Considered "degenerates" which "undermined the image" of the virility of Fascism, Mussolini had homosexuals interned on a small island in the Adriatic sea. Ironically, despite being held under a prison regime, "some found life in the country's first openly gay community a liberating experience."
Unwittingly, the Fascists had created a corner of Italy where you were expected to be openly gay.
For the first time in their lives, the men were in a place where they could be themselves - free of the stigma that normally surrounded them in devoutly Catholic 1930s Italy.
What this meant to the exiles was explained in a rare interview with a San Domino veteran, named only as Giuseppe B - published many years ago in the gay magazine, Babilonia - who said that in a way the men were better off on the island.
"In those days if you were a femminella [a slang Italian word for a gay man] you couldn't even leave your home, or make yourself noticed - the police would arrest you," he said of his home town near Naples.
"On the island, on the other hand, we would celebrate our Saint's days or the arrival of someone new... We did theatre, and we could dress as women there and no-one would say anything."
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