Thornton Wilder dedication of The Ides of March reads:
This work is dedicated
to two friends:
LAURO DE BOSIS
Roman poet, who lost his life
marshaling a resistance against
the absolute power of Mussolini;
his aircraft pursued by those of the Duce
plunged into the Tyrrhenian Sea;
who though immobile and blind
for over twenty years
was the dispenser of wisdom,
courage, and gaiety
to a large number of people.
"In his forties, only Sheldon's speech and hearing remained, and every joint below his head was rigid. His biographer's descriptions of the penthouse bedroom where he lay, motionless but not mute, suggest an atmosphere of vault-like luxury. The crypt's tenant, however, refused to be buried alive. Suicide was an option he refused, solitude was abhorrent to him."
The poet Lauro de Bosis (1901-1931) lost his life opposing Mussolini, and his leaflets are the basis for the conspirational chain-letters in the novel.
"At about eight o'clock that evening, a small plane appeared over Rome, blanketing squares and streets, cafes and even an open-air cinema with its cargo of anti-Fascist rhetoric. It flew so low, witnesses later reported, that it appeared to climb the Spanish Steps. The effect was spectacular. The Italian Air Force was taken by surprise, and by the time they rallied to pursue de Bosis, he was gone. Mussolini was said to be furious.
"Before leaving Marseilles, de Bosis sent two letters to a friend in Belgium, one to be forwarded to Draper if he did not return from his flight. The third contained a remarkable treatise entitled 'The Story of My Death.' In the event that he did not survive his mission, de Bosis asked his friend to release it to the press. No trace of his small wooden plane was ever found."
The above is taken from the Ruth Draper Monologues site.
More about de Bosis can be found at JSTOR (limited access):
Icarus as Anti-Fascist Myth: The Case of Lauro de Bosis
Italica > Vol. 69, No. 2 (Summer, 1992), pp. 198-209
"It will no doubt come as a surprise to discover that Olympic Prizes were once awarded for poetry and drama. At the Olympic Games in Amsterdam in 1928, such a prize was given to a young Italian poet, Lauro de Bosis for his play, Icaro. Political considerations ensured that the work was never performed in Italy at the time of writing, and the clash between its style and contemporary taste means that it is extremely unlikely to be staged today …"