« Rome, 1943 »
The Palace of Italian Civilisation, also called the Colosseo Quadrato (Square Colosseum) by Rome’s inhabitants, is one of the most iconic buildings of Italian culture and without doubt one of the greatest success stories of 20th-century architecture.
With its solid appearance punctuated by the faultless repetition of rows of archways (206 in total), the building seems to project us into a De Chirico painting. Situated in the EUR district and originally conceived for the universal exhibition of 1942 that was to be held in the Italian capital to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Mussolini’s march on Rome (1922), this building remains one of the best symbols of Fascist art. Between references to the glorious past of ancient Rome and modern minimalism, the work perfectly synthesises the great strains of Italian art and architecture appropriated by Benito Mussolini from the 1920s. From rationalism, he took the repetition of structure and a general minimalism of composition. From Novecento, he took the structure of curved archways from Roman classicism and statuary – very close to the canons of Art Deco yet immersed in highly Italian symbolism.
Palazzo della civiltà Italiana, Photographer: Helene Binet
Today the Palace is the headquarter of Fendi couture, but you can tour the ground floor and its regular exhibitions… Unmissable.