Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Roma Mussolini-Style

The 1942 World’s Fair was never held, due to World War II. However, Mussolini planned ahead, and had at least begun some of the buildings for the Fair. Out near where my friend lives, north of Vatican City, there’s a completed stadium and natatoria (painted salmon pink, with big, muscle-ripped statues). In front of these is a large stone obelisk that reads: Mussolini Dux. It floored me.

But on Saturday, my friend and I ventured to the part of Rome that Mussolini planned to be his model city. Much of it wasn’t completed until after his death. It’s called EUR, an acronym for Esposizione Universale Roma. It is an odd amalgam of styles- a kitschy tip-of-the-hat to Caesar’s Rome, with all the soulfulness of an aging office park. We had just come from St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, so it really couldn’t compare, I suppose. EUR’s main buildings are built around Piazza Marconi.

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