete Studentesca (Student Struggle)(RS). In addition to the student group, MN has a women’s branch called Evita Peron Donne in Rete (Evita Peron Women’s Network), named for Eva Peron, wife of former Argentinian president Juan Peron, who allegedly collaborated with her husband to harbor Nazis after World War II, an allegation that has been denied by various historians. Like MN, the women’s group was originally associated with Forza Nuova, beginning in 2006 as the guardians of the social values associated with Forza Nuova. They continue their devotion to the ideals of Forza Nuova founder, Massimo Morsello. Their activities include organizing protests against immigration and the “rape it brings,” abortion, and feminism. They claim that feminists are not real women and that they show their hatred of men by supporting gender equality.

MN activity includes protests and leafleting against immigration, gender equality, and abortion. Leaflets say that the continued influx of immigrants brings crime and fear, and they are beginning to express frustration with the Meloni government for not stopping immigration. Others refer to the “criminality” of immigrants, saying “stop immigration, stop rape.” They also held a protest against sexual violence because it did not feature the assaults committed by immigrants in 2022. MN has an active social media presence with one Facebook post referring to North African second-generation youth as “animals” and saying “This is not Africa.” Among their anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-woman activities is an Instagram post which refers to the “folly” of gender equality including the use of more inclusive language, education in schools, and gender neutral bathrooms. Along with Militia Christi, they plastered posters saying “No to Rome as capital of Homosexuality” and “No Gay Pride.” They also hung posters outside a university seminar on reproductive rights, saying “Abort a Feminist.” 

Criminal activity from members include Daniel Biavaschi, formerly of Forza Nuova and now with MN, who lost an arm while making bombs in September 2022, and Selene Ticchi, who was fined more than 9,000 Euros when she wore a “Auschwitzland” t-shirt at a Roman commemoration event in October 2018. The shirt depicts the entrance to the concentration camp. She was later cleared of the charges in January 2023, when a court decided the t-shirt didn’t constitute an incitement to hatred. 

MN has participated in multiple pro-Russian events since the invasion of Ukraine. Their Prato chapter organized a pro-Russia meeting in March 2022. On December 4, 2022, they took part in a rally against supplying weapons to Ukraine. The same event was promoted by far-right groups eXit and Fortezza Europa.

Popolo della Famiglia (People of the Family)

Location: Bergamo, Bologna, Forli, Emilia Romagna, Jesi, Lazio, Lombardia, Marche, Piemonte, Prato, Puglia, Toscana, Turin, Valle d’aosta, Veneto.
The group purports to have chapters throughout Italy but many don’t appear to be active.

Ideology:  Anti-LGBTQ+, Religious Nationalist

Founded in 2016 by Mario Adinolfi, Popolo della Famiglia (PdF)(People of the Family) is a political party that was born out of the 2015 Family Day in Rome, a gathering of tens of thousands to support traditional Christian values and protest the proposed civil union law, DDL Cirinnà, for same-sex couples. The PdF claims it protects Christian and Italian cultural values. Its website states that their main values, based on Christian doctrine, are “non-negotiable” and include opposition to all forms of abortion, the protection of the family described as a marriage between a man and woman and children, opposition to same-sex parent adoptions, and opposition to any education about gender identity or orientation. The group also pushes for jobs, healthcare, and protecting the environment. They publish a newspaper, La Croce Quotidiana (The Daily Cross).While Popolo della Famiglia is primarily focused on domestic policies, it also emphasizes Italy’s role within the European Union (EU). The party supports maintaining Italy’s national sovereignty and calls for more substantial control over decision-making processes within the EU. It has expressed reservations about certain EU policies, particularly those related to migration and economic integration, which it believes may undermine Italy’s national interests.

Since its inception, PdF has participated in local and national elections, with limited success. In 2022, Adinolfi founded the Alternativa per l’Italia (Alternative for Italy) coalition with former far-right CasaPound leader Simone de Stefano, now head of far-right group eXit, for the 2022 General Election and has struggled to gain significant representation in the Italian Parliament or regional administrations. Adinolfi received zero votes in his 2022 run for mayor of Ventotene. Nonetheless, the party continues to promote its conservative agenda and build marginal support among like-minded individuals and organizations. 

Vehemently anti-abortion, PdF founder Mario Adinolfi, a former poker player and former member of the Parliament for Partito Democratico, said his group was “ready to ride the wave from the U.S.A., in a fierce battle against the right to kill a baby in the womb.” The group’s website and newspaper make frequent references to recent changes in US policies on abortion, including the Supreme Court Dobbs decision, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ changes to that state’s abortion laws, and activities in Texas in general. On a 2023 book tour in Italy to promote his book, Contro l’Aborto: 17 regole per vivere felici (Against Abortion: 17 Rules for Happiness), he was frequently met with protests and at least one cancellation. 

A key tenant of the PdF is the need to increase the Italian birth rate, another reason for the opposition to abortion, and the group encourages large Christian families and government subsidies for these families. On the role of women, Adinolfi has claimed that “Women must be submissive…she derives from the biblical tradition.” He has also said, I’m against condoms, I don’t use them and I’m against them. They lower the pleasure and interrupt the moment.” When it’s pointed out that condoms are fundamental in the prevention of AIDS, he replied, “No, it’s just propaganda. The solution is responsible sexuality. In Africa they die because there is no responsible sexuality, not because they don’t use a condom.” In a recent speech about declining birth rates, Adinolfi said, “Should we get Elon Musk to tell us that Italy is in danger of disappearing? Policies of concrete support for life, motherhood and the natural family must be activated immediately, starting with local authorities, to get the country going again. Otherwise we are doomed.”

PdF is vehemently against same-sex couples adopting and says that a mother and father are necessary to the education of children. Adinolfi said “transgender women are not women, but men with fake silicone boobs that make you sad.” He has reportedly said attraction and sexuality can only arise between subjects of different sexes. And about the artist who designed the Vatican’s Holy Year ‘rainbow’ logo, he compared the artist’s sexuality to pedophilia. Additional anti-LGBTQ+ statements can be found in Adinolfi’s Twitter feed. PdF strongly disapproves of gambling, especially the lottery, saying that gambling is “morally unacceptable.” 

Pro Vita e Famiglia Onlus (Pro Life and Family Non-Profit)

Location: Rome*, throughout Italy, map of 110 chapters

Ideology: Anti-LGBTQ+, Religious Nationalist

Founded in 2012 by Toni Brandi, Pro Vita e Famiglia Onlus (PVFO)(Pro Life and Family Non Profit) firmly supports Catholic doctrine and opposes abortion (sometimes using offensive ads), marriage equality, adoption by LGBTQ+ families, recognition for transgender and nonbinary people, LGBTQ+ hate speech laws, and what they label “gender ideology” being taught in schools. In its mission, the group claims to work for children, the natural family, and the educational freedom of parents. 

PVFO purports to operate “in the name of those who cannot speak,” defending the most vulnerable and families in need and claims to act for the common good through awareness campaigns, educational events, assistance to individuals and families in need, media outreach, engagement with institutions, and legal initiatives. Jacopo Coghe of Generazione Famiglia often acts as the group’s spokesperson, appearing on television shows, radio shows and podcasts. Their messaging is very similar to that promoted by anti-LGBTQ+ groups in the U.S., using terms like “Family and School: Alliance for Freedom” and “educational freedom for families.” They are also long-standing partners with the rabidly anti-LGBTQ+ US-based World Congress of Families. 

They also support the harmful practice of conversion therapy by attacking countries, like Canada, Germany, and others that ban the practice. PFVO also promoted the American-based International Federation for Therapeutic and Counseling Choice’s “International Declaration on ‘Conversion Therapy’ and Therapeutic Choice,” which was endorsed by some of the most rabid anti-LGBTQ+ activists in the world. They are also running a petition asking that “gender ideology,” a euphemism for LGBTQ+ rights, be removed from television programs. 

While declaring themselves apolitical, they have organized events like “Marcia per la vita” (March for life) and press conferences against “gender ideology” in schools, and work against policies and legislation that advance LGBTQ+ rights, particularly those in the transgender community. For example, they have protested against students being able to declare their pronouns and have pushed an anti-transgender bill, falsely claiming that children are being allowed to choose from 76 genders. Additionally, they have protested the Istanbul Convention, designed to protect women globally, celebrated limitations of LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S., like the Florida “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and shared anti-transgender statements of U.S. figures. 

And they asked candidates in the February 2023 regional elections to sign their statement declaring that they would stop “gender ideology” in schools and contend that a family is formed only by a man and a woman. Several of the candidates from the far-right ruling Fratelli d’Italia party signed their statement. Although Brandi denies anything more than an old friendship with Roberto Fiore, leader of far-right Forza Nuova (FN), PVFO shared an address with FN, Fiore’s son, Allessandro, was editor of the PVFP newsletter and sometime spokesperson, and Fiore’s daughters helped publish the newsletter. 

In June 2023, PVFO was able to persuade the Lazio Region’s leadership to withdraw permits for the annual Rome Pride event through a coordinated social media campaign, based on the fact the group supported legalizing surrogacy (which is illegal in Italy.) “We welcome the withdrawal of the Lazio Region’s patronage of gay pride after the complaint by Pro Vita & Famiglia,” said Jacopo Coghe. “Supporting the Pride means in fact giving a hand to those who want to legalize the uterus for rent, marriage equality, adoptions for same-sex couples, registry transcripts for the children of gay couples, but also legitimize gender identity, self-id, gender projects in schools of all levels, and the alias career in all educational institutions. We hope that no more mistakes are repeated that could cost dear in terms of health, well-being and respect for the rights of women, children, adolescents and Italian families.” PVFO has also defended Mario Adinolfi, far-right party leader of  Popolo della Famiglia, when he was banned by Clubhouse for his anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. 

Veneto Fronte Skinheads (Veneto Front Skinheads)

Location:  Lonigo, Veneto Region

Ideology:  Neo-Nazi, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBTQ+

The Veneto Fronte Skinheads (VFS) (Veneto Front Skinheads) are a neo-Nazi group, often associated with violence, that was officially established in 1986 by Ilo Da Deppo and Pietro Puschiavo, who is also the founder of a linked project, Progetto Nazionale. VFS consolidated like-minded groups in the Venice region. They made their public debut in England and later clashed with the French police in Brest. VFS has been very active in the European hate rock scene, and still regularly organizes the Ritorno a Camelot (Return to Camelot) festival attracting supporters of “rock against communism,” white supremacists, and Identitarian adherents. 

In 2022, the festival was held in Verona, but banned photography, probably in response to a backlash against the Fortezza Europa festival earlier in the year, which also served as an international recruitment event. The group’s website speaks of bringing “qualified speakers who have provided militants with notions and arguments about the affirmation of our origins and about the attack carried out against our Europe which is taking place through the threat both of our survival as Europeans and in the deconstruction of our foundations in the social sphere and cultural: through the alteration of our ethnic heritage and the destruction of our legacies amid mass immigration that has been going on for decades, together with a demographic crisis that is becoming more and more alarming every year;  through the proliferation of the so-called Woke ideology and the drift made of illogical and iconoclastic exaltations and falsifications promoted by Cancel Culture.”

In 1990, VFS officially became Veneto Fronte Skinheads Cultural Association, and registered with the government in order to become more publicly active. The VFS leader Puschiavo was sanctioned by Milanese authorities in 1993 and in 1994 he and several other members were arrested for inciting racial hatred. Later in the 1990s, VFS began to attract political attention with MPs and an ambassador attending their events. The 2000s saw a decade of run-ins with law enforcement for racist and sometimes violent events. Giordano Caracino was appointed president of the group in 2006 and allegedly still presides today. Caracino, talking on a radio show, said, “Hitler did nice things;” “Mussolini was a great statesman;” and “I don’t like a multiracial society. All black people should be sent away from Italy.”

The last decade has been filled with condemnation and arrests but still with a growing international reputation and interaction with politicians. In 2013, VFS’s founder Puschiavo founded the political project Progetto Nazionale in Verona, which is still active today. That same year, two VFS members were investigated for the beating of a Black youth. During the anti-refugee protests in 2017, the deputy mayor of Como, Alessandra Locatelli, from the far-right Lega (League) party, refused to condemn the group, adding that “immigration is the real problem.” She is now the minister for disability in the Meloni government. In 2015, a city councilor from Reggiolo in the Emilia Romagna region and two VFS members were investigated for having taken part in a series of aggressions against charities that provided support to immigrants and anti-fascist organizations. 

In 2017, they showed up at an immigrant rights volunteer’s meeting to read a pamphlet on the “invasion of Italy by the immigrants,” promoting the racist, antisemitic “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory but were later acquitted of the charges. Also that year, the minister of justice defined them as “a group that uses the appeal of force and violence to build consensus. They have a hierarchical, almost paramilitary structure, aimed at instilling fear.” VFS has also said, “Because even if they want to replace and cancel us, we won’t leave in silence.” 

Puschiavo’s project, Progetto Nazionale, was absorbed into Fratelli d’Italia (FDI) (Brothers of Italy), the largest far-right party in Italy led by current Prime Minister Georgia Meloni. The VFS candidates ran on the FDI ticket in the Veneto elections. In 2022, Verona city mayor Federico Sboarina (FDI) allowed VFS to participate in the commemoration of the Foibe massacres on February 10. Between 1943 and 1945, thousands of Italians were murdered by Yugoslav communist partisans, by being thrown into foibes, or sinkholes. This issue has over the years become contentious with far-right extremists comparing the murders to the Holocaust and serving as a reason to attack anti-fascist activists.

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