ITALY: Battle for Rome

Out of sight was the hammer & sickle. The party firebrands were unnaturally mild: gone were the outright attacks on the Vatican, the sneers at liberals. The crucial municipal elections in some 2,000 communities in southern Italy were only two weeks away, and Rome, the greatest prize, lay within the Reds' grasp.

Their deceptively innocent emblem was the Renaissance façade of the Campidoglio, Rome's city hall, designed by Michelangelo and beloved by all Romans. They called their candidates' roster the Lista Cittadina—the citizens' list.

As their top candidate they picked an aging politician...

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