Benito Mussolini

The hidden gem of EUR

IMG_20150228_151245

Palazzo Dei Congressi

 

 

 

 

With the upcoming EXPO I have been thinking a lot about the layout of the would be Rome EXPO of 1942, however as it was never used, there has still never been a World Expo here in Rome, although it has been hosted in Italy four times.

Benito Mussolini, in is hopes of expanding his fascist empire and building a new Rome, as well as in his desire to display the greatness of Italian power to the world, attempted to hold a world exposition here in Rome. It was to be held in 1942, on the 20th anniversary of his March on Rome.  In 1937 construction began to build this new city which would hold this exposition.

The project was called E42 or Esposizione 1942. It was to be built along the Via Imperiale that stretched from the Altare della Patria all the way to Ostia. Today this road is broken into Viale dei Imperiali and Via Cristoforo Colombo.

At the same time as this project, Mussolini worked to clear out the center of historic Rome. He believed this would solve two problems. The first was opening the historic Rome, as an image of italianita and grandeur, the second would solve his problem of necessity for modern buildings and housing.

EUR, as it is known today, was Rome’s first major reinvention. While many other cities continuously changed and renovated, Rome was the same as it had always been. This development was a push forward to bring Rome to the same modern field as all other capital cities.

Mussolini entrusted the design of this new city to Marcello Piacentini, a young architect who was the leading designer of fascist architecture. His work was Reactionary, Imperialistic, and Monumental. EUR became a meeting point for Rationalist and Antique architecture, mixing functionality with ancient motifs.

Everything about this city was to mirror Centro Storico. It included elements that paid homage to ancient structures such as the Colosseum and the Forum of Augustus. The entire message of the city is one of authority. This area has been used in a number of films depicting future societies including Equilibrium.

Although the Exposition never occurred, the area was salvaged around the later 1950’s and was reused. EUR served as presentation space during the 1960 Olympics. To this day EUR still functions as an industrial and office space of the city. Recently Fendi has taken the Palazzo della Civilita as its official Rome headquarters.

Unfortunately, the beauty of this area is not often realized as it is so far out of the city. EUR can be reached through Metro and is definitely worth a visit if you have the time. Although it is filled with Fascist propaganda architecture, the locals have forgotten this heritage, and choose to appreciate the area for it’s beautiful architecture.  “You can’t reject those past 50years because intelligent people made art and it’s still art, whatever its flaws are. It’s not the ideology that matters it’s the art, one cannot forget or cross out history.” Director of the Luigi Piggorini Museum, found in EUR.

20150228_122152

 

20150228_125413

San Pietro e San Paolo, climb up this ramp for one of the greatest views of Rome.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Exploring Garbatella

GarbatellaThe last Roman neighborhood, Garbatella, meaning the well-mannered innkeeper, an area that manages to be both incredibly lively and peaceful at the same time. There is a reason it is on the top of every “off the beaten path in Rome” list. This neighborhood will stick with you.

Garbatella is a puzzle of public housing, some made quick and cheap, some designed in the manner of an English Garden, some staying true to the fascist architecture. One of the greatest sites to wander through are the many lotti, apartment blocks which are built around communal gardens.

Garbatella offers many culinary experiences from the classic bars featured in Passolini’s work to the trattorias which offer a different menu every day, depending on the fresh ingredients available. There is also a food market found behind teatro palladium, it is up every weekend throughout the day. One of my greatest finds there was balsamic honey, perfect on bread, or for medicinal purposes as well.

A.S. Roma is the team of choice here, and they won’t let you forget it, murals to the team, tasteful grafiti with the symbol of the wolf. The passion for the team, with the colors of red and orange decorating every corner, holds your attention and inspires you as you walk through.

Lotto of GarbatellaThough not as ancient as centro storico, this  area holds much history. Built up under Mussolini to serve as a suburb to rome, the houses were commissioned by the Public Housing team. different architects worked on them at different times, this is clear in the changing styles, throughout the blocks.

When the allies bombed this area took a small hit, and it managed to stop the clock that stands on top of the “Red Hotel”. No one ever bothered to fix it, so it stands as a reminder to the event.

Also found in Garbatella is Eataly, which I do recommend stopping at for a treat! I also recommend Lavazza Tierra coffee, which I found only there.

The truth is Garbatella’s beauty cannot be described through words, and you ought to see it for yourself. Go get lost, but if you need a little more structure, I recommend the tour found in Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler.

Lotto Signs in Garbatella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windows in Garbatella

What would you like to see in Rome?

Something a little different, I need some feedback from all of you and you friends, family, etc!

I am in a Cultural Heritage Management class and our final project is to come up with a plan to regenerate an area of Rome. These final plans will then be presented in front of ICCROM at their headquarters and have a potential for being picked up as a real project. For those of you who do not know who ICCROM is, they are an organization which works to conserve cultural heritage, they are one of the more successful organization working with UNESCO. You can check out more of what they do here: http://www.iccrom.org/

All of us already have a plan in mind, however it would be great to hear from people planning on visiting, who might have experienced or will experience the city differently from us. The point it to bring in more tourism to this area, so an idea of outsiders interests would be wonderful!

Here are the areas and idea’s for plans(apologies for lack of quality photos this area was difficult.):

1. An Airplane Hanger from the 1930’s. It was a personal gift from Hitler to Mussolini and held many of the small planes of WWII. It is empty and abandoned now, on one side is a car park for Roman police vehicles. Ideas that have been proposed for this area are mainly exhibition spaces, another museum similar to Montemartini, or maybe a gathering spot/restaurant with planes of the era to set a theme.

Inside of the Hanger

Inside of the Hanger

Looking in through the fence this is the present state of the hanger.

Looking in through the fence this is the present state of the hanger.

The outside entrance from the side of the Police car lot

The outside entrance from the side of the Police car lot

2. Pontifical Arsenal of the Baroque Period. This is set along the river, but with trees and overgrown areas blocking the view. It is an open space but has potential to be enclosed. It has two gates for Entry. This used to hold boats, when they were being repaired on Rome’s river Port. Post WWII it was the area where one could find stolen bicycles, made famous in the film  Ladri di Bicicletta. This street is used as a market on Sunday, however the building is closed off. I plan to present this with a long-term and short-term plan. Short term: put up walls, and turn it into a large warehouse coffeehouse, with Italian style bar, and music playing every few nights. Use this to raise money for the long-term plan. The long-term plan would be to cut the surrounding trees to open the view, add a second floor, have the ground floor as a bar and restaurant with the upstairs an exhibition space.

Front of he building from across the road.

Front of he building from across the road.

We were not allowed in but it is possible to see the slightly buttressed style inside.

We were not allowed in but it is possible to see the slightly buttressed style inside.

The back of the building as seen from the back yard of the store next door.

The back of the building as seen from the back yard of the store next door.

Through the gate it is possible to see a little more of the front end.

Through the gate it is possible to see a little more of the front end.

3. Roman Emporium, unfortunately I do not have pictures of this as it is under scaffolding. It it is a few ruined arches alongside the river, it can only be used in Summer as it is along the river and the river often floods. It needs constant cleaning, has a few ceilings and is very important to the Roman history of this area. We are lost on plans for this except the possibility to integrate it into a summer bar as it is beside two night life areas.

4. The GIL, a youth fascist building. Presently this is a great example of architecture of the Fascist period, done by Luigi Moretti, a famous architect of the time. Walls have been added inside to separate the part of the building owned by Commune di Roma and Regione Lazio. Roma’s side is a gym and pool, complete with soccer fields outside. Lazios side is an exhibition space for presently photography, then there are many open rooms available for use, including a movie theater.  The plans presented for this were to open the surrounding area to better accentuate the architecture, then possibly an outdoor bar, and make it a community building, connecting the two sides.

The front of the building, this is the half that belongs to Regione Lazio

The front of the building, this is the half that belongs to Regione Lazio

Inside the exhibition space

Inside the exhibition space

Left over decoration from Mussolini

Left over decoration from Mussolini

083

So please tell us if you would be interested in any of these ideas! And if you have other ideas that would more likely bring you to this area please share them! We are trying to come up with a reachable plan that will bring tourists to the great historic area of Rome.