Is Robbing Mussolini Based on a True Story? Is Mussolini’s Treasure a Real Treasure?

Image Credit: Sara Petraglia/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Robbing Mussolini’ (also titled ‘Rapiniamo il Duce’) is an Italian film directed by Renato De Maria. The heist comedy follows a Milanese wartime entrepreneur who recruits a group of misfits and resistance fighters to execute an audacious plan to rob a fabled treasure. With the story’s post-World War II setting and several references to real-life figures, viewers must be curious to know if the movie is inspired by actual events. Here is everything we learned about the inspiration behind ‘Robbing Mussolini.’

Robbing Mussolini is Loosely Inspired by Reality

‘Robbing Mussolini’ is partially based on a true story. The film is written by Renato De Maria and follows a rag-tag team of thieves who plan a heist to acquire former Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini’s treasure. The movie’s premise revolves around the team’s goal – stealing the legendary treasure. The narrative is set during the end of the Second World War and takes place in 1945, roughly around the same time as Mussolini’s death.

Image Credit: Sara Petraglia/Netflix

While some evidence suggests the existence of Mussolini’s treasure, it has never been found, and various theories exist about its whereabouts. Therefore, it is understandable that the film tackles this subject by adding dramatic elements. Moreover, the characters in ‘Robbing Mussolini’ appear fictional and aren’t directly based on any real group of thieves.

Hence, it is safe to say that the movie’s narrative is primarily fictional and driven by the hunt for the legendary treasure connected to a real-world political figure. Furthermore, the story is set during the final days of World War II, giving the narrative a semblance of realism. Other non-fictional elements mentioned in the film include the Italian Social Republic, Black Zone, and the motorsport race Mille Miglia.

The film’s take on Mussolini’s treasure and the final days of the Second World War charts an alternate course of history. It uses fictional characters to tell a story set against the backdrop of major historical events. Therefore, some viewers might find its concept similar to ‘Inglourious Basterds’ written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. All things said, the premise of ‘Robbing Mussolini’ is loosely inspired by actual events with historical significance. Nevertheless, its characters and their search for the legendary treasure are primarily fictional.

What Happened to Mussolini’s Treasure?

In reality, Benito Mussolini was captured by Italian communist partisans while fleeing to Switzerland. He was executed on April 28, 1945, near Lake Como. During his escape, Mussolini carried several goods with him; these items are dubbed “Dongo Treasure” and are believed to include documents, gold, jewels, and coins. However, the exact whereabouts of the treasure belonging to Mussolini remain unknown. The film puts a fictional spin on the search for the same and tells an exciting heist comedy story focused on retrieving the legendary treasure.

Image Credit: Sara Petraglia/Netflix

Per reports, Mussolini and his convoy were traveling from Milan to Switzerland when the Partisans intercepted them. Along with the convoy, the latter discovered several valuable items that Mussolini and his forces tried to smuggle across the border. The estimated net value of this “treasure” is said to be roughly $90 million. Similarly, the film depicts the treasure stored in the Fascist Government’s Milan headquarters. The real treasure reportedly contained wedding rings contributed by Italian wives, gold bars, jewelry, and other items similar to what we see in the film.

According to some sources, the treasure was reportedly handed over to the communist party. However, ‘Robbing Mussolini’ shows the treasure falling into Lake Como. As a result, it is safe to say that the film’s iteration of the treasure and its whereabouts deviates slightly from reality. Nonetheless, the Netflix comedy uses facts and historical records to craft a compelling tale about Benito Mussolini’s treasure, an essential aspect of Italian history.

Read More: Where Was Netflix’s Robbing Mussolini Filmed?