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 centrepiece 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. The large piazza in front of the station has since been renamed the Piazza dei Partigiani to commemorate the partisans of the resistance. 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, shown here being greeted upon arrival.
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.  
Painter (119-120) Mussolini's Rome
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 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 shown today with Drake Winston providing the scale. 

The fascist eagle adorning the portico for the occasion remains as do the mosaics.

Outside the main doors fascist mosaics, including a map of the Roman Empire, continue to decorate 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.but originally it served as a path to the two stadiums and other facilities. The ancient empire, hatched with horizontal lines, highlighted Mussolini's call for the rebirth of empire. The map is framed by a Roman triumphal arch and the figure of a victorious Augustus with the imperial eagle. The whole composition fits well into the traditional use of public cartographical display to commemorate military campaigns and echoes the role of the map of Sardinia which Livy mentions was displayed in 174 BCE in the temple of Mater Matuta to commemorate Tiberius Sempronious Gracchus's successful campaign on the island.
Throughout are such references to the Duce and slogans of the regime such as “Many enemies, much honour,” “Duce, we dedicate our youth to you,” and “Better to live one day as a lion than a hundred as a sheep.” The mosaics were the work of artists Angelo Canevari, Achille Capizzano, Giulio Rosso, and Gino Severini. One mosaic is a map of the Via del Mare with its ancient sites: the Theatre of Marcellus and the two ancient temples. Across from it is a map of the Foro Mussolini. “What the pair of mosaics presents through myth, then, is a foundation analogy, suggesting that the new empire of 1936 celebrated by this Fascist forum is equivalent in its greatness and portent to the foundation of Rome by Romulus and Remus.” Another mosaic quoted the words Mussolini spoke to the crowd on May 9, 1936: “Italy finally has its empire.”
  The modern Ostiense pavement map had been completed for a highly specific audience on a particular occasion. It 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. Perhaps, in view of a long-standing rivalry with the German dictator, Mussolini had felt emboldened by the occasion to remind the Germans of the weight of the ancient Italian civilization. After all, while in Nuremberg, in 1934, Hitler had marked the first millennium of the Germanic empire, in 1938-the year of Hitler's visit to Rome-Mussolini was still celebrating the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of the ruler on whom he liked to model himself, the Emperor Augustus.
Heather Hyde Minor (159)  Mapping Mussolini: Ritual and Cartography in Public Art during the Second Roman Empire
 
The mosaics are even found in the shop within the station
The road leading from the station
to the Porta San Paolo was named Viale Adolfo Hitler, now renamed Viale delle Cave Ardeatine to commemorate the victims of the Via Rasella action below. 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. As the New York Times of May 4, 1938 described this “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, one of the three current official residences of the President of the Italian Republic, in the royal carriage.  It is located on the Quirinal Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome and 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.
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.
With Drake Winston outside the Pantheon. 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.

The Duce used his considerable oratorical skills to galvanize popular opinion behind his movement and his regime. Mussolini knew how to play to the crowd, to court and seduce the throngs who gathered to hear him. In 1929, he moved his office from the Palazzo Chigi to the Palazzo Venezia on the piazza adjacent to the national Vic- tor Emmanuel II monument, symbol of Italian unity and the resting place of Italy’s Unknown Soldier. The balcony of the Palazzo Venezia provided him with his most famous podium from which to harangue the crowds who filled the vast space of the Piazza Venezia for the “oceanic” rallies that were the icon of Mus- solini’s Rome. Mussolini had declared the center of Rome, this sacred space of the nation, to be the “heart” of the new fascist Italy. “Guides to the city, which formerly began their descriptions of the city with the Campidoglio or the Vatican, now began with Piazza Venezia.”

Mussolini speaking from the balcony of palazzo Venezia at the XVI anniversary of the foundation of the Fasci di Combattimento, March 20 1935. 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 on June 10, 1940 after Mussolini's declaration of war
[L]ate on the afternoon of 10 June Mussolini spoke from the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia to the crowd which had been hurriedly assembled - the order approving the demonstration had been given only the day before. " 'Destiny', the Duce announced, had decreed war: 'We go into the field against the plutocratic and reactionary democracies of the West, who have repeatedly blocked the march, and even threatened the existence of the Italian people'. 'Our conscience', he said, is 'absolutely clear'. 'Honour, self-interest and the future' could not be ignored. Mixing his metaphors, he explained; 'we want to snap the territorial and military chains which suffocate us in our sea. A people of forty-five million souls cannot really be free if it does not have free access to the Ocean'. Moreover, the Duce added, combining the rhetorics of Fascism and Nationalism, this gigantic struggle is only a phase in the logical development of our revolution; it is the struggle of a poor people against those who wish to starve us with their retention of all the riches and gold of the earth. It is a struggle of the fecund and young peoples against barren peoples slipping to their sunset.
Gen. Mark Clark and US Sec. of War Henry Stimson, July 4, 1944
It is the
struggle of two centuries and two ideas.' From Spain, Franco sent his cordial approval and the promise that he would at once alter Spain's position on the war to one of 'non- belligerency', with an implied promise that, for Spain, too, the present would prove just a staging post before entry on the (victorious) Axis side. More soulfully, Ciano jotted into his diary his reaction to the turn of events: 'I am sad, very sad. The adventure begins. May God help Italy.' With still greater insight, a retired liberal and nationalist diplomat wrote: 'Strange to say, the general feeling is one of relief. The trying period of uncertainty is over. The die is cast for better or for worse.' Or was the most telling omen the fact that 10 June 1940 was the sixteenth anniversary of the murder of Giacomo Matteotti? Mussolini had chosen to enter a perilous war with the incarnadine stain of that notorious crime still unwashed from his hands. Blood was indeed destined to call for blood.
Bosworth (369)

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.
As John Agnew wrote in The Impossible Capital: Monumental Rome under Liberal and Fascist Regimes, 1870-1943,
It was the elaborate stage-set provided by the Vittoriano which gave to Piazza Venezia its "dimensions and architectural language of epic theatre."  Commemorations here and in the vicinity (in the Roman Forum, for instance) were important ways in which the Fascist regime represented it represented itself to theItalian and to the world....
The Vittoriano was popularly derided from the start as a monstrosity deposited into a setting  in which it did not fit. The ambitious EUR scheme was never completed by the Fascist regime. Its future role as a pole of suburban office and residential development is hardly what its architects had in mind when they designed it.
Hitler and Mussolini standing on the steps leading up to the Vittoriano May 1938. 
Work on the Via del Mare in 1929 with the Victor Emmanuel Monument in the background on the left, and Drake Winston in front by Trajan's column.
At 16.30, 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.  Similar to the others in design and construction, it was composed of separate blocks (six in this case, each 141 by 261 centimetres) held together by metal clips and enclosed in a stone frame. The same marbles were used to colour the map in the same way, and the scale was the same. Since the new map extended deep into Africa, however, the fifth tablet turned out to be somewhat larger than the others, measuring 457 by 530 centimetres overall. The white marble plaque in the bottom left corner was also much larger; for instead of a simple title like the other maps, the Fascist map was to carry a lengthy inscription reproducing, under the title 'Fondazione dell'Impero', part of the decree of May 9, 1936 which established the Italian Empire and named King Victor Emmanuel of Italy as Emperor of Ethiopia. Antonio Mufioz, the Superintendent responsible for the original set of maps, was also responsible for the new map, the design of which bears his signature. The new map brought the Fascists' imperial project up to date, celebrating the conquest of Ethiopia as the event which finally established the Italian empire. It depicted current events rather than the ancient past. By the time it was ceremonially put into place on October 28 1936, the March had come to be described as the 'sacro all'annuale della Rivoluzione vittoriosa' [sacred to the annual of the victorious revolution]. The addition of another map to the wall of the Basilica of Maxentius on the annual day of commemoration cemented the connection between the maps and the ritual of the March. 
Photomontage from Italia Imperiale (Milan, La rivista illustrata del Popolo d'Italia, 1937), with the fifth map in the background and she wolf in foreground, now on a swastika-motif floor in the Capitoline with Drake Winston today. The fate of the fifth map was as inglorious as Mussolini's own. After his downfall in July 1943, the fifth map became the object of anti-Fascist sentiment and was defaced with red paint. In November 1944, after the liberation of Rome, the Commissione Storia ed Arte agreed it should be removed. Eventually, in November 1945, five months after Mussolini's death, the provisional government ratified the commission's decision, and the map was removed from the basilica wall and disappeared from view. Only in January 1998 was it rediscovered in the basement of the Theatre of Marcellus, not far from the former Via dell'Impero but on the other side of the Forum. At the time of writing, the Comune of Rome's intention is to reassemble the map, make good the missing parts, and put it once more on display; not, however, on the wall of the Basilica of Maxentius but on a specially designed sloping plinth in the courtyard of the Museo della Civilta Romana in EUR -another of Mussolini's monumental creations, built for the Esposizione Universale di Roma that had been planned, before the war, for 1942, but which never took place.
  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 metres in length and supported by columns of eighteen metres each. 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. to allow the impression of power and authority; 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. Construction of the new station came to a halt in 1942 before work had begun on the columned porticowith the current building being inaugurated in 1950.
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.
Hitler and Mussolini had reviewed youth and athletic groups at the Foro Mussolini during the former's visit in 1938, with 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 eighteen 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. American troops occupied the site after Rome’s liberation in 1944 and saved the obelisk from the destruction taking place throughout the city as Romans sought to erase the most obvious remnants of fascism and its leader.
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. 

In 1934, Mussolini still publicly favoured a modern style of architecture, but the bitter divisions over what constituted proper fascist style prevented a decision for this most fascist of all buildings. Mussolini revived the project in 1937 and suggested a new site on the recently widened and redesigned Viale Aventino, behind the new post office facing the Via Marmorata. The pressure for a more monumental and imperial style had grown since the war in Ethiopia and the declaration of the new fascist empire the year before, and “in three years, the consensus had moved dramatically away from Modernism.” In addition, the challenge of placing such a grandiose structure in the heart of the historic center proved a daunting task. The final decision in 1938 led to the site at the Foro Mussolini, just beyond the Stadio dei Marmi.The winning design by Del Debbio, Arnaldo Foschini, and Vittorio Morpurgo presented a huge building of 540,000 square meters in volume. It provided offices for all the hierarchy of the PNF, including a two-story space for the Duce. The building, 200 meters long, faced a piazza defined by arcades stretching out from both sides and designed to hold 600,000 people. The plan also included a memorial to the fallen fascists, a sacrario dei caduti fascisti, in front of the building on the main axis. The space, without the arcades or the sacrario, remains today, and the building, completed after the war, is substantially the original design minus a portico projecting over the central entrance. Referred to today as the Palazzo Farnesina, it has been the home of Italy’s foreign ministry since 1958. 
Painter (46-47) Mussolini's Rome
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 favoured in their own rallies in Germany. The show included massed formations of uniformed members of the Gioventù Italiana del Littorio forming an huge 'M' and then a swastika in the Olympic Stadium.
The Stadio dei Marmi opened in 1932 as part of the original nucleus and functioned as a centrepiece of activity throughout the 1930s. It had steady use for all sorts of party and youth groups. Pictures from the period feature muscular athletes in motion; fascist boys and girls performing precision gymnastics; and party leaders, led by Achille Starace, leaping through hoops of fire. When members of the Hitler Youth came to Rome, they made an appearance in the stadium, whose seating capacity was 20,000. The regime boasted of its up-to- date seating and equipment: “It is justly considered as one of the most imposing and important [stadiums] in the world.”
Painter (43) Mussolini’s Rome
The fascist statues remain in situ including this fascist soldier still on the march 
 
'The Skier' and Gorizia

The swimming pool remains unchanged, down to the paintwork on the walls. The first section of the building on the other side of the Monolito housed the Centre for Political Preparation. The next section held an indoor public swimming pool and the personal gymnasium of Mussolini, the Palestra del Capo del Governo. Del Debbio’s original plan included two indoor and three outdoor pools, although only one indoor pool was completed before the war. The regime recognised the scarcity of swimming pools in Rome and had ambitious plans to rectify the situation. The goal was to provide pools open to the public, as were the baths of ancient Rome. Mosaics and frescoes with appropriate athletic scenes adorned both the indoor pool and the Duce’s gym.
On via Marmorata is the Palazzo della Posta, shown on the left being inaugurated by Mussolini on October 28, 1935 and today with Drake Winston.
Mussolini presided at the opening of the new post office on the Via Marmorata, facing the Pyramid of Cestius and the Porta San Paolo. These same architects had designed the bold façade of the Exhibit of the Fascist Revolution that opened in 1932. The Aventine post office demonstrated that modern architecture still found favour in the Duce’s eyes. The U-shaped building had a columned portico on the front. In the eyes of architectural historians, it has maintained its place as an example of a “rationalist masterpiece.” A renovation completed several years ago restored the portico, which stretches seventy-eight meters and leads into the large concourse that one critic called “one of the most original spaces constructed in Rome in the 1930s."
Painter (67)
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 six 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 Felcirepresenting the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux.
Left: During its construction and today 
This was among the first buildings constructed, soon nicknamed the “Colosseo Quadrato,” the “Square Colosseum,” because of its six stories of arches. The architects were Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto La Padula, and Mario Romano. It remains to this day as the signature building for EUR. The inscription running across the top of the building celebrated “A People of Poets, Artists, Saints, Thinkers, Scientists, Sailors, Explorers.” It stands at one end of an axis with the Palace of Congresses (Palazzo dei Congressi) at the other. Adalberto Libera designed the latter, completed only after the war, and which is still used today assemblies and exhibits.
The Palazzo dei Congressi shown during its construction in an ad from 1939 from Bassanini, the Milanese company that built the Palazzo dei Congressi in Rome 1938-1940 and today, now more informally known as the Conference Centre. Libera managed to avoid the accentuated monumentalism of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana to produce a building outside the fascist framework. What is possibly the only part of it that betrays the period is the front colonnade which Libera claimed he was unable to avoid building despite his attempts. Nevertheless, Libera managed to work out a solution that, although partially compromising, took the prominence of the column's function and placed it almost in the background, reducing this element to a kind of pillar covered in travertine with more support than ornamental tasks.
The construction of the Palazzo dei Congressi, at least in its fundamental elements, was completed in 1943 but due to the war effectively stopped any work not completed until 1953. After the war the buildings of the EUR that had already been completed served first as a camp for German troops, then for the Anglo-Americans and finally, immediately after the war, as a refuge for displaced persons. After the war it was necessary to wait for the establishment of the EUR body to take over the existing infrastructures and redevelop the area, destined to become the directional aggregation point of the capital. Work on the Palazzo dei Congressi resumed in 1952; at the time, on the back wall of the atrium, there was already an allegorical fresco by Achille Funi for the atrium entitled All Roads Lead to Rome, depicting a triumphant Rome. This obviously being an embarassment, subsequent works by Gino Severini resulted in a painting on masonite depicting moments of rural life, to match the theme with the Agriculture exhibition which was held in 1953 in the EUR buildings. Given its large size, the palazzo hosted the fencing and the fencing part of the modern pentathlon events for the 1960 Summer Olympics.
The Palazzo degli Uffici dell’Ente Autonomo, designed by Gaetano Minnucci, was the first completed building of EUR.  It was finished in 1939 andis 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, is the most important work of all the decorative cycle of the building. The former Futurist Gino Severini was among those artists and artisans who collaborated with architects to produce mosaics, frescos, and sculptures that would give contemporary buildings an undeniably Italian stamp. Inaugurating a conference on the relationship of architecture and the decorative arts that was attended by Le Corbusier, the Academy official Carlo Formichi asserted that “every people can and must have different desires in art that depend not only on their race but also on their climate and general life conditions. The result is an artistic nationalism that often goes hand in hand with political nationalism and is certainly no less consequential.”
Of all the external decoration of the building, the sculptural element that remains unchanged from its original design is the bronze statue by Italo Griselli placed at the entrance to the police station. The Genius of 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 one can recognise 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 three hundred 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. 

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 Cæsar, 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.
The two sides of Roman architecture, the honorific and the practical, sit side by side at Trajan’s Forum. One of Fascism’s best services to archaeology was the freeing of the large complex to the north of Trajan’s Forum known as Trajan’s Market, which had long been partly visible, built onto and surrounded by later structures. The ancient development was carried out in a densely settled part of the city where it dug into a steep hillside to create a whole connected mini-district in brick-faced concrete with its own internal streets lined by what are usually taken to be shops. Many of these small units are incorporated in larger groupings, most interestingly on two levels branching out from a vaulted hall. This element has been called the first shopping mall, but other spaces may have served non-commercial functions, like the large apsed spaces, perhaps lecture halls served by the libraries in Trajan’s Forum, according to Coarelli. Richardson does not accept the whole idea of public–private mixed-use development. For him the ‘Market’ is offices not shops, a bureaucratic warren from which the empire was governed.
 
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. 

Mussolini addressing the Fascist Militia inside the Colosseum October 1930 on the occasion of the eighth anniversary of the march on Rome.
During the war and today