On the other hand, the wide choice of possible objectives and the superior sea power were the crucial strategic advantages of the Allies.
Having lost its forces in Africa, only 10 Italian divisions and 2 German panzer units were available for the Axis in the middle of summer 1943. "The Allies, meanwhile, were preparing to throw some 478,000 men into the island - 150,000 of them in the first three days of the invasion." The air superiority of the Allies in the Mediterranean theatre was also great by that time, "more than 4,000 aircraft against some 1,500 German and Italian ones" ("Sicily and the Fall of Mussolini, July-August 1943", 1999).
So, on 10th of July 1943 Allies' troops invaded Sicily from the sea. The coastal territories, guided mainly by Sicilians, were given up fast enough due to unwillingness of Italians to let their motherland be turned into a battlefield to suit Germany's interests. In only three first days of the invasion the British forces had been able to clear the whole southeastern part of Sicily. Then the British moved toward Messina taking a circuitous route around Mount Etna while the Americans moved in eastward direction and occupied Palermo in the west of the northern coast on 22nd of July.
The successive defeats of the Axis in Africa made many Italian leaders desperate to take side of and make peace with the Allies. Sicily invasion was a direct and immediate threat to mainland Italy and caused Italians' prompt action. On the night of July 24, 1943 during the Fascist Grand Council Mussolini revealed Germans' plans to evacuate the southern part of Italy. Il Duce's former Fascist colleagues turned against him at the meeting and the majority of the Council voted for his immediate resignation. The meeting concluded with a motion empowering the King to take back prerogatives that were taken away from him by Mussolini, first of all, the responsibility for the military decisions in the war. Even though the motion was accepted with enormous support, nothing actually had been settled and Mussolini didn't consider it to be a reason for his dismissal. However, when next day, on July 25 he paid a visit to General Paolo Puntoni and King Victor Emmanuel III, he was arrested and finally accepted his political defeat. The King went on to entrust Marshal Pietro Badoglio with the new government formation, which started secret negotiations with the Allies, even though there were still significant German forces on the territory of Italy. ("Sicily and the Fall of Mussolini, July-August 1943", 1999)
This was the way the Italian dictator of 21 years Benito Mussolini had stepped down as head of the government and the armed forces. King Emmanuel had taken control over the army and stated that Italy would "through the valour of her troops and the determination of her civilian population, find, in the respect of her old institutions, the way of recovery." ("1943: Italian dictator Mussolini quits", n.d.)
Mussolini's resignation was a huge blow to Adolf Hitler and the Axis, especially after Sicily invasion by the Allies and is usually considered to be the end of fascism in Italy.
At that time the Times diplomatic correspondent was reported to say: "Mussolini, who will be 60 on Thursday, has been ill