At the time of writing, Bulgari, the world-famous Italian jewellery company, is busy transforming a palazzo in the heart of Rome into a five-star luxury hotel.
The palazzo, which stands in Piazza Augusto Imperatore and dates back to the Fascist era, once housed the Istituto Nazionale Fascista Previdenza, a social security institution that later became the Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale.
Piazza Augusto Imperatore, with the Mausoleum of Augustus at its centre, was created by Mussolini to celebrate the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of the emperor Augustus (63 BCE-14 CE).
The Latin inscription reads:
HVNC LOCVM VBI AVGVSTI MANES VOLITANT PER AVRAS
POSTQVAM IMPERATORIS MAVSOLEUM EX SAECVLORVM TENEBRIS
EST EXTRACTVM ARAEQVE PACIS DISIECTA MEMBRA REFECTA
MUSSOLINI DVX VETERIBVS ANGVSTIIS DELETIS SPLENDIDIORIBVS
VIIS AEDIFICIIS AEDIBVS AD HVMANITATIS MORES APTIS
ORNANDUM CENSVIT ANNO MDCCCCXL A F. R. XVIII
(This is the place where the soul of Augustus flies through the breezes, after the mausoleum of the emperor was extracted from the darkness of the ages and the scattered pieces of the altar of peace were restored, Mussolini the leader ordered the old narrow places to be destroyed and the location to be adorned with streets, buildings, and shrines fitting for the ways of humanity in the year 1940, in the eighteenth year of the Fascist Era).
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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