Gabriele D’Annuzio, Decadent poet, artist, musician, aesthete, womanizer, pioneer daredevil aeronautist, black magician, genius and can, emerged from World War I as a hero with a small army at his beck and command: the “Arditi.” At a loss for adventure, he decided to capture the city of Fiume from Yugoslavia and give it to Italy. After a necromantic ceremony with his mistress in a cemetery in Venice he set out to conquer Fiume, and succeeded without any trouble to speak of. But Italy turned down his generous offer; the Prime Minister called him a fool.
In a huff, D’Annuzio decided to declare independence and see how long he could get away with it. He and one of his anarchist friends wrote the Constitution, which declared music to be the central principle of the State. The Navy (made of of deserters and Milanese anarchist maritime unionists) named themselves the Uscochi, after the long-vanished pirates who once lived on local offshore islands and preyed on Venetian and Ottoman shipping. The modern Uscochi succeeded in some wild coups: several rich Italian merchant vessels suddenly gave the Republic a future: money in the coffers! Artists, bohemians, adventurers, anarchists (D’Annuzio corresponded with Malatesta), fugitives and Stateless refugees, homosexuals, military dandies (the uniform was black with pirate skull-and-crossbones—later stolen by the SS), and crank reformers of every stripe (including Buddhists, Theosophists and Vedantists) began to show up at Fiume in droves. The party never stopped. Every morning D’Annuzio read poetry and manifestos from his balcony; every evening a concert, then fireworks. This made up the entire activity of the government. Eighteen months later, when the wine and money had run out and the Italian fleet finally showed up and lobbed a few shells at the Municipal Palace, no one had the energy to resist.
-from “The Temporary Autonomous Zone,” Hakim Bey.
D’Annuzio ended up falling in with Italian fascists, befriending Mussolini, and (I think) getting killed by il Duce when he changed his tune on fascism.