Neither Italian colonial expansion nor settlement started with the fascist conquest of its ‘Empire’ in Ethiopia. In 1935, Italy already had its colonies: the little Eritrea and Somalia and the recently ‘pacified’ – with a brutal military campaign – Libya. Settler colonialism, as a project for the mass settlement of Italian emigrants, was widely present in the political discourse since the beginning of the twentieth century. Its practical application had yet to be implemented, but in Libya the fascist regime would invest a lot – especially in the 1930s – for the realization of ambitious plans such as the rural settlement scheme of 1938-39, which settled in the north African colony about 30,000 Italian farmers. Nevertheless, the fascist ‘Empire’ was something different and new: here settler colonialism was put in practice in an exceptionally fast and radical way, and its peculiar traits make it an absolutely unique and interesting case study.