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‘In miglior tempo … ’: what fascism did not build in Rome

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2011
JournalJournal of Modern Italian Studies
Journal number1
Volume16
Number of pages25
Pages59-83
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

A large part of the fascist 'third Rome' remained on paper - whether because time or funds ran out in the early 1940s or because projects were defeated in competitions, sidelined by various more pragmatic considerations, and thwarted by Mussolini's volatile attitude to architecture and urban planning. In order to trace the fragments of this other fascist, Rome this article focuses on four projects that were never to be realized: Brasini's plans for the historic centre of Rome in the 1920s and his later project for the Mole Littoria in 1937; Mario Palanti's ideas again for a Mole Littoria between 1924 and 1932; and the Danteum project by Terragni-Lingeri in 1938-39). Each of these four episodes contains revealing stories of visionary interpretation and unfulfilled ambition, underpinned by powerful sacralizing and universalist narratives. All four projects share a crucial point of reference: they were conceived and proposed as solutions to the completion of the Via dell'Impero - the landmark avenue that ran from Palazzo Venezia through the Fori to the Colosseo and was inaugurated with unparalleled fascist pageantry in 1932. Owing to their proposed location, they became intricately linked to the ongoing debates of the mid-1930s about the location and style of the Palazzo del Littorio and, more broadly, about the role of a 'modern' architecture in the historic core of 'Mussolini's Rome'.