When the fascist movement seized power in Italy in the 1920s and continued under the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini during WWII, Italian music and culture suffered. During these years, much of the music, art and culture were primarily of a propagandistic or escapist nature, or a combination of both. Lyrics were simplistic or nonsensical – about dead cats or penguins in love or trite love stories or odes to the fatherland designed to inculcate obedience and docility. One such example is “Giovanezza,” the “Fascist Hymn,” sung by Beniamino Gigli, and its various versions praising fascism and Mussolini. Many Italians who were desperately looking for a way to escape the heavy atmosphere of the time functioned that way.
Individual art, music and culture were permitted if they confirmed the government’s ideals, therefore many artists tempered their lyrics and