In the area of Rome known as EUR stands the most famous icon of Fascist architecture, the Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro.
Better known as the Colosseo Quadrato (Square Colosseum), it was designed by Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano and built between 1938 and 1943. It was originally called the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, but was later renamed the Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro.
The palazzo is made up of a series of six loggias, each with nine arches. The two numbers are said to be an allusion to the number of letters in the name of the Fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini (1882-1945).
Atop all four sides of the building runs the inscription: VN POPOLO DI POETI DI ARTISTI DI POETI DI EROI / DI SANTI DI PENSATORI DI SCIENZIATI / DI NAVIGATORI DI TRANSMIGRATORI (A nation of poets, of artists, of heroes, of saints, of thinkers, of scientists, of navigators, of travellers), a quotation from one of Mussolini's speeches.
The 28 colossal marble statues (3.4 m high), which stand in the arches at the base of the palazzo, personify a variety of arts and crafts.
The 'Square Colosseum' sits on a square stepped podium, at the corners of which stand statues of Castor and Pollux, the work of Publio Morbiducci and Alberto Felci.
The Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro is now the headquarters of the fashion company, Fendi.
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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