February 27, 2013, Arts & Entertainment, Lazio, News, Notes, Roma, Visual Art & Design

Italian fascist architecture

Italian fascist architecture are constructions built to impress. And the intimidating buildings and monuments can still be seen all over the country. 

A walk around most Italian towns and cities will take you past buildings made lifeless and intimidating by their sheer size and symmetry. These monstrosities are the still visible remnants of Mussolini’s fascist regime.

I often walk by the Palazzo Governo in Taranto and every time I avert my eyes. The building is so frightfully brutal it overshadows the natural attractions of the Lungomare promenade in spite of starlings, palm trees and a panoramic view of the sea. A similar violent clash between massive man-made structures and the natural and historical surroundings can be experienced in most other Italian cities and often we are not just talking about single buildings but entire villages.

The Mussolini countered the Great Depression with ambitious public works, such as draining the Pontine Marshes, reclaiming land and creating about 45 new homesteads of varying sizes.

italian fascist architecture

The most striking example of fascist architecture in Italy is perhaps the EUR in Rome. The buildings in this district were erected in connection with the 1942 World Fair as a celebration to twenty years of fascism, with the Square Colosseum or the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana as its monumental  centerpiece. The concrete building which looks exactly the same from all angles with 9 colonnades in 6 tiers now belongs to the Ministry of Culture and it is used for exhibitions.

Other posts on Italian building styles

Ferrara tourist guide: The origin of urban planning

Architecture in Italy – not all houses are pretty

Baroque Lecce

 


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12 Comments

February 28, 2013 4:35 am

Leigh

Interesting post. I hadn’t appreciated Mussolini’s regime included changing the landscape via monster buildings.

March 01 2013 09:04 am

admin

No, they are quite striking. Wonder how they will be seen 2000 years from now.

February 28, 2013 5:07 pm

TheTuscan

Yeah. The so-called “Stile Impero”, imperial style, is found in any Italian city. I wouldn’t consider it horrific per se, but it’s for sure out of place when found merged with elegant XIX century buildings or, God forbid, thrown in the middle of a renaissance neighborhood. Worst part, in my opinion, are the interiors thou. There you can find fluid shapes mixed with the martial shapes typical of the facade. Just horrible.
Go for some task related to the army or to academic world in any Italian city, and you’ll find yourself inside one of those buildings, sooner or later. Then look around and you’ll still be able to feel the atmosphere of a regime which had grandeur in its dreams only.

March 01 2013 09:13 am

admin

Thanks for the insight. I would be scared to enter those buildings, maybe because I have not attended university in Italy. To me they are associated with police, the military,the justice system and other power institutions.

March 3, 2013 5:19 am

Mary {The World Is A Book}

These do look out of place and lack personality. This must look even worse during those dark winter days. I think I would have the same reaction as you in seeing these buildings.

March 03 2013 13:11 pm

admin

Yes, it is funny how architecture affects your mood sometimes.

March 8, 2013 4:45 am

InsideJourneys

I can see why you’d avert your eyes – they look clumsy but they probably did what they were supposed to do — intimidate.

March 10 2013 11:04 am

admin

Exactly.

March 8, 2013 10:35 am

Sophie

I’m ambivalent as to whether buildings like this should be left standing. Monstrous yes, but also a part of history, even if it isn’t a nice part. Reminds me of Ceaucescu’s Palace of Parliament in Bucharest.

March 10 2013 11:07 am

admin

I wouldn't want them destroyed for the same reason, but I think it is important to see them in a historic context.

August 25, 2013 2:40 pm

judith works

I lived in EUR and yes, walking around the part of the EUR with the monumental buildings does cause one to feel very, very small.

September 01 2013 10:59 am

admin

I can't imagine what it must be like coming home through that area in the middle of the night when the streets are all deserted.

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