Are Robbing Mussolini’s Achille Borsalino and Giovanni Fabbri Based on Actual People?

Image Credit: Sara Petraglia/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Robbing Mussolini’ is a heist comedy film written and directed by Renato De Maria. The Italian movie unfolds during the final days of the Second World War and revolves around the legendary treasure of Benito Mussolini. The plot follows Pietro Lamberti, aka Isola, a Milanese entrepreneur who formulates a plan to steal the fortune from the Fascist Government’s headquarters in Milan. However, the facility is under the stewardship of Achille Borsalino. As a result, Isola seeks the help of Giovanni Fabbri, among others, to help make his plan a success. Given the two characters’ importance to the story, viewers must be wondering if they are inspired by real people. In that case, we have gathered everything you need to know about Achille Borsalino and Giovanni Fabbri in ‘Robbing Mussolini.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

Achille Borsalino is Loosely Based on a Real Person

In ‘Robbing Mussolini,’ Achille Borsalino is a member of the Fascist Government ruling Italy and works for Benito Mussolini. He is the General Secretary of the party and oversees the army facility in Milan. Borsalino is married to Nora Cavalieri, a popular actress. However, he is having an extra-marital affair with Yvonne, a singer from a local bar. The character appears extremely devoted to Mussolini and the Fascist Government. As a result, it is likely that Borsalino is loosely inspired by the real-life figure Achille Starace.

Strace was born on August 18, 1889, and was a prominent leader in Fascist Italy. He was a part of the National Fascist Party created by Benito Mussolini and served as the party secretary from 1931 to 1939. Strace was noted for his devotion to Mussolini and died in 1945. As a result, there are some similarities between Strace and Borsalino. However, Borsalino is mostly a fictional character, and his parallels with Strace are only superficial at best. His affair with Yvonne and the mistreatment of his wife are fictional elements created to further the film’s narrative. Nonetheless, given the film’s setting and plot, it is likely that the makers used Strace as a reference for crafting the character of Borsalino.

Car Driver Tazio Nuvolari: Giovanni Fabbri’s Inspiration

The film depicts Giovanni Fabbri as a fabled race car driver and national hero. He is the winner of Mille Miglia, a real-life motorsport endurance race that was conducted from 1927 to 1957. Fabbri is dubbed the “Hero of Nürburgring” for his exploits on the famous race track. However, after the start of the Second World War, Fabbri has been in hiding. In reality, there is no race car driver named Giovanni Fabbri with the same motorsports credentials as the film character. However, it is likely that Giovanni Fabbri is loosely based on real-life race car driver Tazio Nuvolari.

Nuvolari was born on November 16, 1892, and he started his motorsports career by racing bikes. He later transitioned to driving cars and became a racing sensation in the 1930s. Nuvolari won the Mille Miglia twice during his career, first in 1930 and later in 1933. He was known for his mastery of the Nürburgring circuit, located in the town of Nürburg, Germany. Nicknamed “The Green Hell,” the Nürburgring circuit exploits certainly made Nuvolari a hero in Italy. Therefore, there are apparent similarities between Giovanni Fabbri and Nuvolari. Moreover, the character bears some physical resemblance to Nuvolari.

However, Fabbri’s association with resistance fighters and the heist to steal Mussolini’s treasure appear to be fictional elements. Hence, it is likely that the film’s makers only used Nuvolari as a reference figure to create an original and fictional character to best fit the narrative. As a result, Giovanni Fabbri is not a direct on-screen counterpart of Tazio Nuvolari. Instead, the character is a fictional entity who only shares some cosmetic traits with the real-life race car driver.

Read More: Is Robbing Mussolini’s Pietro Lamberti, aka Isola, Based on a Real Thief?