It comes as a surprise to most people to learn that a 36-metre-high monument to Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), Italy's infamous Fascist dictator, which was erected in 1932, is still standing!
The Obelisco di Mussolini, also known as Il Monolito (The Monolith), was inaugurated on November 4th, 1932 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Fascist regime.
Designed by the architect Constantino Constantini (1904-1982), Mussolini's Obelisk stands outside the entrance to the Foro Italico, a sports complex built between 1928 and 1938, which was originally called the Foro Mussolini.
The upper part of the monument is made out of a single piece of Carrara marble, while the lower part is made up of blocks of the same marble.
The monument bears two inscriptions: MUSSOLINI DVX and OPERA BALILLA ANNO X. Dux is Latin for Duce (leader), the title that Mussolini adopted, while the second inscription refers to the Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB), the Fascist youth organisation, and year ten of the Fascist era.
Mussolini’s obelisk is now known as the Obelisco del Foro Italico.
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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