The Italian Almanac

Alessandra Mussolini

Italian News - June 1

Alessandra Mussolini, the grand-daughter of Italy's wartime fascist leader, has called for children to be able to take their mother's surname if they wish. She spoke after Italy's supreme court called for an end to the country's outdated and "patriarchal" rules and said they were not compatible with the concept of female equality.

At present, Italian children must take their father's surname. However, a group of politicians, led by Mussolini, want the law to be changed to allow children to choose freely. The court rejected a plea from a father for his son to carry his surname. It said since he had not recognised the boy when he was born in 1997, the child could continue to use his mother's name.

"Now we must make a new law," she said, adding: "This judgment is enlightened. It is recognition for women and motherhood."

Mussolini's two daughters and son bear their father's name, Floriani. However, she went through a lengthy legal process to allow them to attach Mussolini to their surname. "I can assure you that it was a long, confusing and, above all, expensive procedure that very few are able to do," she said.