The Via della Conciliazione (Way of Conciliation), the broad thoroughfare that leads to St Peter's Basilica, was built between 1936 and 1950. The road was initiated by Mussolini to celebrate the accord reached in 1929 between his government and the papacy, which settled the so-called Roman question.
On February 11th, 1929, the world's smallest sovereign state came into being with the signing of the Lateran Treaty.
In order to create the Via della Conciliazione, a small medieval area known as the Spina di Borgo was completely destroyed. The road was designed by the Fascist architect Marcello Piacentini (1881-1960) and construction continued long after Mussolini's death in 1945. It was completed in time for the Jubilee of 1950.
Since the facades of the buildings lining the road did not align perfectly, Piacentini erected traffic islands along both sides, complete with rows of stone obelisks (doubling up as lampposts), in order to create the illusion of a perfectly straight thoroughfare.
Blogging about Rome:
its art, history and culture.
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 and
small-group walking tours
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