Forensic experts in Italy said Thursday they had reconstructed the DNA of a national war hero and poet by analysing semen he left on a handkerchief given to a lover 100 years ago.

In a global first, the proto-fascist warmonger Gabriele D’Annunzio’s DNA was reconstructed without exhuming his remains, forensic police said, raising hopes the technique could be used to solve cold cases.

D’Annunzio (1863-1938) gave the semen-splashed hankie to his lover, Countess Olga Levi Brunner, in 1916 as a souvenir after a night of passion.

Police in Cagliari on Sardinia analysed the handkerchief, a letter the countess had penned to her beau and an ivory toothbrush conserved in the archives of the Vittoriale degli Italiani foundation.

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