Rome will rename a series of streets currently christened after fascists who backed antisemitic laws during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.

Mayor Virginia Raggi has invited students in the capital to suggest alternative street names in honour of Italians who opposed fascism during the 1930s.

Prominent streets to be changed include Via Arturo Donaggio and Via Edoardo Zavattari, thoroughfares named after scientists who signed the “Race Manifesto” of 1938.

The notorious document issued by Mussolini’s government attempted to give scientific credence to racial prejudice and led to laws which stripped Italian Jews of citizenship.

The mayor said she was excited about the prospect of naming the public landmarks after people “who had the courage to oppose fascism … they will redefine those streets”.

Raggi added: “We need to recover a memory which today is becoming a little too easily forgotten. Otherwise we risk suffering tragedies once again like those of 80 years ago.”

Ruth Dureghello, president of Rome’s Jewish community, attended Thursday’s meeting about street renaming with the mayor and student representatives.

“The proposed names also represent positive models for young people,” Dureghello said. “It is precisely this awareness of history that guards against intolerance, racism and antisemitism.”