Ciano, Edda, Countess of Cortellazzo and Buccari, born Mussolini.

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Edda Mussolini, married Ciano, born 01-09-1910, in Forlì, Romagna, Kingdom of Italy.    the eldest child of Benito Mussolini, Italy’s fascist dictator from 1922 to 1943, and Rachele Guidi. She died 30-10-1979 (age 89). Edda was also the wife of fascist propagandist and foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano. Then, she became “Countess of Cortellazzo and Buccari”. After the World War II, Edda wrote her autobiography “La mia vita”, published in translation as “My Truth” by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 1975.

She had4 brothers and one sister, Benito Albino Dalser-Mussolini, (1915–1942),  Vittorio Musolini (1916–1997) Bruno Mussolini (1918–1941) Romano Mussolini (1927–2006) and Anna Maria Mussolini Negri (1929–1968) In 1930 she married Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944).

Edda was born out of wedlock to Benito Mussolini  and Rachele Guidi in Forlì, Romagna. Her parents did not marry until December 1915. In her early years, while her father was editor of Il Popolo d’Italia in Milan, Edda lived with Rachele in Forlì. Her father became Prime Minister of Italy in October 1922 and dictator after January 1925.

In March 1925, Rachele and Edda with her brothers and sisters, moved from Milan to Carpegna and then to Rome in November 1929 to live with their father. Edda was a rebellious woman in her youth. Her powerful father made dating difficult, as most young men feared him. She has been described as being opinionated and outspoken. It was while in Rome that she met Galeazzo Ciano, son of Admiral Count Costanzo Ciano, a loyal Fascist and supporter of Benito Mussolini before his March on Rome. They were married on 24-04-1930 in a lavish ceremony attended by 4,000 guests. Count Ciano died 26-06-1939 (aged 62) in Lucca, Italy

Edda’s husband was appointed Italian Consul in Shanghai. The couple moved back to Italy in 1932, where Galeazzo took the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs. In China, she had an affair with the Chinese General Chang Hsüeh-liang (Zhang Xueliang). Chang immigrated to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1995. There were numerous pleas for him to visit mainland China, but Chang declined, citing his political closeness to the KMT. He died of pneumonia at the age of 100, 15-10-2001, at Straub Hospital in Honolulu, and was buried in Hawaii.

After the Italian invasion of Albania in June 1939, the city of Santi Quaranta (Sarandë in Albanian) was renamed “Porto Edda.” An illustration of Edda on the cover of Time, 24 July 1939. in a feature entitled “Lady of the Axis”.

During the Greco-Italian War, Edda Ciano volunteered for service with the Italian Red Cross. On 14-03-1941, she was embarked near the Albanian port of Valona (now Vlorë) on the Lloyd Triestino liner Po, which had been converted into a hospital ship. British planes attacked and sank the ship, with some loss of life. The ship was moored among other vessels with her lights switched off on the orders of the port authorities and was, therefore, a legitimate target and would not have been easily identifiable as a hospital ship. Edda managed to survive, being picked up from the water by another ship. She continued to work for the Red Cross until 1943.

It is rumored that Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler bestowed Edda the rank of an honorary SS leader (SS Ehrenführerin) in 1943.

After Edda’s close call in the Adriatic Sea, Rachele and Benito Mussolini were doubly distressed when her brother, Bruno, died in August of the same year.

In July 1943, when internal opposition against Mussolini finally emerged in the Fascist Grand Council, Galeazzo Ciano  voted against his father-in-law. For this act, he was arrested for treason, tried and executed on 11-01-1944, age 40..

Edda Ciano escaped to Switzerland on 09-01-1944, disguised as a peasant woman. She managed to smuggle out the Count’s wartime diaries, which had been hidden in her clothing by her confidant Emilio Pucci. At that time he was a lieutenant in the Italian Air Force but later found fame as a fashion designer. War correspondent Paul Ghali of the Chicago Daily News learned of her secret internment in a Swiss convent in Neggio and arranged the publication of the diaries. They reveal much of the secret history of the Fascist regime between 1939 and 1943 and are considered a prime historical source. The diaries are strictly political and contain little of the Cianos’ personal lives.

Death and burial ground of Ciano, Edda, Countess of Cortellazzo and Buccari, born Mussolini.


After returning to Italy from Switzerland, Edda was arrested and held in detention on the island of Lipari. On 20-12-1945, she was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for aiding Fascism. An Italian film is dedicated to the residence of Edda in Lipari and her relationship with a young communist of the place.

Her autobiography, La mia vita, was published in translation as My Truth by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 1975.

Ciano, Edda, Countess of Cortellazzo and Buccari, born Mussolini died 08-04-1995 (age 84 in Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy.

It was widely reported at the time that the daughter of Hermann Goering   and Emmy Goering-Sonnemann   (born 02-06-1938) was named Edda Goering after her.

Ciano, Edda, Countess of Cortellazzo and Buccari, born Mussolini is buried at Cimitero Della Purificazione Livorno, Provincia di Livorno, Toscana, Italy.

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