Impressions of Fascist Architecture on Modern Rome

Having learned a few things about Fascist architecture before I came to Rome I already had a bit of an understanding of what it consisted of and the importance of it. It was not, however, until getting here that I really started to understand the deeper meaning behind it all. With our site of the Ara Pacis Museum being located in an area surrounding by Fascist buildings constructed and altered by Mussolini it is easy to see the power and presence this type of architecture has. It has also begun increasingly easier to pick out Fascist architecture whenever I am walking around or to question if something looks Fascist or not. The use of classical ideas and forms executed in a modern way help give this style its own character and help it stand out from the layers of history that surround it while creating its own. When you really think about it, it is not surprising that Mussolini wanted to leave behind a legacy or building tradition that would help him be remembered long after he was gone. This is the exact same thing all the ancient Roman emperors would do and he wanted to be just like them.

It will be interesting to see what comes of fascist architecture in the future though. At this point in time there are still people alive from when he was in power and that still like what he did as a leader. There is no doubt that a majority of the things he did during his reign were terrible and because of that it will be interesting to see if that in a few generations buildings constructed by him are torn down just because they were built under Fascism. Italy does pretty well with preserving their history, as well as, making it anew.  The Ara Pacis Museum is a perfect example of a Mussolini building that was torn down in place of another, new building with the same function. The original building was not torn down just because it was built during the Mussolini era, they had an excuse: it was not up to environmental standards and the monument was deteriorating. This is certainly true but given the circumstances surrounding its demolition and the construction of the new museum part of the reason it was torn down was simply because the current mayor of Rome did not like the building. The things Mussolini did while he was the dictator of Italy, for better or for worse have left a profound impact on both cultural and physical landscapes of the country. Actions such as tearing up the area around the Forum and displacing all of those who lived there to construct the Via dei Fori Imperiale were terrible and created massive housing problems and discontent amongst the population but others, like clearing out the area around the Mausoleum of Augustus and removing the theater from the top of it to return the monument to a portion of its original form were arguably more positive. Sure for the most part the bad things he did outweigh the good but sometimes we just have to look at things for what they are worth.

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