Centro Risorse Territoriale di Pesaro e Urbino

Tim Pat Coogan, Éamon de Valera, Donogh O’Malley, Mussolini and Harry Cohn

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Palazzo Venezia - Sala del Mappamondo

“De Valera had become Taoiseach and was leading his followers into the division lobby when from outside the chamber came the sound of the locked doors being banged and kicked. One of his most colourful followers, Douglas O’ Malley, had tarried too long at the bar and was trying, unsuccessfully, to get in to vote. Next day the Chief (Éamon de Valera) sent for the miscreant. After a Mussolini-like walk to the desk of the Presence and an even longer silence which would have reduced anyone else to a jelly, de Valera spoke …” – (Tim Pat Coogan, “De Valera, long fellow, long shadow”, London, 1993, p. 186)

What Coogan calls a “Mussolini-like walk to the desk” (a 20-metre walk!) is also known as “La traversata” or

The Crossing

In Fascist Party inside small talk
“La Traversata” was the long walk
Across the immense Hall of the Globe
To give the Duce the time to probe
The wits and guts of those who paid a call
Movie mogul Harry Cohn walked the hall
And was tickled pink by the ruse
Of space put to politic use.
Back home he altered his office to meet
the measurements of Mussolini’s style
His visitors had to walk 30 feet
Soon dubbed, after an old flick, “The Last Mile”.

(Lamberto Bozzi, 10.3.2013)

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