I often hear that Nazism is equal to fascism and such. Was there antisemitism and other kinds of repression against minorities in fascist Italy?
Depends, do you mean official government level or "popular" (aka "domestic" as it's called in Russia) level?
If government, depends on whether before or after alliance with Hitler?
Initially, Mussolini declared “In Italy, there will never be any anti-Semitism.” (1932) in conversation with Rabbi Goldmann of Chicago
However, later, it changed drastically (1938): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifesto_of_Race
The laws are regarded as antisemitic in nature, stripping the Jews of Italian citizenship and with it any position in the government or professions which many previously held. The manifesto demonstrated the enormous influence Adolf Hitler had over Benito Mussolini since Italy had become allied with Nazi Germany.
It is an oversimplification to reduce Nazism to antisemitism, although antisemitism was definitely a big part of it. Originally fascism is an Italian term, referring to Mussolini's movement, but it came to encompass the ideologies that put emphasis on the national good, as opposed to individual interests (liberalism in its original sense) or economic class interests (communism). (Italian fascism historically precedes German National-socialism.)
Characteristic features of fascism are thus:
- Suppressing individual rights in the interests of the nation - these may apply to free speech, economic rights, reproductive rights, etc.
- Ensuring physical health of the nation - e.g., encouraging mass participation in sports.
- Stressing the need for individual sacrifice in teh name of the nation
- Being unscrupulous in promoting the national interests in the international arena (since one's own nation is considered superior to others)
and so on.
German national-socialism was a fascist movement in many respects. See also about its socialist credentials in How does Hitler's interpretation of "Nationalist Socialism" relate to the modern interpretation of "Socialism" and "Nationalism"?.
Italian fascism, on the other hand, didn't specifically target Jews; However, it did collaborate in deporting Jews to the concentration camps, and Jews were often first in line as possible victims in various reprisal actions.