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Europe’s Dark Past Makes a Comeback

Politics increasingly echoes eras of the 20th century and poses the biggest challenge to the continent.

The city of Macerata stands in the Marche region of Italy.

The city of Macerata stands in the Marche region of Italy.

Photographer: Giulio Napolitano/Bloomberg

After shooting and wounding six Africans in the picturesque hilltop town of Macerata, Luca Traini draped himself in the Italian flag, gave a stiff-arm salute and waited for police. “Italy for the Italians!” he exclaimed.

The incident involving the 28-year-old gunman with a neo-Nazi tattoo on his forehead dominated the final month of Italy’s election campaign locally. For all the outrage, Traini’s message resonated at the ballot box. In the vote on March 4, support for the anti-immigrant League surged massively in Macerata, helping to propel the party into government this month.