Via della Conciliazione, 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 Via della Conciliazione, a small medieval area known as the Spina di Borgo was completely destroyed. The road was designed by the architects Marcello Piacentini (1881-1960) and Attilio Spaccarelli (1890-1976), and construction continued long after Mussolini's death in 1945.
Since the facades of the buildings on either side of the new road did not align perfectly, traffic islands were erected along both sides, complete with rows of stone obelisks (doubling up as lampposts), in order to create the illusion of a perfectly straight thoroughfare.
Via della Conciliazione was finally completed in the Holy Year of 1950.
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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