Showing posts with label Palazzo Venezia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Palazzo Venezia. Show all posts

Fascist Rome

Hitler’s trip to Italy in May 1938 came just two months after the Anschluß, uniting Austria to Germany. His journey included Rome, Florence, and Naples. Hitler’s interest in art made it mandatory that he view the great artistic and architectural achievements of the Renaissance in Rome. Mussolini took him to Naples to review the Italian navy. Nevertheless, it was Rome, the Rome of Mussolini, which was the centerpiece of Hitler’s visit.  Hitler arrived in Rome on May 3 after a train ride through the Brenner Pass and down the spine of Italy, where thousands of Italians were assembled along the way to cheer and wave flags.
 
Roma Ostiense station then, decorated for Hitler, and today. To commemorate his forthcoming visit to Rome in 1938, the current Ostiense station was built, replacing an existing rural railway station, with the aim of creating a monumental station to receive the German dictator. The German eagle and swastika were prominently displayed throughout the station.  Inside the main pavilion, two murals celebrated the achievements of the two movements, one for Nazism and one for fascism. The first represented the Germany of Hitler as the successor of Frederick II and of Bismarck, while the second mural of Mussolini’s Italy emphasised the ongoing victory march of fascism. Pagano’s Casabella praised the advanced techniques used in the station’s roof as well as the speed and efficiency of construction. Beyond the new station’s style and techniques of construction, Ostiense represented Mussolini’s desire to have his own new grand point of entry for Hitler and subsequent high-profile visitors. It signified yet again the reshaping of Rome to suit the purposes of fascism. The Ostiense station “will permit illustrious guests to make an entrance into Rome within the impressive area of [new] construction: the Via Imperiale, the Via dei Trionfi and Via dell’Impero, thus being carried immediately into contact with the major monuments of Imperial Romanità” that were part of Rome’s development toward the sea.  A new road was also built to connect the station with Porta San Paolo - this was initially named Via A. Hitler but, after the war, it became Viale delle Cave Ardeatine to commemorate victims of the Nazi occupation. 

 Hitler being greeted upon arrival. Shortly after 8:00 on the morning of May 3, 1938, the Duke of Pistoia, a cousin of the King, welcomed Hitler to Italy on the Italian side of the Brenner Pass. That evening at 8:30, the special train pulled into the Ostiense station in Rome. King Victor Emmanuel III, Mussolini, and Ciano were present to greet Hitler. Hitler was wearing his brown uniform and his peaked cap, knee boots and knee breeches. The King, Mussolini and Ciano were clad in uniforms as well. Hitler's visit to Rome is cinematically recreated in director Ettore Scola's film Una giornata particolare, who also used archived newsreel footage showing the actual meeting between Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Victor Emanuel III. Italian architect Roberto Narducci designed the station in the architectural style favoured by Hitler- the design of the station's marble façade was almost identical to that of the Italian pavilion at the 1942 Rome World's Fair (a design never fully realised due to the Second World War). The station building was inaugurated on October 28, 1940.  The entire façade is made of Travertine marble and the entrance is marked by a columned portico. On the right side of the façade is a relief by Francesco Nagni representing the mythical figures of Bellerophon and Pegasus. 
The fascist eagle adorning the portico for the occasion remains as do the mosaics.
  
Outside the main doors, mosaics, including a map of the Roman Empire, decorated the pavement. “The map is framed by a Roman triumphal arch and the figure of a victorious Augustus with the imperial eagle,” which was “designed to make a clear statement about Fascist pride in the idea of empire and in the importance, as they saw it, of linking the ‘vitality of the Italian people’ with the greatness of ancient Rome.”  The mosaics serve to reinforce the greatness of Rome, even if by lying about having had Ireland and Scotland as part of its empire.
 
The mosaics are even found in the shop within the station

The road leading from the station was named Viale Adolfo Hitler, now renamed Viale dei Partigiani. From Ostiense station the motorcade made its way down the new Viale Adolfo Hitler, up the Viale Aventino, renamed that year the Viale Africa, past the Circus Maximus, up the Via Trionfi past the Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum, then down the Via dell’Impero to the Piazza Venezia and, finally, to the royal palace on the Quirinal Hill. This route took Hitler right through the heart of the historic centre newly transformed by Mussolini. It was, in the words of the New York Times, “a spectacle to remember.” 
For Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s arrival a whole section of Rome, stretching across the city, had been transformed. Along the three-mile route that he travelled from the new railroad station built for him to the King’s palace, ruins of the past were floodlighted to enclose a modern phantasy of white pillars and gilded symbols of fascism and nazism. There were illuminated fountains, huge pylons spouting flames and everywhere flags without end—banners of Germany, of Italy and of Rome.

After the arrival reception, the King and Hitler rode to the Quirinal Palace in the royal carriage. The Quirinal Palace is an historic building, one of the three current official residences of the President of the Italian Republic, together with Villa Rosebery in Naples and tenuta di Castelporziano. It is located on the Quirinal Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome. It has housed thirty Popes, four Kings of Italy and twelve presidents of the Italian Republic. The palace extends for an area of 110,500 square metres and is the ninth largest palace in the world in terms of area. Mussolini had to remain behind since he was not a head of state as Hitler was- protocol required that the king, as head of state, host Hitler, also head of state, upon his arrival. The head of government, Benito Mussolini left the station by private car for home, just one more annoyance of having to defer to the monarch-
 as constitutional head of state, King Victor Emmanuel III was thrust into the Fuhrer's company too often for the contentment of either. It was said that the King asked Hitler unavailingly how many nails could be found in the German infantry boot, and then illustrated his own pedantic knowledge of detail by explaining that in the Italian, there were 74 (22 in the heel and 52 in the sole). In 1942 Hitler was still recalling that he had 'never seen anything worse' than the lugubrious courtiers he met. 
Bosworth (332) Mussolini
Protocol having been satisfied, Mussolini then accompanied Hitler for the remainder of his visit. The next day, Hitler received Mussolini at the Quirinal Palace at 10:00 a.m. Here they are seen being driven away together through the portal. 
Thirty minutes later, they placed wreaths on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and at the Pantheon, and thereafter inspected four thousand militiamen. Above the swastika armband on his left sleeve, Hitler wore the insignia of an Honorary Corporal in the Fascist Militia. It consisted of a triangle of cloth with a fascio in its centre. The honorary dagger of the Fascist Militia adorned his leather belt. In spite of the known fact that Hitler despised militia units, he was most patient that day, submitting to the ordeal without complaint for the sake of his friendship with Mussolini. One can see how the Pantheon influenced the plans for Hitler's vast Volkshalle, the centrepiece of the new Nazi capital of Germania.
 
The Pantheon showing the two bell towers by Bernini and after their removal in 1883.
Palazzo Littorio, the headquarters of the Fascist Party, now the Palazzo del Catasto. 
At 11:00 a.m., Hitler and Mussolini laid a wreath at the monument to the dead of the Fascist Movement. This monument was located in a small memorial chapel in the Palazzo Littorio, the headquarters of the Fascist Party, now the Palazzo del Catasto. The fascist iconography on the façade remains. Here Hitler was honoured by the Italian Fascists with a gift, a vase dating from the fourth century BCE with the swastika insignia.
American seminarian Philip Hannan stayed indoors during Hitler’s visit “to avoid being one of the rabble welcoming Hitler.” Nevertheless, he and his friends had definite opinions about the reaction of Romans to the Führer: 
The people are definitely ‘griped’ at the huge outlay of money for [Hitler’s] welcome. So whenever Hitler and Mussolini appear, they get a hand, but everybody knows that it is for Mussolini; the first time that Hitler rode into Rome he was accompanied by the King—Mussolini was not with him—and all the people yelled the old, familiar, ‘Duce, Duce.’ There was no individual yelling for Hitler.
  On May 6 the great parade in Hitler’s honour took place. Hitler, Goebbels, Hess, von Ribbentrop, and other Nazi officials joined the king and queen, Mussolini, Ciano, and other fascist leaders on the flag-draped reviewing stand on the Via dei Trionfi. The parade took two hours, as youth, military, and party units marched by. Many of the military units used the goosestep, recently introduced by Mussolini and called the Roman step, passo romano. “Perhaps 50,000 persons watched the review. Hitler, when he appeared with the King, was received with cordial, but not overwhelming cheers and much of the cheering was for the King. But when Mussolini joined them there was a roar that completely drowned out the previous mild acclaim.” Following the parade and lunch at the German Embassy, Hitler visited the Augustan Exhibit on the Via Nazionale, “illustrating the various phases of the political, economic and social life of the Roman Empire.” The day ended with an open-air concert at the Villa Borghese Park given in Hitler’s honour, with 100,000 people in attendance.  It had been a very special day for Rome, and the two leaders who were drawing their two nations ever more closely together.
      
With the Palazzo Venezia behind me, and the infamous balcony from where Mussolini declared unprovoked war against Britain, declaring
We are going to war against the plutocratic and reactionary democracies of the West, who have hindered the advance, and often threatened even the existence of the Italian people.  The die is cast and we have, of our free will, well burned the bridges behind us.
On the right is Hitler and Mussolini in 1938 and today. At noon when Hitler visited the Palazzo Venezia, he presented Mussolini with the following certificate of honour:
As Führer and Chancellor of the German Reich, I ask Benito Mussolini, the Duce of this Volk, to which the world owes the great inventor and scholar Galileo Galilei, to accept this Zeiss telescope, complete with the entire equipment for an observatory, as a present and as a symbol of reverence and friendship.
Today it may be hard to imagine Palazzo Vienna was the most sacred of all the places that fascism sought to turn into symbols of its power. Mussolini delivered all his most important speeches, including the declaration of the Italian empire in May 1936, from its balcony. During the regime, large fascist symbols adorned either side of it. Today, the prime minister's office is located off the Via del Corso in Palazzo Chigi, and Palazzo Venezia is a museum containing art works, pottery and tapestries from the medieval period. The Sala del Mappamondo, where the dictator had his office, can be visited only during special exhibitions. 


Palazzo Venezia seen from the Vittoriano from where Hitler and Mussolini stood May 1938.
Mussolini's fascists marching into Rome before the Victor Emmanuel Monument II in 1922 and the same scene June 1944 with British and American forces after finally ridding the earth of Italian fascism. The Vittoriano fronts the Piazza di Venezia at the end of the Corso, the Via Flaminia, down which in ancient times the legions marched in triumph after their victories. 
Work on the Via del Mare in 1929 with the Victor Emmanuel Monument in the background, and Drake Winston in front by Trajan's column.
At 16.3, the two dictators attended performances by 50,000 Fascist youths in Centocelle (Campo Roma). These exercises were exclusively of a military and paramilitary nature, conducted by the Young Fascists and the Avantguardisti, all of whom were only between fourteen and eighteen years old.
At 18.00 Hitler addressed 6,500 Germans living abroad who had congregated in the Basilica of Maxentius:

You who have been so fortunate as to live in this country, you shall find many traits familiar to you so that it is easier for you than for any other group of Germans abroad to comprehend the essence and import of today’s Reich. You yourselves live in a state that glorifies those virtues and ideals so dear to us. I have come here to say this to you in few words and to remind you to form a Volksgemeinschaft on a small scale here away from home such as the entire German nation forms at home—a Volksgemeinschaft of mutual aid and support.
On the walls of the basilica are these marble and bronze maps Mussolini had installed showing the expansion of Rome from around 760 BCE to 1935 and beyond. The first map represents the birth of Rome in 753 BCE.  The second shows Rome in 146 BCE following the Punic Wars with Carthage. The third map shows Rome during the time of Augustus in 14 CE followed by the fourth map showing the empire at its height under Trajan by 117 CE.  In 1935, Mussolini added the fifth map shown here showing his expansionist aims which included Libya, Ethiopia and future conquests of Turkey and the Middle East.  This tactfully was removed by the end of the war and is apparently being stored in a basement in EUR.
By 22:30, Hitler’s special train left Rome via Termini station for Naples. Termini was intended to serve as a gateway to Mussolini’s new imperial Rome. Its open atrium would have an imperial character constructed with Carrara marble stretching more than two hundred meters in length and supported by columns of eighteen metres each.  Construction of the new station came to a halt in 1942 before work had begun on the columned portico. Between 1939 and 1942 considerable work was accomplished on the arcaded sides of the station on the Via Marsala and Viale Principe di Piemonte. The plan included moving the entrance to the station about two hundred meters to expand the size of the Piazza dei Cinquecento with the surrounding streets grew wider as well.  These changes improved the flow of traffic, but the driving force came from Mussolini’s imperial vision of a fascist Rome with large spaces, giving the impression of power and authority. Mussolini made the decision to design an exit from the station onto this new grand space. In Mazzoni’s plan, the entrance had been situated around the corner on the Viale Principe di Piemonte, today’s Via Giovanni Giolitti. Mussolini had in mind the effect on travellers as they came out of the station onto this “Piazza grandiose.”  The Piazza dei Cinquecento commemorated the five hundred soldiers who fell at the battle of Dogali in 1887, an Italian setback in its initial campaign to conquer Ethiopia. The nearby monument dates from 1924. The streets and piazzas nearby bore names recalling the events and battles of the Risorgimento, unification, and the new Italy: Via Nazionale, Via Cavour, and Via Marsala, the seacoast town in Sicily where Garibaldi landed with his one thousand volunteers, an event also recalled by the Via dei Mille. Via Solferino and Via San Martino were named after two of the principal battles leading to the creation of Italy in 1861. The construction of the new Termini station and the reconfiguration of the piazza and the streets constituted another self-conscious effort of the regime to tie fascism to Italian nationalism and to articulate fascism’s fulfilment of the Risorgimento and unification.
When Hitler returned to Rome from Naples on May 6 by train at 10:00 a.m., a great military review took place along the Via dei Trionfi. Here the Italian troops displayed to Hitler their newly acquired “Passo Romano,” the Italian version of the German goose step. Via dei Trionfi, now Via dei Fori Imperiali (ironic given that the new road actually destroyed the Imperial Forums it was named for), was inaugurated  in 1933  The widened street supervised by Antonio Munoz opened in October 1933 and ran between the Palatine and Celian hills. Via dei Trionfi joined Via dell' Impero at the Colosseum. The two streets opened up access to the seven hills of Rome.
Rome was the showpiece of a multifaceted program of ideological archaeology that involved the clearing, isolation, and restoration of certain key monuments such as the Mausoleum of Augustus and the Ara Pacis. It also included projects that coordinated archaeology with new construction, such as the creation of the parade route of the via dell’Impero (now the via dei Fori Imperiali) through the fora of the Caesars. The government financed exhibitions and the creation of museums that highlighted the new discoveries and strengthened the connection between romanità and fascist policy. Finally, the ambitious fascist construction and urban renewal program led to chance archaeological discoveries, such as the republican temples of the Largo Argentina in central Rome, that the regime was flexible enough to preserve and fit into its propaganda program. 
Dyson (177)
 
Although the road was touted as a celebration of the glories of ancient Rome, as shown above, its construction entailed the systematic demolition of over 40,000 square yards of one of the most densely populated areas of Rome, obliterating ancient, mediæval and Renaissance structures, including five churches and popular tenements that housed 746 of Rome's poorest families. The via dei Fori Imperiali hid over 84% of the recently excavated forums of Nerva and Trajan;  of the areas excavated, a great deal of data has been lost. Records at the Musei Capitolini noted that many of the objects found were stored in crates in the vaults of Museo della Civiltà Romana, but little associated data was recorded about the exact location and context of the objects, meaning that huge amounts of information that could be inferred is now irrecoverable whilst completely changing the landscape and character of the heart of Rome and slicing the Fora area in two. General outrage is often the reaction of modern archaeologists and scholars when discussing it.  Perhaps the biggest issue of all was that the now four-lane, heavily trafficked road carried an extremely heavy load of motor vehicle traffic straight through the Roman Forum area, whose exhaust fumes and vibrations continue to do immeasurable damage to the surrounding ancient Roman monuments. After numerous failed efforts by academics and citizen’s groups to convince the Roman city government to attempt to undo what Mussolini government created by removing the road, the Mayor of Roma Ignazio Marino closed the southern part of the road on August 3, 2013.

Mussolini and Hitler admiring the Paolina Borghese. In the evening of May 6 they attended performances of the Dopolavoro organisation in the park of the Villa Borghese and a concert given on the Piazza di Siena.
The situation for the Italian Jews became really dangerous when the fascist government collapsed in 1943, and the Germans occupied Rome. The tragedy of the new situation is captured well in the history of the young Italian Jewish epigrapher Mario Segre. Segre had established a promising reputation for himself as a scholar in spite of the anti-Semitic restrictions and was hoping to escape to an academic post in America. But in order to increase the number of his publications he needed the resources of the library of the German Archaeological Institute. The library was barred to Jews, but von Gerkan appears to have been flexible in his enforcement of the policy. Others, more sympathetic to the Nazi racial policy, were not so decent. One scholar, probably the hard-line Italian fascist Giulio Jacopi, threatened to denounce von Gerkan to the German authorities if Segre continued to be admitted to the library. In that threat he was supported by the Institute’s second secretary, Siegfried Fuchs, who was also an SS official. Segre was barred. His inability to advance his scholarly research and publication ruined his chance to find an American position. He took refuge in the Swedish Institute, a  protected neutral oasis. In a rare foray outside of those protected walls to enjoy the Villa Borghese gardens, he was seized, and he and his family perished in the concentration camps.
Dyson (211-212) In Pursuit of Ancient Pasts
At Palazzo Braschi, former headquarters of the Fascist Party in Rome facing the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and in 1934. Decorated with the giant face of Benito Mussolini, the word "Si" is in reference to the Italian general election which took place on March 26, 1934 in the form of a referendum; voters could either approve or reject the Grand Council of the National Fascist Party, 99.84% of voters voted 'si.' The overwhelming majority provoked Mussolini to dub the election the "second referendum of Fascism" which reinforced his hold on power and status as Il Duce.  After the war, the building housed 300 refugee families and many of the interior frescoes were seriously damaged by the fires they lit to keep warm. In 1949 the palace passed to the civic authorities and, following extensive conservation in 1952, the present installation of the museum was effected and it now houses the Museo di Roma, the "museum of Rome", covering the history of the city in the period from the Middle Ages through the nineteenth century.


During the 1929 plebiscite
Standing in front of the Obelisk of Axum, a 1,700-year-old, 79-foot granite stele/obelisk, weighing 160 tonnes, looted from the city of Axum in Ethiopia. It is ornamented with two false doors at the base and features decorations resembling windows on all sides. The obelisk ends in a semi-circular top part, which used to be enclosed by metal frames.The Obelisk of Axum was itself collapsed and broken when it was found by Italian soldiers at the end of 1935, following the Italian conquest of Ethiopia. It had fallen in the 4th century and had broken into five pieces. In 1937, it was taken as war booty and moved to Italy by the Fascist regime, which wanted to commemorate the conquest of Ethiopia and the birth of the ephemeral "new Roman Empire" (see Italian Empire). The stele which were transported by truck along the tortuous route between Axum and the port of Massawa, taking five trips over a period of two months. It arrived via ship in Naples (on a boat called the Adua), on March 27, 1937. It was then transported to Rome, where it was reassembled and erected on Porta Capena square in front of the Ministry for Italian Africa (later the headquarters of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization) and the Circus Maximus. It was officially unveiled on October 28 1937 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the March on Rome. The operation was coordinated by Ugo Monneret de Villard.
Two days later, Hitler and Mussolini reviewed youth and athletic groups at the Foro Mussolini. Here was fascist Rome, Mussolini’s Rome, on display to impress the Führer of Nazi Germany. The fascist regime boasted of a Rome bedecked with flags, Roma pavesata, which demonstrated the “consensus that surrounds and that sustains the totalitarian regimes, when they are solidly founded on social justice, on quiet and hard-working discipline.” The peoples of Italy and Germany stood united by two ideologies that in their different ways “tended toward a single end, the defence and empowerment of the civilisation of Europe and the world.” Incredibly, the nearly 18 metre-high Mussolini Obelisk remains, honouring the dictator at the Foro Italico, originally known as the Foro Mussolini. The 120 foot-high white marble obelisk was built in 1932 on the orders of Mussolini, with the Latin words “Mussolini Dux” inscribed down its side – Dux being Latin for Duce. 
Within the base of the 300-tonne obelisk was hidden a metal box containing a few gold coins and a parchment text, written in Latin, called the Codex Fori Mussolini – the Mussolini Forums Codex. Whilst the existence of the document has long been known, it has been impossible to access without damaging the monument.   But two scholars have managed to piece together what they believe to be an accurate version of the document by consulting Fascist archives in Rome.  Han Lamers, from Humboldt University in Berlin, and Bettina Reitz-Joosse, from Groningen University in the Netherlands, have now published a book on the codex, The Codex Fori Mussolini - A Latin Text of Italian Fascism, in which they revealed that it chronicles the birth of Italian Fascism and Mussolini’s rise to power.  The 1,200 word paean depicts Italy as a country hurtling towards disaster in the wake of World War One, before being saved by Mussolini "through his superhuman insight and resoluteness", Dr Lamers said according to the BBC.  "The text presents Mussolini as a kind of new Roman emperor, but also, by using biblical language, as the saviour of the Italian people."  The text is accompanied by a medal depicting Mussolini wearing a lion skin on his head inspired by the archaeological discoveries being made at the time in former Roman territories.  Mussolini himself was keen to portray himself as a 20th century Augustus.  The text was written by an Italian classics scholar, Aurelio Giuseppe Amatucci, was designed to be discovered only after Fascism had ceased to exist. 


 One of Italy's largest buildings, the Palazzo della Farnesina in the Foro Italico area, designed in 1935. It was originally designated to be the headquarters of Italy's National Fascist Party. It was originally named the Palazzo Littorio (The Palace of the Lictors) after the ancient Roman Lictors who served as the personal bodyguards of magistrates and administrators who carried the fasces, guarded imperial offices and carried out judicial decisions handed down by the administrators. Construction was halted in 1943 after Mussolini was finally deposed and completed in 1959 when it housed the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Stadio dei Marmia and The Accademia Fascista on the Foro Mussolini then and now. The athletic complex was dedicated to Mussolini personally and began in 1928, finishing in 1932. This includes the Stadio Mussolini, designed by architect Enrico Della Debbio. It was here where Mussolini hosted Hitler at a rally before 35,000 people. The occasion allowed the Duce to show off both the foro and the latest techniques of dramatic lighting that the Nazis favored in their own rallies in Germany. The show included massed formations of uniformed members of the Gioventù Italiana del Littorio forming a huge M and then a swastika in the Olympic Stadium. 

The fascist statues remain in situ including this fascist soldier still on the march 
Naples and Venice
 
'The Skier' and Gorizia
Rome and Viterbo 
 
The swimming pool remains unchanged, down to the paintwork on the walls
On via Marmorata is the Palazzo della Posta, inaugurated by Mussolini on October 28, 1935.
The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana ((Palace of Italian Civilisation), is a monumental building located in the modern EUR (Esposizione Universale Roma) district, which was to be the site of Mussolini’s proposed 1942 World’s Fair a few miles south of central Rome. This, the most famous of the EUR buildings is more commonly known as the Colosseo Quadrato (the Square Coliseum).  Conceived since 1936 and designed in 1937, its construction began in July 1938 and it was inaugurated, although incomplete, in 1940; work was interrupted in 1943 only to be completed after the war. Besides being modelled on the Colosseum through its arches, it still honours the Duce- its six horizontal arches represent the 6 letters of the name Benito whilst the nine vertical arches represent the name Mussolini. Outside at each corner remains fascist statuary by Publio Morbiducci and Alberto Felci representing the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux.
 
GIF: During its construction and today
The Palazzo degli Uffici dell’Ente Autonomo, designed by Gaetano Minnucci, was the first completed building of EUR.  It was finished in 1939 and is the only building to be completely set up before the outbreak of the Second World War. Originally built as an exposition Hall, it is filled with black and white mosaics and reliefs harkening back to the Roman Empire. In one of such relief, Mussolini sits on horseback. 
The design of the furnishings, preserved to this day, was entrusted to the architects Guglielmo Ulrich and Giuseppe Gori. The façade on the Avenue of the Civilisation of Labour is framed by two sculptures made by Dino Basaldella, representing the Chimaera struggling with the Minotaur and the Chimaera fighting against the Centaur. In front of the Hall of Fountains is a monumental fountain. This, decorated by Gino Severini, Giulio Rosso and Giovanni Guerrini with eighteen mosaics in black and white by, is the most important work of all the decorative cycle of the building. 
Of all the external decoration of the building, the sculptural element that remains unchanged from its original design is the bronze statue placed at the entrance to the police station and by Italo Griselli, the Genius of the Fascism, he is a young man with his right arm raised in salute (after the war it was decided to have his hands wear wrestling gloves).Known as the ‘Saluto Fascista’ (the Fascist Salute) during the Fascist Era, it was renamed the Genio dello Sport after the war. On the wall to the Commissioner is "The History of Rome", travertine bas relief made by Publio Morbiducci, in which you can recognize many buildings of ancient Rome and modern and some protagonists of Roman history. In the Meeting Room is the fresco by Giorgio Quaroni depicting the founding of Rome. Considering the imminent danger of war period, the second basement floor has an air raid Shelter which had been intended to accommodate roughly 300 employees in case of attack. It is a reinforced concrete volume completely isolated from the rest of the building and equipped with gas metal doors.The building had been used by German troops during the Nazi occupation in 1943 and by the troops after their liberation of Rome in 1945.

Shown during its construction and today, the Palazzo dei Congressi, more informally known as the Conference Centre, is also located in the EUR district; designed by Adalberto Libera and begun in 1938, it was delayed by the war and only completed in 1954. 
 
The construction of Via dell’Impero, Rome 1924-1932. Connecting Mussolini’s office at Piazza Venezia to the Coliseum, the construction Via dell’Impero (now Via dei Fori Imperiali) required the demolition of many ancient ruins standing at the Forum Romanum. The centre showing Mussolini parading down the Via dei Fori Imperiali; a fascist-era marker remains commemorating the opening of Via del Impero. 
Mussolini riding on horseback with his troops past the Colosseum after the opening of the Via dell’Impero. Mussolini had wide roads created to circle the city's ancient monuments. The opening was part of the celebrations that marked the tenth anniversary of Fascist rule in Italy.
Mussolini decided to construct a parade route between his residence in the Palazzo Venezia and the Colosseum. It would pass by the ruins of the fora erected by Julius Caesar, Augustus, and Trajan, monuments that had been buried under centuries of debris and obscured by later building additions. These ancient structures were rapidly cleared down to their imperial levels and restored in such a way as to provide an appropriate backdrop to fascist martial displays. In the process more than five thousand housing units were destroyed, and 214,000 cubic feet of earth were removed. The excavations were conducted in great haste, few records were kept, and in most cases no publications of the finds ever appeared. Some of the remains were reburied as the parade way and surrounding parks—complete with statues of “good” emperors—were built over them. The example of the imperial fora would return as a major source of controversy in the postwar years. 
Dyson (178-9)
 
Standing beside the bronze statue of Gaius Julius Caesar, seen behind Mussolini as he abolishes the Chamber of Deputies End and the formation of the Assembly of Corporations on March 25, 1936 and where it was installed during the fascist period in the 1930s on Via dei Fori Imperiali just in front of ruins of Foro di Cesare, and as it appeared to American GIs during the war.
Mussolini before the bronze statue of Nerva with me and Drake Winston in front of those of Augustus and Trajan. Mussolini decided to construct a parade route between his residence in the Palazzo Venezia and the Colosseum. It would pass by the ruins of the fora erected by Julius Caesar, Augustus, and Trajan, monuments that had been buried under centuries of debris and obscured by later building additions. These ancient structures were rapidly cleared down to their imperial levels and restored in such a way as to provide an appropriate backdrop to fascist martial displays. In the process more than five thousand housing units were destroyed, and 214,000 cubic feet of earth were removed. The excavations were conducted in great haste, few records were kept, and in most cases no publications of the finds ever appeared. Some of the remains were reburied as the parade way and surrounding parks—complete with statues of “good” emperors—were built over them. The example of the imperial fora would return as a major source of controversy in the postwar years.
Trajan's statue flanked by two fascist eagles and his column during the war, encased within protective brickwork.
Mussolini reviewing anti-aircraft forces at the Colosseum in 1939
 
Hitler Youth Parading past the Colosseum on September 28, 1936. 
 
During the war and today 

Mussolini addressing the Fascist Militia inside the Colosseum October 1930 on the occasion of the eighth anniversary of the march on Rome

Mussolini inaugurating the newly-restored Curia Julia which the Italian government acquired on July 10, 1923 from the Collegio di Spagna for approximately 16,000 Lire. In his Res Gestae, Augustus writes of the project: “I built the Senate House... with the power of the state entirely in my hands by universal consent, I extinguished the flames of civil wars, and then relinquished my control, transferring the Republic back to the authority of the Senate and the Roman people. For this service I was named Augustus by a decree of the Senate”. In fact, this relinquishment of power was truer in word than in deed; the construction of the Curia Julia coincided with the end of Republican Rome. 

 The Arch of Titus

The image used on the Israeli coat of arms is based on the depiction of the menorah on the Arch of Titus. 

The Circus Maximus and the site today. By 1934 the fascists had managed to clear the  Circus Maximus and completed work on the Via del Circo Massimo. The Circus Maximus, previously surrounded by slums and a Jewish cemetery, was cleared by September-October. The new Via del Circo Massimo created a panoramic view of Circus Maximus and Palatine hill. Mussolini opened the road on October 28 with a parade of 15,000 athletes shown on the right and provided a site for four major exhibitions in the late 1930s.
The Largo Argentina in 1929. During the demolition work in 1927, the colossal head and arms of a marble statue were discovered. The archaeological investigation brought to light the presence of a holy area, dating to the Republican era, with four temples and part of Pompey's Theatre.  Julius Caesar was killed in the Curia of the Theatre of Pompey, and the spot he was believed to be assassinated is in the square. Work around the Largo Argentina began in 1926, and it was opened to the public on April 21, 1929, Rome’s traditional “birthday.” April 21 became second only to October 28, the anniversary of the March on Rome, as a day to dedicate completed works of the regime. It was “a red-letter day in the history of humanity. Fate decreed . . . on that day, Rome should be born and with it a type of civilisation still forming the power and pride of every Nation in the world.” Plans to change the area pre-dated the fascist regime, but it was only in 1926 and 1927 that the desired demolition of older buildings took place. Mussolini wanted to show in this and subsequent projects that fascism would deliver what previous governments had only promised. 
In 1925 the area was a maze of alleys and decrepit housing. Demolition work began in 1926, and a developer presented plans for new buildings, but Mussolini’s personal intervention would change the direction of the project. The destruction of the late sixteenth-century church of San Nicola ai Cesarini uncovered the first of four ancient temples. The exact dates of the temples remain unknown to this day, but archaeologists determined at the time that they dated from Republican Rome and were among the oldest buildings existing in the city. Mussolini visited the site on October 22, 1928. One of the archaeologists, Corrado Ricci, pointed out the sorry legacy of post-1870 Rome in its rapid and careless development, which had not respected the ancient city. Ricci’s message impressed Mussolini who declared: “I would feel myself dishonoured if I allowed a new structure to rise even one metre here.” Today the ruins of the four ancient temples are visible, below street level, in this cleared area that had been, in fascist terms, a slum.  This pioneering project had all the elements that Mussolini subsequently emphasised in his projects for transforming Rome: improving the flow of traffic, preserving and “liberating” ancient monuments, tearing down buildings of little or no historical value, and above all, demonstrating the fascist ability to carry out projects that others had only talked about. Thus Mussolini’s Rome demonstrated to the world fascism’s leadership in urban planning by combining the practical needs of the city with the political goals of the regime.  The policy of transforming Rome that unfolded during the twenty-year regime sought to demonstrate fascism’s ability to achieve major change efficiently and dramatically. Remaking Rome in Mussolini’s image had far greater political and historical significance than making the trains run on time. The constant demolition and construction, the appearance of new buildings, streets, and neighbourhoods persuaded both Italians and foreigners that fascism meant dynamism and durability.
The Theatre of Marcellus, the largest and most important theatre in ancient Rome which could originally hold between 11,000 and 20,000 spectators. Completed by Augustus in 13 CE and dedicated to his nephew who had died at the age of 25, during the fascist era the Theatre of Marcellus stood surrounded by tenements in one of Rome’s old working-class neighbourhoods adjacent to the Capitoline Hill. When work began in 1926 to clear the area, small shops filled its arches and the ground level was several feet above the original. It faced the Piazza Montanara, a busy market. It all stood on the same spot as the ancient olive oil market, the Foro Olitorio, next to the Tiber where ships deposited their cargo. Adjacent to it stood columns from the temple of Apollo built in 32 BCE. After Mussolini’s demolition, the neighbourhood was gone and these monuments of imperial Rome stood free and open to view from the new Via del Mare. 
The first blow of the pickax to “liberate” the theatre fell on April 21, 1926. In the next four years, a whole neighbourhood would disappear, including the picturesque Piazza Montanara next to the theatre. The act of “liberating” an ancient monument went hand in glove with the construction of a broad new avenue, the Via del Mare, which would later link up with streets and boulevards leading to the Lido and the sea.  The work immediately in front of the medieval church of the Aracoeli to create the new street began with great fanfare on October 28, 1927. The regime dismissed the destroyed housing as an unhealthy slum. The only building thought worthy of preservation was the church of Santa Rita, tucked away by Michelangelo’s stairway to the Capitoline. Designed by Carlo Fontana and built in 1600, this fine example of baroque architecture was carefully disassembled for future reconstruction. The reconstruction began in 1938 next to the by-then liberated Theatre of Marcellus at the entrance to the Piazza Campitelli. The church reopened on April 21, 1940.
Mussolini led a large entourage of officials, including Muñoz, to open this first piece of the Via del Mare on October 28, 1930 shown here with the Theatre behind. The wide new street opened both the view of and access to the Capitoline Hill. The work of clearing the south side of the Capitoline, just around the corner from the Via del Mare, continued for several more years, and eventually the result would make the Capitoline stand out with a new prominence. Down the street just past the Theatre of Marcellus stood the church of Santa Nicola in Carcere, with ancient columns embedded in its walls. The area beyond would furnish space for large new fascist office buildings a few years later.  The Via del Mare culminated at the Piazza Bocca della Verità and the medieval church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. In the first phase of the project, from 1926 to 1930, several more ancient sites fronting the piazza were “liberated.” First was the fourth-century Arch of Janus, and just behind it the early medieval church of San Giorgio in Velabro, recently restored by Muñoz. Across the street, near the Tiber, stood two ancient temples. The circular one, known traditionally but erroneously as the Temple of Vesta, and the rectangular Temple of Fortuna Virilis date from about 100 B.C. or earlier. Work continued on the Via del Mare throughout the 1930s until its official completion on April 21, 1939.29 No visitor to Rome in the 1930s could fail to see this new fascist street in the heart of historic Rome. It remains today as a major example of the fascist urban landscape, unchanged except for the name. It now begins at the Capitoline as the Via del Teatro di Marcello and then becomes the Via Luigi Petroselli, named after Rome’s communist mayor from 1979 to 1981.


 Mussolini, Muñoz on his left, in the Piazza Bocca della Verità, Arch of Janus in the background, 1930
An American column snaking Piazza del Popolo before pressing north in pursuit of the retreating German armies, and the wife at the same spot. The piazza lies inside the northern gate in the Aurelian Walls, once the Porta Flaminia of ancient Rome, and now called the Porta del Popolo. For centuries, the Piazza del Popolo was a place for public executions, the last of which took place in 1826. The wife is standing at the base of the obelisk of Sety I (later erected by Rameses II) from Heliopolis. Three sides of the obelisk were carved during the reign of Sety I and the fourth side, under Rameses II. The obelisk, known as the Flaminio Obelisk or the Popolo Obelisk, is the second oldest and, at  24 metres high (36 m. including its plinth) one of the tallest obelisks in Rome. It had been brought to Rome in 10 BCE by order of Augustus and originally set up in the Circus Maximus. It was re-erected at the piazza by Domenico Fontana in 1589 as part of the urban plan of Sixtus V.

Mussolini striding past the Ara Pacis, an “altar of peace” commissioned by the Roman Senate in 13 BCE to honour Augustus. The Ara Pacis Augustae had disappeared beneath the Palazzo Peretti and was known only by fragments found and scattered in many museums. The reconstruction of the Ara Pacis began in the sixteenth century and only ended that, four centuries later, with the reconstruction of the monument in 1938. It took the intervention of Mussolini, who wanted to pose as a new Augustus, for in 1937 the team of Giuseppe Moretti finally performs a full search under the Palazzo Peretti: in February 1937, the Cabinet decreed that, as the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of Augustus and the Augustan year (September 1937 - September 1938), the resumption of excavations, not to jeopardize the stability of the Palazzo Peretti, we began implementing pioneering techniques with a freezing the soil (technological innovation of freezing 600 m3 of soil with liquid carbon dioxide injection through 55 pipes), which made possible the excavations.


Hitler and Mussolini appreciating the supposed representation of Pax, the goddess of peace, on the east side of the altar under the direction of Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli. The reconstruction of the Ara Pacis being impossible in situ without the demolition of the Palazzo Peretti, Mussolini then decided to rebuild the monument, but next to the Mausoleum of Augustus, along the Tiber. Thus would be created a memorial to the emperor Augustus. Between June and September 1938, simultaneously with the excavation, so began the work of the pavilion, cement and glass, designed to accommodate and protect the Ara Pacis, but by changing its direction by 90 °. On the side of the base of the pavilion, Mussolini had engraved the Latin text of Res Gestae Augustus. The pavilion was built in less than an hundred days. On September 23, closing day of the Augustan year, Mussolini inaugurated the monument, a symbol of Imperial Rome, to show that the Roman civilisation remains alive and that the myth of Rome survives in modern Italy, where the fascist regime carries in its height the celebration of unity and Romanism.

Mussolini had stated that “I monumenti millenari della nostra storia devono giganteggiare nella necessaria solitudine [The thousands-of- years-old monuments of our history must grow more magnificent in their required isolation"] Important Roman structures were thus cleaned of later “accretions” as part of the notorious sventramento that is now criticised by urban historians for its destruction of the later historical context of the Roman monuments. The most ambitious of these projects was the clearing of the Mausoleum of Augustus near the Tiber. All post- Roman remains were removed from the tomb itself, and the postclassical buildings that surrounded it were levelled to create a new piazza framed by buildings replete with fascist visual and verbal propaganda. The importance of the tomb was enhanced by the reconstruction of the Augustan Ara Pacis at a new location between the mausoleum and the Tiber. Mussolini closely identified with Augustus, and the dedication of the complex in 1938 became one of the great propaganda events in the history of his regime. 
Dyson (177-178) In Pursuit of Ancient Pasts
In 1902, the German scholar Eugen Petersen proposed a reconstruction of the partially excavated monument after studying photos of fragments from a number of European museums. In 1937–1938, Mussolini had the rest of the Ara Pacis excavated; then he had the monument reconstructed following Petersen’s model—all to celebrate the Romanitá of the Fascist regime. In 1938, Mussolini had a protective building for the Altar built, as it had been reconstructed by Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, near the Mausoleum of Augustus (moving the Altar in the process) as part of his attempt to create an ancient Roman "theme park" to glorify Fascist Italy. During the war, the Ara Pacis was protected by sandbags. Then successive restorations postwar allowed to reconstruct almost in its entirety. Today, a new museum, designed by architect Richard Meier, is the setting for the Ara Pacis.
Nearby is the Mausoleum of Augustus, a large tomb built by Augustus in 28 BCE on the the Piazza Augusto Imperatore, near the corner with Via di Ripetta as it runs along the Tiber. The interior of the mausoleum is no longer open to tourists, as looting, time, and neglect have stripped the ruins of marbled elegance. Even as ruins, it is a dominating landmark on the northern side of the Campus Martius. It was one of the first projects initiated by Augustus in the city of Rome following his victory at the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE. The mausoleum was circular in plan, consisting of several concentric rings of earth and brick, planted with cypresses on top of the building and capped (possibly, as reconstructions are unsure at best) by a conical roof and a statue of Augustus. The traditional story is that in 410, during the sack of Rome by Alaric, the pillaging Visigoths rifled the vaults, stole the urns and scattered the ashes, without damaging the structure of the building (Lanciani). Curtius claims however that "[t]he story of its plundering by Alaric in 410 has no historical foundation, and we know nothing of its destruction". The restoration of the Mausoleum of Augustus to a place of prominence featured in Benito Mussolini's ambitious reordering of the city of Rome which strove to connect the aspirations of Italian Fascism with the former glories of the Roman Empire. Mussolini viewed himself especially connected to the achievements of Augustus, seeing himself as a 'reborn Augustus' ready to usher in a new age of Italian dominance.
All post-Roman remains were removed from the tomb itself, and the postclassical buildings that surrounded it were levelled to create a new piazza framed by buildings replete with fascist visual and verbal propaganda. The importance of the tomb was enhanced by the reconstruction of the Augustan Ara Pacis at a new location between the mausoleum and the Tiber. Mussolini closely identified with Augustus, and the dedication of the complex in 1938 became one of the great propaganda events in the history of his regime.
 Dyson (178)
The Cordonata during the fascist era and today, designed by Michelangelo to gradually ascend the Capitoline Hill to reach the high piazza, so that the Campidoglio resolutely turned its back on the Roman Forum that it had once commanded. It was built to be wide enough for horse riders to ascend the hill without dismounting. The railings are topped by the statues of two Egyptian lions in black basalt at their base and the marble renditions of Castor and Pollux at their top shown here.
It was here 
on 7 April 1926 an upper-class 10 from a hall at the Campidoglio in the centre of historic Rome, where, ironically, he had just inaugurated an international surgeons' conference. Her bullet merely nicked the bridge of her target's nose and Mussolini took the opportunity to spin the affair in his favour by being photographed shortly afterwards continuing his work and with just a small facial plaster to hint at his brush with death. Indeed, by 4.30 p.m., still sporting his bandage, Mussolini was orating to a meeting of party officials and government workers. In a dramatic peroration, soon adopted as one of the slogans of the regime, he urged the need for all to ' "Live dangerously". Indeed, I say to you like an old soldier: "If I go forward, follow me. If I retreat, kill me. If I die, avenge me.'" 
Richard Bosworth (218) Mussolini
 
Campidoglio during the war and today. It was Benito Mussolini who ordered the paving completed to Michelangelo's design in 1940.
 
The statue of Marcus Aurelius in safe-keeping during the war and today whilst a copy remains outside
 
The band of the Irish Brigade plays in front of St Peter's Church in the Vatican City on June 12, 1944
 Mussolini's Black Shirts prancing outside the Uffizi in Florence and the Monte dei Paschi di Siena on Via dei Pecori bedecked with Nazi flags and today