Excavating Modernity: The Roman Past In Fascist Italy 0801449987, 9780801449987

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Excavating Modernity: The Roman Past In Fascist Italy
 0801449987,  9780801449987

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Josh ua Arthurs


Copyright © 2012 by Cornell University All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in a review, this book, or parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher. For information, address Cornell University Press, Sage House, 512 East State Street, Ithaca, New York 14850. First published 2012 by Cornell University Press Printed in the United States of America Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Arthurs, Joshua, 1975– Excavating modernity : the Roman past in fascist Italy / Joshua Arthurs. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-8014-4998-7 (cloth : alk. paper) 1. Archaeology and state—Italy—History—20th century. 2. Fascism and culture—Italy—History—20th century. 3. Italy—Civilization—Roman influences. 4. Italy—Historiography—20th century. 5. Museum exhibits—Political aspects—Italy—History—20th century. I. Title. CC101.I8A78 2012 930.1093—dc23 2012001334 Cornell University Press strives to use environmentally responsible suppliers and materials to the fullest extent possible in the publishing of its books. Such materials include vegetable-based, low-VOC inks and acid-free papers that are recycled, totally chlorine-free, or partly composed of nonwood fibers. For further information, visit our website at www.cornellpress.cornell.edu. Cloth printing

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List of Illustrations Acknowledgments

ix xi

List of Abbreviations




1. The Third Rome and Its Discontents, 1848–1922


2. Science and Faith: The Istituto di Studi Romani, 1922–1929


3. History and Hygiene in Mussolini’s Rome, 1925–1938 50 4. The Totalitarian Museum: The Mostra Augustea della Romanità, 1937–1938 5. Empire, Race, and the Decline of Romanità, 1936–1945 Conclusion Notes

125 151


Bibliography Index






1. Editorial cartoon from Roma futurista, 1918 2. Inauguration of the 1930 academic year at the Istituto di Studi Romani 3. The Augusteo symphony hall in the early stages of demolitions, 1937 4. Mussolini inaugurates the demolitions for Piazzale Augusto Imperatore, 1934 5. The Mausoleum of Augustus after excavations 6. The Theater of Marcellus, 1925 7. Via del Mare and the Theater of Marcellus, 1933 8. Inauguration of the Mostra Augustea della Romanità, 1937 9. Mostra Augustea della Romanità, façade of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni 10. Mostra Augustea della Romanità, room III 11. Mostra Augustea della Romanità, Temple of Augustus at Ancyra 12. Front cover of La Difesa della Razza, 1939 13. Propaganda leaflet from the Italian Social Republic

20 40 70 71 73 78 79 98 102 104 111 138 149


Ack nowledgments

Like Rome, this book was not built in a day; it is also not the work of the author alone. It was only made possible by support from mentors, colleagues, friends, and loved ones too numerous to name here. My first mentor on this project was Andrew Szegedy-Maszak of the Classics Department at Wesleyan University. Thanks to him, I embarked on the long and rewarding journey of studying the classical tradition. This path took me to graduate study in the Department of History at the University of Chicago. I would like to thank Michael Geyer for his indefatigable curiosity and his desire to challenge me constantly. He has defined the way I think about history. I am hugely indebted to Anthony Cardoza, who not only provided expertise in Italian Fascism but gave me a tremendous amount of moral support. I also appreciate the help of Victoria De Grazia and Richard Saller, who despite their many commitments contributed greatly to this work. John Ackerman and Cornell University Press have been wonderful to work with throughout the publication process. I would like to thank many colleagues for their encouragement and input over the years. At the University of Chicago, this included Alan Barenberg, Naomi Davidson, John Deak, Kathy Levitan, Greg Malandrucco, Tania Maync, Ben Nickels, and the other members of the Modern Europe workshop. I also thank the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University, where I spent two productive years as a postdoctoral fellow alongside the likes of Laura Kalba, Charles Lipp, Tom Rushford, Claire Salinas, Rebecca Scales, and Matt Specter. I am indebted to my colleagues in the Department of History at West Virginia University, who made the completion of this manuscript possible. I am incredibly fortunate to have found such a welcoming community, including Katherine Aaslestad, Nate Andrade, Robert Blobaum, Tyler Boulware, Peter Carmichael, Ryan Claycomb, Liz and Ken Fones-Wolf, Brian Luskey, Kate Staples, and Matt Vester. Along the way, I have benefited from the input of many helpful scholars. The following list is far from exhaustive: Nadia Abu El-Haj, Leora Auslander, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Richard Bosworth, Alexander De Grand, Michael Dietler, Sheila Fitzpatrick, Claudio Fogu, Mia Fuller, Aaron Gillette, Jan xi



Goldstein, Roger Griffin, Michael Herzfeld, Andrea Mammone, Elizabeth Marlowe, Cristina Mazzoni, Borden Painter Jr., Stanislao Pugliese, Molly Tambor, and Nadia Zonis. This book would not have been possible without the cooperation of many librarians, archivists, curators, and directors. In Rome, I would like to thank the Museo della Civiltà Romana, and above all Dr. Clotilde D’Amato, for their assistance, interest, and patience as I worked through the records of the Mostra Augustea della Romanità. I also appreciate the cooperation of Dr. Eugenio La Rocca, superintendent of cultural patrimony for the city of Rome. Thanks also to the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Romani, and especially to librarian Laura Bertolaccini. I also benefited from the expertise of personnel at the Archivio Centrale dello Stato, the Archivio Storico Capitolino, the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, and the Biblioteca di Storia Moderna e Contemporanea. In Chicago, thanks to the libraries of the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the Newberry. In Miami, I worked with the collections of the Wolfsonian and Florida International University, with the special assistance of Frank Luca, Nicholas Blaga, Jon Mogul, and Silvia Ros. The staff of the European Reading Room at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, were also very helpful. Thanks also to Alba Hernandez and Alinari Archives for their assistance with acquiring images. Research for this book was made possible by the generous support of the Department of History and the Division of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago; the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Fondazione Lemmermann in Rome; the Wolfsonian Research Fellowship program; and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University. I thank my family, for so long a source of insight, encouragement, and love. My father, to whom this book is dedicated, was my first faculty advisor, and throughout this process served as both thoughtful interlocutor and eagle-eyed copy editor. While I will never equal my mother’s aesthetic sensibility, I have little doubt that her eye for landscape and architecture had a formative influence on this work—that and her perfectionism. I was also fortunate enough to grow up with a brother whose brilliance and ingenuity inspires me in my own creative enterprises. Scholarship is an emotional roller-coaster, and my wife, Malayna, has been on board from the beginning of the ride. This book is inconceivable without her. Together we have built a life of love, learning, and purpose. I cannot wait to see what we achieve next—both individually and together. And while I am proud of this work, it pales in comparison to the pride I have in our greatest creations, Eli and Carlo. Their joy, humor, and intelligence are the fuel that sustains me every day.

A bbrevi ati ons


Antichità e Belle Arti (Antiquities and Fine Arts) Archivio Centrale dello Stato (Central State Archives, Rome) Affari Generali (General Affairs) Archivio Storico Capitolino (Capitoline Archives, Rome) busta (box) Congressi Convegni Mostre (Congresses, Meetings and Exhibitions) CO Corrispondenza Ordinaria (Regular Correspondence) Div. Divisione (Division) EUR Esposizione Universale di Roma (Universal Exhibition of Rome) fasc. fascicolo (folder) Gab. Gabinetto (cabinet) ISR Istituto di Studi Romani (Institute of Roman Studies) MAR Mostra Augustea della Romanità (Augustan Exhibition of Romanità) MCR Museo della Civiltà Romana (Museum of Roman Civilization) MEN Ministero di Educazione Nazionale (Ministry of National Education) MinCulPop Ministero di Cultura Popolare (Ministry of Popular Culture) MIR Museo dell’Impero Romano (Museum of the Roman Empire) MPI Ministero di Pubblica Istruzione (Ministry of Public Instruction) OND Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (National After-Work Organization) PCM Presidenza del Consiglio di Ministri (Prime Minister’s Office) PNF Partito Nazionale Fascista (National Fascist Party) Rip. X Ripartizione X (Division X) RS Raccolta Stampa (Press Collection) sotto. sottofascicolo (subfolder) SPD Segreteria Particolare del Duce (Mussolini’s Secretariat)




On April 21, 1922, Benito Mussolini marked the 2,675th anniversary of the legendary founding of Rome. The Eternal City, he announced, was Fascism’s point of departure and our point of reference; it is our symbol or, if you prefer, our myth. We dream of a Roman Italy, wise and strong, disciplined and imperial. Much of what was once the immortal spirit of Rome has risen again in Fascism: our Littorio is Roman, our military organization is Roman, our pride and our courage are Roman. Civis Romanus Sum.1 Six months later, this “dream” was realized as legions of blackshirted squadristi marched on the capital, marking Mussolini’s ascent to power. Over the next two decades, the Fascist regime tried to refashion the nation into a new body politic guided by “the immortal spirit of Rome.” Mussolini’s “New” Italy, though resolutely an expression of twentieth-century modernity, would be guided by the moral, political, and aesthetic values of classical antiquity. To this day, Fascism’s appropriation of the Roman past remains one of the most familiar and enduring aspects of Mussolini’s regime. When students encounter Fascist Italy in their surveys of European history, it is often in reference to Il Duce’s grandiose fantasies of Mare Nostrum and the resurrection of the Roman Empire. Romanità—translated variously as “Romanness,” 1



“Romanity,” “the idea of Rome,” or “the Roman spirit”—was indeed a key feature of Fascism’s self-representation, from its origins in the aftermath of the First World War to its demise in the Second.2 The Italian military was reorganized into maniples, centuries, and cohorts, each with its own battle standard; imperial eagles and she-wolves adorned lapel pins, postage stamps, and sewer grates. The regime built neoclassical monuments in white marble and excavated ancient ruins across the peninsula. And of course there is the term fascismo itself, derived from the Roman fasces, the bundle of rods bound to an ax.3 Once carried by the ancient lictors, they represented strength in unity and the state’s power of capital punishment. The etymological connection was reinforced by the adoption of the fasces as the fascio littorio, the official symbol of the Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF, the National Fascist Party), found in every corner of public and private life. And yet, precisely because of its ubiquity, romanità has often been a source of derision, dismissed as “the necromantic cult of an entombed civilization” and “macabre Roman masquerades.”4 It has been cast as the ultimate manifestation of Fascism’s absurdity and pomposity, a theatrical regime for a theatrical race, directed by a buffoonish “Sawdust Caesar.”5 To many, the idea of Rome masked a lack of ideological coherence and rational policy, and seduced Italy into foreign escapades for which it was unprepared. This book challenges the notion that romanità amounted to little more than bombast, and emphasizes its centrality to the political culture of Italian Fascism. It argues that Fascism’s appropriation of the Roman past should be understood not as empty posturing, or even nostalgia for a distant golden age, but as a revolutionary project for modernity, a coherent language with which to articulate aspirations for the contemporary world. For Giuseppe Bottai, one of the regime’s most influential leaders, Fascism represented “not a restoration but a renovation, a revolution in the idea of Rome”;6 to the interwar archaeologist Carlo Cecchelli, “the vestiges of romanità are, above all else, ferment for life. They bear witness to a great past that does not just resolve itself in the present; they are signs of a millennial nobility that has become current again, and will develop itself further in the future.”7 Projected through scientific practices like archaeology and museum display, inscribed in the city’s physical fabric, and buttressed by scholarly authority and state patronage, romanità was an important part of the regime’s broader project of refashioning Italy and Italians. Directed internally, it was the source for the core Fascist virtues of authority, discipline, and hierarchy. Rome provided a model of cultural homogeneity and political unity that would bind together the peninsula’s disparate identities; it offered precedents for the “totalitarian” state, the organization of mass culture, and the role of the transformative



leader. The “new man”—homo fascistus—to be engineered by Fascism was a modern incarnation of the Roman legionary, the epitome of the virile citizen-soldier. This historical vision was also crucial for articulating Fascism’s place in the wider world. The classical past bolstered claims of civilizational primacy, and was used to justify Italy’s position alongside the great powers of Europe; it inspired fantasies of colonial empire and a postwar New Order. At the same time, romanità served as a vocabulary of anxiety. Fears about population decline, revolution, and social hygiene were mapped onto the barbarian invasions and the fall of Rome. Solutions to these problems were similarly echoed in ancient citizenship laws, marriage legislation, and classical aesthetics. Within the ideological nexus of Italian Fascism, romanità was thus an expansive concept that straddled time and space, past and present, the realm of ideas and material culture. Rome was conceived simultaneously as a timeless, immutable set of spiritual values and as a plastic space to be molded through modern technology; as thousands of years old yet providing a blueprint for contemporary life. Enacting this “revolution in the idea of Rome” not only involved the aesthetic invocation of classical antiquity. It required an “excavation,” an active intervention that redeemed the past for the present. This process could be literal, as with the reconstruction of buildings and monuments; however, it also functioned as a key rhetorical strategy. The topography of the ancient city was approached as a living organism to be revived, consonant with the exigencies of the modern metropolis. Invigorated by Fascist ideology and the financial support of the regime, historians and classicists would assert their primacy in the study of antiquity, revising centuries of foreign distortions. Instead of remaining ensconced in the ivory tower, they would serve as foot soldiers in the struggle to mobilize hearts and minds. Through the application of new techniques and technologies, museums would be transformed from inaccessible repositories of dusty artifacts into instruments of mass education and social control. Through such “excavatory” interventions, the Roman spirit would be liberated from the vagaries of time and actualized in a new type of modern society.

Fascism, Modernity, History In making these claims, I am engaging with ongoing debates over the nature of Fascist ideology and its relationship to modernity and history. During Mussolini’s years in power, many critics saw Fascism as a form of authoritarian reaction and imperial militarism. Replicating the Duce’s own insistence on the supremacy of actions over words, they were largely unwilling to ap-



proach Fascism in intellectual terms and dismissed its cultural expressions as vacuous propaganda. This stance continued in the decades after the Second World War. The dominant anti-Fascist view, coined by Norberto Bobbio, was that “where there was culture there wasn’t fascism, where there was fascism there wasn’t culture. There never was a fascist culture.”8 Romanità was often identified as the quintessence of the regime’s irrationality and artifice. Writing in 1945, Paolo Nalli condemned the idea of Rome as “an incurable syphilis . . . a cancer”; it appealed only to those “whose intellectual level is exactly equal to that of a Negro who runs to the village witch-doctor to cure sleeping sickness.”9 To the postwar architecture critic Bruno Zevi, classicism was “the façade of sham power trying to appear invulnerable.”10 No less than Benedetto Croce described romanità as “words whose virtue lay in their very vacuity.”11 In recent years, however, scholars have problematized this rejection of Fascist political culture qua culture, and have emphasized its revolutionary and modernist orientation. Ruth Ben-Ghiat has convincingly shown that the concept of bonifica—reclamation or regeneration—was central to Fascism’s vision of modernity, and underpinned initiatives ranging from the draining of malarial marshlands to colonial conquest. These measures were all expressions of a “‘therapeutic’ approach to governance . . . an array of social, scientific, and cultural policies designed to encourage the ‘regeneration’ of the national body.”12 Roger Griffin similarly argues that both Italian Fascism and German Nazism were “political variant[s] of modernism”;13 he highlights their shared sense of Aufbruch—a “breaking open,” a transcendent “new beginning”—that would overcome the malaise of European society. Fascism would inaugurate a “New Era,” establish a “New Order,” and create a “New Man.” Emilio Gentile and Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi approach Mussolini’s regime as an expression of a “new politics,” respectively arguing that it effected a “sacralization” or an “aestheticization” of public life through myth, ritual, and spectacle.14 Hand in hand with this new emphasis on Fascism’s “modernity” has been a revised understanding of its conceptions of history and temporality. Claudio Fogu in particular has explored its “historic imaginary . . . the ensemble of mental icons in which the historic essence of fascism was imagined and from which it was projected into visual and ritual representations that aimed at making the past present.”15 This vision championed the historic over the historical; that is, it celebrated Fascism as a self-actualizing maker of history, rather than the product of diachronic historical development.16 Mabel Berezin makes a related point when she describes a “ritual colonization of time,” whereby the regime “punctuated the rhythm” of daily life through mass ceremony and spectacular events.17 Mark Antliff argues that Fascism



opposed the secular “‘clock time’ of capitalism,” and posited in its stead an alternative time scale that was epic and transcendent.18 Despite their different emphases, these analyses share the view that Fascism was indeed a revolutionary ideology. While it rejected Enlightenment ideals of human equality and universal reason, it both responded to and proposed a radical alternative for the modern world. Even as it rejected the degeneracy of contemporary society, it expressed the modernist drive to implement a “project,” to shape and dominate space, time, and bodies. My work shares these fundamental premises, and—seemingly paradoxically— seeks to extend them to the problem of Fascism’s relationship to the ancient past. To date, the study of romanità has yet to benefit fully from the sophisticated cultural engagement of recent literature. In making the case for “Fascist modernism,” scholars tend to stress the regime’s support of avant-garde movements like Futurism or its embrace of modern technologies like aviation and cinema. By contrast, the cult of Rome is still seen as “bombastic” and “backward-looking,” an expression of the regime’s lurch to the right in the late thirties.19 It remains the irrational, retrograde side of Fascism’s Janus face, or alternatively a concession to conservatives brought into the fold of the regime.20 At best, romanità was the exploitation of obvious historical symbols, “a sea in which anyone could go fishing, for any occasion. A reference, a justification, some noble title: Rome was there, like an inexhaustible hunting ground.”21 My goal is therefore to integrate romanità into current discussions about Fascist culture and its relationship to modernity. Rome was a central component of Fascist self-representation at all points in its development, and cannot solely be understood in terms of Axis militarism or imperialist posturing. More than window dressing or reactionary atavism, romanità was an essential aspect of the regime’s program of revolutionary modernization. This insight, however, should not be confused with any form of apologia or valorization.22 The Fascist project was profoundly repressive and brutal. In the name of imposing a Roman modernity, many historic neighborhoods were demolished, and thousands of residents displaced; Libyans and Ethiopians were slaughtered, and the Mediterranean turned into a stage for global conflict; Italian Jews were stigmatized and excluded from public life. In short, a better understanding of romanità can facilitate a better understanding of Fascism in all its complexity—its worldview, its aspirations, its actions, and its contradictions.

Historicizing the Historical Alongside the hermeneutic task of “reading” this important facet of Fascist ideology, the present work also seeks to understand the contexts, processes,



and actors that produced it, or in the words of Edward Said, to treat romanità (like Orientalism) as “a kind of willed human work . . . in all its historical complexity, detail and worth without at the same time losing sight of the alliance between cultural work, political tendencies, the state, and the specific realities of domination.”23 This work is therefore also an investigation into the institutional production of ideology. Following recent analyses of commemorative practices like archaeology, folkloric studies, and archival science, it assumes that the recovery of antiquity is an act of textual production bound to a specific historical moment; it reveals as much about the present than it does about the past.24 This perspective facilitates a more nuanced assessment of romanità. The idea of Rome was not born in the mind of Benito Mussolini, or disseminated “from above” by the regime’s political and ideological elite.25 Instead, it was articulated, elaborated, and promoted primarily from “below” by a dedicated group of historians, classicists, archaeologists, and other cultural producers.26 Rather than a directive issued by a monolithic totalitarian state, the Fascist idea of Rome should be seen as the product of complex negotiations: between the regime and the academy, between competing factions and agendas within both the political leadership and the scholarly community, and between intellectual currents that ranged from anticlericalism to Catholicism, modernism to historicism, nationalism, and universalism. Romanità was neither static nor univocal, but rather subject to a process of contestation and elaboration; just like the physical act of excavation, the “excavation” of modernity required an engagement with many layers of historical significance. How, then, did scholars of antiquity mediate between disciplinary imperatives and the exigencies of official political culture? What impact did the regime’s support of academics have on the production of “facts” about Rome? And, conversely, how did the regime “use” the fruits of scholars’ intellectual labor? In other words, I am interested not only in what Fascism said about Rome (and Rome about Fascism), but in how, in the ways in which various modes of historical representation shaped romanità and vice versa.

The Layers of Romanità This book is organized chronologically and thematically, offering both a diachronic assessment of romanità’s development and case studies of the individuals, institutions, and initiatives through which it was promulgated. The first chapter offers a “prehistory” of the Fascist idea of Rome. I examine aspirations for a “Third Rome” during the struggle for national unification in the nineteenth century, as well as debates over whether the city should be



designated the national capital. I then assess the frustrations that followed the proclamation of Roma capitale in 1871, and the critique of Rome by modernist and nationalist groups in the early twentieth century. I conclude by looking at how Mussolini and the nascent Fascist movement negotiated these divergent discourses. This synthesis was most fully expressed in the “March on Rome,” an event that was represented simultaneously as a revolutionary usurpation and a restoration of the Eternal City. Chapter 2 focuses on the Istituto di Studi Romani (Institute of Roman Studies, or ISR), a research center founded during the early years of Mussolini’s regime. The ISR was the most important point of intersection for the scholars, archaeologists, architects, and political leaders whose work defined and promoted romanità. Through an examination of its structure, initiatives, and publications, I consider the institute’s attempts to articulate a coherent Fascist discourse on Rome; its role in mediating between the academy, the regime, and the Catholic Church; and its efforts to mobilize scholarly and public opinion. The ISR and its collaborators are the principal actors in subsequent chapters. In chapter 3, I offer an interpretation of Fascism’s archaeological interventions in the capital from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. Looking at a number of excavations and urban planning projects, I consider the ways in which scholars, city planners, and the political leadership envisioned the spatial relationship between antiquity and modernity in the Eternal City. In particular, I examine the regime’s attempts to recast archaeology from an instrument for recovering the past to a vehicle of urban modernization, a remedy for crises in social hygiene, unemployment, and demography. In this context, the excavation of ancient Roman sites was an integral ingredient in the creation of a modern capital for Fascist Italy. I also look at the regime’s attitude toward the spaces of “old Rome,” the parochial city that would be cleared to make way for Roma Mussolinea. The fourth chapter examines the apex of romanità in Fascist political culture. The principal case study here is the Mostra Augustea della Romanità, an archaeological exhibition that marked the bimillenary in 1937 of the birth of the emperor Augustus. Comprising over three thousand objects, the exhibition painted a picture of the Roman world that was totalitarian, technological, militarized, and hierarchical. Augustus stood at the center of this system, the archetypical transformative leader whose achievements anticipated the Duce’s renewal of the Italian people. In tandem with this representational analysis, I look at ways in which the exhibition was conceived as a museological project. Employing the latest in display techniques and advertising, the organizers of the Mostra Augustea tried to create a new medium for the pre-



sentation of archaeological artifacts that rejected the “sterility” of traditional museums. I conclude the chapter by considering both scholarly and popular receptions of the exhibition, both in Italy and internationally. In chapter 5, I trace shifts in romanità during the latter years of Mussolini’s regime. Fascism’s identification with Rome reached its peak in the mid- to late 1930s, following the conquest of Ethiopia and the proclamation of the new Italian empire; accordingly, I look at the ways in which the ISR and others responded to the legacy of Roman imperialism. At the same time, romanità faced new challenges in this period, particularly as a result of the Rome-Berlin Axis and the adoption of racist ideology in 1938. These developments forced a reorientation of the dominant narrative of the Roman past, in order to address issues like ethnogenesis, racial purity and degeneration, and anti-Semitism. Mussolini’s fall from power in 1943 meant the end of Fascism in Rome, and the chapter closes with an assessment of the Republic of Salò’s ambivalence toward romanità. In the conclusion, I follow the careers of many “producers” of Fascist romanità after World War II, as well as the fate of institutions like the ISR and the Mostra Augustea. More profoundly, I reflect upon the postwar significance of Rome and romanità for Italian and European culture. As the site of almost three millennia of human history, Rome is commonly known as the “Eternal City.” Its artistic and architectural patrimony is unrivaled; its legacies—from literature to law to language—endure to the present day. Too often, however, this “inheritance” leads one to see Rome as static and antique, existing only in the past and insulated from the transformations of the modern world. This book aims to revise this perception, and argues that as both place and idea, Rome has been strongly shaped by modernity—a radical vision of modernity imposed by Mussolini’s regime between the two world wars. This vision proved fleeting, but it left a permanent imprint on the Urbs caput mundi. What follows is itself an “archaeological” dig into this “excavation of modernity.”

Ch a p ter 1

The Third Rome and Its Discontents, 1848–1922

In 1910, a Socialist journalist from EmiliaRomagna called for his party’s newspaper to move from the “provincial city” of Rome to Italy’s “moral capital,” Milan. For the young Benito Mussolini, the political capital was not worthy of representing the nation. Unlike Milan or Turin, Rome lacked an industrial economy and consequently a revolutionary working class. Instead, it subsisted on a bloated state bureaucracy and the appeal of its crumbling monuments. While the northern cities were centers of productivity and modernity, Rome remained mired in medieval backwardness: Rome, a parasitic city of landladies, shoeshine boys, prostitutes, priests and bureaucrats, Rome—a city without a genuine proletariat—is not the center of the nation’s political life, but rather the center and source of its infection. . . . Enough of this stupid obsession for unity, the insistence that absolutely everything must be concentrated in Rome—in that enormous vampire-city that drains the best blood of the nation.1 Such venom might initially seem surprising, given Mussolini’s subsequent embrace of romanità; however, the future Duce’s strident anti-Romanism was a common refrain within the intellectual and political milieu that spawned the Fascist movement after the First World War, and indeed played upon tropes dating back to mid-nineteenth century.2 Far from an unresolvable 9



contradiction, the dialectic between anti- and pro-Romanism was crucial to the formulation of romanità in Fascism’s early years, and would endure until its demise. What would later emerge as a more “mature” romanità under the regime began as a synthesis of disparate and often incongruous influences, ranging from the patriotic rhetoric of the Risorgimento and the liberal state to the intransigent anti-historicism of the Futurists. It was through the intermingling of these various strands that romanità came to be conceived not as nostalgia but as its very negation, not a search for archaic ancestors but an assertion of the vitality of a “New Italy.”

“Rome or Death!”: Romanità in Risorgimento and Liberal Italy Since its legendary founding by Romulus, the Eternal City has functioned as both a place and an idea, a physical site and an intellectual tradition.3 In antiquity, the city was worshipped as Dea Roma, and Latin authors celebrated the spirit of romanitas. In the Middle Ages, it became the seat of Western Christianity and a political inheritance claimed by rulers from Charlemagne to Cola di Rienzo. Later, it provided intellectual and aesthetic inspiration for Renaissance humanism. There have been many pretenders to the “Third” or “New” Rome over the centuries, from Istanbul and Paris to Moscow and Washington, DC. Notwithstanding the longue durée of the Roman tradition, its emergence in modern Western political culture can be traced to the revolutions of the late eighteenth century. As expressions of the Enlightenment, both the American and French revolutions drew heavily on the legacy of Roman antiquity.4 Symbols like the fasces and the Phrygian cap, as well as the representation of revolutionary values (“Truth,” “Liberty,” “the Republic”) as Roman divinities, offered a historically legitimate alternative to the iconography of monarchism and the church. Ancient heroes like Cincinnatus and Cato the Younger were exemplars of civic virtue for modern revolutionaries, and the Roman Republic inspired new political systems on both sides of the Atlantic. In France, the Roman influence extended into the nineteenth century, with Napoleon casting himself as a latter-day Augustus.5 Indeed, the Napoleonic administration of Rome (1809–14) undertook the first major excavations in the city’s historic center in order to emphasize the continuity between ancient and modern empires.6 Following the Restoration, French revolutionary discourse was increasingly appropriated by advocates for Italian independence and national unity.7 Chief among these was the radical republican Giuseppe Mazzini, for whom



Rome was the “lighthouse” for the nationalist cause, the “heart of Italy” and “the verb of History,” a motive force through the ages.8 Italy needed Rome to complete itself and reclaim its historical destiny; Rome, still under papal domination, needed the progressive forces of the nation in order to avoid being “condemned to prayer and the contemplation of its ruins.”9 Mazzini believed in a moral mission for Rome, not only for Italy but on behalf of all humanity. Twice in history, the Eternal City had fostered universal unity—the “first Rome” of classical antiquity, under the aegis of imperial civilization, and then the “second Rome” of medieval Christianity. The Third Rome would belong to the Italian people, overcome the contradictions of modern society, and reconcile “earth and sky, body and soul, matter and spirit, reason and faith.”10 As the “sanctuary of the Nation,” it would inspire Italians to reject centuries of internal division and foreign enslavement, and serve as a beacon of liberty and sovereignty for all peoples. Above all, then, for Mazzini Rome served to mobilize popular emotion in the fight for national sovereignty: Rome is your metropolis. You cannot have a Fatherland without her. Without Rome, no Italy is possible. Just as the Crusades marched to the cry of “Jerusalem!”, you must march to the cry of “Roma! Roma!”, and agree to neither peace nor truce until the flag of Italy is flying proudly and victoriously over each of the Seven Hills.11 Mazzini’s messianism underpinned the 1849 insurrection against papal authority and the declaration of a Roman Republic. Although the republic only survived for a few months, the events of 1849 would provide a rallying cry—“O Roma o morte!” (Rome or death!)—that would resonate in the struggles that followed.12 The most influential alternative to Mazzini’s secular Third Rome was provided by the liberal Piedmontese priest Vincenzo Gioberti. In his 1843 work Del primato morale e civile degli italiani (On the Moral and Civil Primacy of the Italians), Gioberti argued that the best prospects for Italian unity lay in a “neo-Ghelphist” confederation directed by the Roman pontiff. While he shared Mazzini’s belief in a providential mission for the Eternal City, Gioberti placed greater emphasis on continuity and rejected the supersession of the “second” Rome by a “third.” Unlike many of his contemporaries, Gioberti did not privilege pagan antiquity over other eras and emphasized Christianity’s role as the fullest expression of Italian greatness. The ancient empire could count many achievements, from its monuments and conquests to its dissemination of law and civilization, but it served above all as a “propitious nest.”13 From the city whence the Roman eagle had once taken flight, “the immaculate dove of Christ could grow strong and spread its wings, and



victoriously encircle the universe.”14 As the center of a new Italian federation, he hoped, the Eternal City would serve a dual role as the heart of both the nation and Western Christendom. As with Mazzini, Gioberti’s aspirations would be frustrated by the events of 1848–49; however, he laid the foundation for subsequent Catholic nationalist conceptions of romanità. Unlike Mazzini and Gioberti, the Piedmontese liberals who subsequently assumed leadership of the unification movement in the 1850s were not especially intoxicated by the myth of Rome; nonetheless, they recognized its affective potential. On March 27, 1861, the new Kingdom of Italy proclaimed Rome its capital (though, crucially, the Eternal City remained under papal rule). In his speech to parliament, Prime Minister Camillo di Cavour declared that in Rome, there are all the historical, intellectual and moral conditions that should determine the capital of a great state. Rome is the only city in Italy not to have exclusively local memories. The entire history of Rome, from the time of the Caesars to today, is the history of a city whose importance extends far beyond its territory.15 For the new ruling elite, the idea of Roma capitale was attractive for reasons beyond its symbolism or historical associations. Unlike Turin or Florence (both of which would serve as capitals before 1871), Rome was a neutral site, free of the municipal particularisms that divided the peninsula; situated on the boundary between North and South, it was a “natural” capital that would bridge the “two Italies.”16 The construction of a united Italy was impossible while Rome still languished under a medieval theocracy. As long as this state of affairs persisted, the Eternal City would be a destabilizing influence, a “center of bloody reaction” that would undermine the national project.17 At the same time, others within the Risorgimento leadership strongly opposed establishing the capital in Rome.18 Seizing the city from the papacy would inflame Catholic opinion both domestically and internationally, and would bring Italy into direct conflict with France, which had pledged to defend the Holy See. The prospect of Rome as capital was also troubling to those who aspired to a more progressive nation; to them, the city of Caesars and popes was antithetical to a liberal body politic founded on progress, reason, and individual rights. To the Piedmontese Carlo Alfieri, the appeal of Rome was based solely on “the memory of the past, a past from which modern liberty has nothing to learn”;19 his countryman Massimo d’Azeglio believed that “the environment of Rome, saturated with the miasmas of 2,500 years of physical violence and moral coercion . . . does not seem suited



to instilling health and life in the government of a young and new Italy.”20 At best, it would be the nation’s “rhetorical capital,” but not its moral or political heart. How could a fragile, young nation make itself at home in a landscape filled with reminders of past regimes—and above all, of the Catholic Church? The solution for many was either to locate the capital elsewhere, or alternatively to build a new city, on the model of St. Petersburg or Washington, DC. Notwithstanding such reservations, Rome finally became Italian on September 20, 1870, with the defeat of papal and French forces at the Porta Pia. Memoirs recorded a rapturous reception from the local populace: Commoners, gentlemen, ladies, common women, the elderly, children, all adorned with tricolor cockades, all surrounded the soldiers, shook their hands, embraced them, celebrated them. Carriages could not pass on the Via del Corso. The cafés of Piazza Colonna are jammed with people; at every table one sees ladies, citizens and soldiers mixing together.21 You had to have heard the royal march, playing for the first time on the Capitoline, before that gloriously planted flag; you had to have seen the people of Rome, gathered there with the arms taken from Papal troops, enthusiastically brandishing them in the air; and the women, the boys, the old people, waving handkerchiefs, shouting, crying, embracing soldiers.22 Mazzini’s dream of an Italian “Third Rome” had been realized. Behind the jubilation, however, the situation was more complicated.23 Although the Twentieth of September was hailed as the heroic culmination of the Risorgimento, it was accomplished more by external forces than Italian initiative. Embroiled in the Franco-Prussian War, Napoleon III had recalled the Vatican’s garrison; the remaining troops were only able to mount a token resistance before Piedmontese occupied the city. Rome had thus been won by default, not by glorious military endeavor. Once the initial euphoria had worn off, tensions emerged between the native Romans and their “liberators.” The locals soon began to resent the city’s inundation by northern officials, bureaucrats, and entrepreneurs—in their view, an undifferentiated mass of “Piedmontese,” “Italians,” or even buzzurri (“thugs” or “bumpkins”). Indeed, only a week after the breach of Porta Pia, the Milanese newspaper La Lombardia warned that in Rome, everybody—without exception—is under an enormous illusion, from those who see the Tiber running with milk, or the wretched



shrubs in the Roman countryside dripping with honey, and dream of a universal reconciliation of souls on the Capitoline, to those who somehow think that they can unearth the Italy of their fantasies from the Roman catacombs and are already dressing up like Cola di Rienzo.24 The national capital was officially transferred from Florence to Rome in July 1871. The decade that followed saw an immense effort to renovate the city, in order to accommodate the new state bureaucracy and influx of new residents.25 Several major thoroughfares—like Via Nazionale and Via Cavour— were carved out of dense historic neighborhoods (a pattern that would be repeated, with a vengeance, under Fascism), and imposing palazzi were built to house new government offices. In addition to infrastructural improvements, the city also needed to be transformed symbolically. The authority of the national government was still challenged by an urban fabric that had not been altered significantly for centuries. Far from the showcase of the new nation, Rome was littered with the reminders of papal rule and a local populace reluctant to identify itself as Italian. The new monuments to King Victor Emanuel II (the Vittoriano, or “Wedding Cake,” as it was called, dubbed for its elaborate beaux-arts façade, begun in 1885, inaugurated in 1911, but only completed in 1935) and other heroes of the Risorgimento were meant to create a new nationalized landscape for the Eternal City, shifting the symbolic and political center of the city away from the Vatican and toward the Capitoline Hill.26 Archaeological excavations were an important part of this endeavor. As early as 1871, civic authorities planned an archaeological zone in the historic center; in 1875, they cleared and restored the Colosseum, a process that included removing the Stations of the Cross that had been installed by the church in the mid-eighteenth century; and throughout the 1880s and 1890s, archaeologists like Giacomo Boni and Rodolfo Lanciani undertook major projects in the Roman Forum.27 The administration’s grandest ambition—never realized— was an archaeological promenade, the Passeggiata Archeologica, that would stretch from the Roman Forum to the Baths of Caracalla. All these initiatives had an explicitly secularizing and nationalizing function, showcasing Italy’s reclamation of its pagan past after centuries of papal neglect. Increasingly, however, many came to see Roma capitale as a disappointment, even a failure. The critics’ worst fears appeared confirmed, and many concurred with the poet Giosuè Carducci’s famous lament that “Italy, unready, demanded Rome; Byzantium they gave her.”28 A political and cultural chasm remained between the national state and the church, which was still supported by the local “black” aristocracy—a divide that would not be overcome until Mussolini’s Lateran Accords in 1929.



The imposition of the new capital had been a torturous and disruptive process. The city’s demography was permanently transformed: within a decade of 1870, native-born Romans had become a minority in their own city, displaced by a flood of civil servants from the North as well as southern laborers who had come to work on the state’s new building projects. A concomitant development was the “building fever” of the 1880s, in which Rome became a massive construction site, fueled by a severe housing shortage and rampant property speculation. When the bubble burst at the end of the decade, many projects lay abandoned, once-beautiful neighborhoods had been demolished, and the local economy was crippled.29 The unfinished capital of the late nineteenth century had become an all-too-appropriate symbol of the nation’s own incompleteness and the failures of the Risorgimento. Half a century after national unification, the peninsula seemed as divided as ever, along not only regional but also class, political, and cultural lines. The “Grande Italia” predicted by Mazzini, and fought for by Risorgimento patriots, was little more than Italietta—“little Italy.” Their heroic “Third Rome” had not materialized, and the capital appeared instead as a chaotic, crumbling mess. One veteran of the breach of Porta Pia, visiting Rome in 1880, reported that he encountered little more than “squalor . . . a cemetery.”30 The city’s wretched appearance forced him to abjure the enthusiasm of his youth: “If I . . . had known Rome like I do today, I assure you that I would never have gotten involved in all that ‘Rome or Death’ business!”31

“We Owe Nothing to the Past”: Radical Modernism and Rome The sense of crisis looming over Rome intensified in the first decade of the twentieth century. In this period, the capital came under attack from a new quarter: a wave of modernist aesthetes who sought to invigorate and regenerate Italian culture. For this new generation, Rome embodied every Italian deficiency, simultaneously the source and symptom of the nation’s ills. The most vociferous attacks on the Eternal City in this period were launched by the Milanese intellectual Filippo Tomasso Marinetti and his Futurist colleagues.32 In their manifesto of 1909, the Futurists proclaimed their love of “aggressive movement, feverish insomnia, the sprint, the mortal leap, the slap, the fist” set against the “ponderous immobility, rapture, sleep” of contemporary culture.33 The velocity of modern technology was “the new beauty of the world . . . a roaring car, seemingly running on grapeshot, more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.”34 If speed and violence represented a new



modernity at the dawn of the twentieth century, their antithesis was represented by the belle époque and its obsession with bygone glories. Although the original Futurist Manifesto was written in French and published in Paris, Marinetti stressed the Italian origins of his movement: “We launch our manifesto of overwhelming, incendiary violence from Italy . . . because we want to liberate this country from the putrid gangrene of professors, archaeologists, tour-guides and antiquarians. Italy has been a flea-market for too long. We seek to free it from the innumerable museums, the countless cemeteries that cover it.”35 The rot of historicism consuming all of European culture was especially pronounced in Italy, where the diseases of passatismo (“past-ism,” retrograde nostalgia for the past) and archeologismo (“archeology-ism”) dominated all forms of cultural production. In contrast to Paris, the capital of the new modernism, or the youthful energy of American culture, Italy was chronically unable to move beyond its considerable historical inheritance and look toward the new age. This failure not only precluded artistic innovation and originality, but also entailed a subservient position to northern Europeans and other foreigners. So long as Italy persisted in residing in the past, its crumbling remains would continue to attract antiquarians from across the Alps, sold to the highest bidder by fawning ciceroni.36 The only solution was to erase the past with violence: “Set library shelves on fire! Deviate the flow of canals, and flood the museums! Oh the joy of watching old canvases float, torn and discolored, on the water! Take up pick-axes, hatchets, hammers, and demolish venerated cities, demolish without pity!”37 As Milanese, Marinetti and his colleagues drew a sharp opposition between their native city (as well as other northern Italian towns like Genoa and Turin) and most historic città d’arte; even the Mezzogiorno (the South), with its “instinctual Moorish passion,” and Trieste, “our beautiful powderkeg” because of its nationalist resonance, were more vital and energetic than Venice, “a gem-encrusted bathtub for cosmopolitan courtesans,” or Florence, with its “swarming colonies of bookworms.”38 Of all Italian cities, however, Rome was the quintessential expression of the nation’s retrograde tendencies. Marinetti’s anti-Romanism was most fully explored in his 1910 essay, “Against Florence and Rome, Festering Sores on Our Peninsula.” While Florence was quickly dismissed as “an enormous and sumptuous medieval folio,” Marinetti went to great lengths excoriating the Eternal City, which languished under “the leprosy of ruins,” its only lifeblood the money of foreigners.39 The remnants of Roman history were conceived not in terms of a collective national patrimony, but rather as antinational, an expression of Italy’s lack of productive industry and its dependence on foreign patron-



age. With war looming on the European horizon, toadying to outsiders was especially treacherous: Rome, with its shops that close the moment the Americans leave, would be ruined if a single case of cholera were discovered! The tourist industry: that is what we fight against, to the death. It is a dirty business that has transformed two thirds of the Roman population into the likely allies of our enemies of tomorrow—an enemy always generously received by our inn-keepers, and even more lovingly swindled! The outbreak of war is inevitable. Rome cannot give us anything more than a contingent of lazy opportunists and pacifists.40 Marinetti then related a fantasy about riding into Rome “on a speeding sixty-horsepower . . . the steering wheel aimed directly at the Arch of Constantine,” pitting the modern velocity and destructiveness of the motorcar against the static remnants of the past. In his “Futurist nonchalance,” he slams into a portion of Nero’s Aqueduct: It was like a sign, like a warning, or rather, a vendetta from across the dead centuries. . . . And I shouted to the Romans, with all my strength: “Save yourselves if you can! You must isolate the ruins of ancient Rome, more contagious and deadly than the plague or cholera! You must dig a deep pit, and surround it with a great wall, and seal off those Roman walls, vengeful and full of anger.”41 In typical fashion, the Romans respond to Marinetti’s warning with “an ironic smile,” rotted out by “archaeological dust,” and “continued on with their lives as dust-covered mice, proud and content to eat the crumbs left by those ‘misses,’ masticating with their mighty teeth, their rosy mouths and blue eyes widening at the sight of the stumps of the decapitated Colosseum!”42 The sardonic resignation of the Roman population was a common motif in many anti-Roman tirades. The urban mob had been placated by bread and circuses since the time of the Caesars, and this passivity had been reinforced by centuries of papal rule. Even after their city had become the national capital, Romans were accused of living off the city’s past and draining resources from the productive parts of the country. This parasitism was conceived both economically—since the installation of the national government launched a wasteful and self-aggrandizing construction boom—and demographically, as the capital sapped manpower from other parts of the peninsula. The typical Roman was portrayed as dishonest and sycophantic, traits refined by centuries of bilking wide-eyed tourists. In truth, very few “real Romans” remained, and those that did were far removed from the noble blood of antiquity: from



1872 to 1931, immigration consistently accounted for between 60 and 80 percent of the city’s demographic growth, and native-born Romans never accounted for more than half of the population.43 The Futurists’ invectives intensified with the First World War. Marinetti and his colleagues were early advocates for Italian intervention, seeing the conflict as a “hygienic” struggle between the forces of youth and dynamism and those of tradition, historicism, and conservatism. Italy’s poor military performance—culminating in the humiliating defeat at the hands of the Germans and Austrians at Caporetto in October 1917—once again demonstrated the crippling burden of passatismo. For Emilio Settimelli, writing in Italia Futurista, this disaster—at what was meant to be the nation’s finest hour—was merely yet another expression of the innate retrograde tendencies of the Italian national character. The usual Futurist motifs are evident: Precisely because Italy has an enormous past, laden with glories, Italians are beholden to this sun that has set forever, that forces us to stare up obsessively at the sky. . . . Only a flabby, sickly, delusional race can be contented by these splendors . . . this illustrious cadaver. Passatismo, the adoration, the exploitation of the past, infects every Italian mind, every Italian undertaking. The Italian, by kneeling before his own greatness, has no strong knees to go out and conquer a new one. All artistic, industrial and commercial undertakings collide into memories, stumble among the columns and arches, and their explosive power dissipates among a thousand antiquarian pursuits.44 Passatismo thus remained the common denominator for all of Italy’s woes. This tendency continued after the war: in seeking to memorialize its war dead and “victory,” the Liberal state invariably turned to classicism as the dominant aesthetic for commemorative monuments. Such “anti-national traditionalism,” wrote Vincenzo Fani Ciotti (under the Futurist sobriquet “Volt”), reflected the government’s “monumental imbecility.” In the dawn of a new modern era, every retrograde impulse had to be stifled: “No more triumphal arches, Vendôme columns, eagles, trophies and archaeological carnivals; today, more than ever, we must insist that Italian greatness has nothing to do with the achievements of antiquity. We owe nothing to the past.”45 History remained the realm of “critics” and “professorial types,” “terrified mice, nibbling at pages of Plutarch’s Lives and bowing slavishly before Hellenism and mouldy romanità.”46 As Marinetti had argued before the war, the Italian past still belonged more to foreigners—and especially to the “archaeological” Germans—than it did to the peninsula’s inhabitants. Seeing the postwar as a new hour for the nation, Mario Carli envisioned a day when foreigners



would come to Italy on a new grand tour, attracted not by its aesthetic or historical patrimony, nor by the dolce far niente lifestyle, but by the achievements of modern industry: “The classic foreigner—English, French, American— who comes to contemplate our ruins, now comes to study our organization and to admire our work. The Forum, the Capitoline, the museums? He has forgotten that they even exist.”47 However, if passatismo in 1909 had largely entailed nineteenth-century bourgeois historicism, it took on new valence after 1918. Above all, it was identified with those forces that had opposed participation in the war, thereby seeking to deny Italy the opportunity to engage in a purifying conflict and enact a genuine national transformation. A cartoon in Roma Futurista from 1919 succinctly encapsulates this new critique. Under the title “Ruins,” it shows a priest and a pipe-smoking socialist among crumbling Roman columns. Passatismo still involved the cult of ruins, but these were expanded to include the clergy, still enslaving Italy and Rome in a “medieval theocracy,”48 and the Socialist Party ( pussisti, a denigrating play on Partito Ufficiale Socialista), compromised by its pacifism and reformism. Anti-passatismo also assumed an increasingly antidemocratic and anti-parliamentary tone. For one correspondent, “Rome, in addition to being the great vomit of all Italian passatismi and archeologismi, is also the great sewer (cloaca massima) of all political intrigues . . . the homeland of priests, professors, parliamentarians, old stones, mould and dung. In liberating Rome from all this with a violent injection of Futurism, we will liberate Italy.”49 If, as the old interventionist slogan proclaimed, the moment had come to “cancel out Roman glory with a greater Italian glory,” the national dependence on romanità had to be overcome. Italy’s victory should be observed not with imperial pomp or parading legionaries—“no more pilgrimages to illustrious cadavers, and to even more illustrious ruins! No more rhetoric about Roman eagles!”—but celebrated “in a spirit of absolute, anti-academic modernity.”50 In 1919, that “anti-academic modernity” was seemingly embodied by Benito Mussolini and the nascent Fascist movement. Leading Futurists—including Marinetti, Settimelli, and Carli—were present at the foundation of the first Fascio di Combattimento in Milan’s Piazza San Sepolcro on March 23, 1919. While Milanese Futurism was the most aggressive expression of the modernist desire to reclaim Italy from a decaying past, it was not unique among Italian avant-garde movements before the First World War. Another influential group coalesced around the Florentine art journal La Voce, published between 1908 and 1916.51 The so-called Vociani—led by the journal’s editors, the literary critic Giuseppe Prezzolini, the writer Giovanni Papini, and the painter Ardengo Soffici—differed from the Futurists both



Figure 1. “Ruins: for the sake of public hygiene, we must take the same pickax to all of them.” Editorial cartoon depicting a priest, a pipe-smoking socialist, and ancient ruins, from Roma Futurista 1.4 (1918), p. 1. Courtesy of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University Library.

aesthetically and politically. Whereas Marinetti exalted the machine age and the dynamism of urban culture, the Florentines sought to provide a “spiritual” or “idealist” alternative—influenced by Nietzsche, Bergson, and Benedetto Croce—to the excessive rationalism and materialism of modern civilization, a new religious sensibility that would shape both artistic production and society. This ideal of spiritual and ethical renewal did not entail the rejection of all forms of historicism, and in fact the Vociani saw the purity and simplicity of their native Tuscan countryside (toscanità as opposed to romanità) as a key repository of moral values. Rural life purified the individual, a cleansing “bath” washing away the detritus of the modern world. In cities, “one gets beaten down, suffocates, drowns and dies from



the heat, the stuffiness, the stink of being shut up in the printing-house, the dust of streets and books, boredom and literature.”52 A retreat to the countryside, conversely, meant “a plunge, even if only for a moment, into nature and poetry; an abandonment . . . of civic habits and cerebral pursuits, of books and concepts, of debates and discussions, of Catonian airs, of censorship, both puritanical and revolutionary.”53 And yet, as Giovanni Papini insisted, they were not Romantics fleeing civilization. Rurality, with its “simplicity, roughness, vastity, amoral and eternal nature,” allowed the Vociani to articulate an alternative to the morass of bourgeois modernity, with its “artifice, affectation, softness, and petty, miserable prejudices.”54 These aesthetic ideals also had a political dimension. The Vociani envisioned a new Italian order guided by an intellectual elite. The Italian masses constituted “a kind of primal substance, a humus, whose richness is incalculable,” to be shaped by those with the capacity to “mold new creatures.”55 This elitism was coupled with a hostility to democracy and liberalism. To the Vociani, parliamentarism had merely replaced old social hierarchies with a new plutocracy, hidden by “artificial” differences between parties; political programs were like “theater handbills,” and politicians like “histrionic carnival barkers.”56 The solution lay in a new “aestheticized politics” that would pave the way for national regeneration and spiritual renewal—what Prezzolini often termed a “militant idealism.” A moral transformation would erase the Italy of “carnivals and songs, or Goethean lemon-trees,” and usher in a new era of possibility and dynamism, “a fairytale kingdom, a country of marvels, a real Dreamland [sic].”57 It also meant a repudiation of “the noisy memory of imperial Rome; the clamor about Italy; vague ideas of the power of the ‘race,’ of ‘destiny,’ of ‘latinità,’ of ‘barbarians to repel,’ of ‘the laws of national life’; imprecise ideas about the ends and fruits of Italian life; an aesthetic of the past, of the gesture, of an overwrought imagination.”58 As Tuscans, the Vociani were more attached to their local customs and traditions. A central aspect of their program was the celebration of authentic regional identities against the bombast of official national culture, as represented by the “artificial” capital. In terms very similar to those used by the young Mussolini, Giuseppe Prezzolini attacked Rome as the principal leech of Italy, the least productive part of the country, where one can find all the do-nothings and exploiters, the center of the corruption and immiseration of the spirit, the void that attracts swindlers and unscrupulous types, loan-sharks and quacks, lackeys and exploiters of women, political arrivistes, journalists for hire and complacent officials. Rome represents the fundamental cause of our



every deficiency—economic, moral, intellectual—and, at the same time, demonstrates the imbecilic tribute that we insist on paying to our traditions of rhetoric and hot air. There’s nothing—within the city or without—that comes from Rome; not a single five-lire coin in the country was ever produced by Roman activity. Rome is the city that exploits Italy, and the best way of celebrating Italian unity would be to take away three quarters of its Mafioso power, and restore greater autonomy to the regions.59 To Prezzolini, the degenerate urban population, political clientism and corruption, excessive centralization, and rhetorical excess stemmed from a common source—a city that was nothing more that “the Mecca of misfits and losers.”60 Rome was the least productive Italian city not only economically but culturally; its inhabitants had been “pillagers in antiquity and custodians of ruins today, but almost never creators.”61 Similar concerns were expressed in Giovanni Papini’s “Against Rome and Benedetto Croce” (1913), an ode of “repulsion for Rome, our dear and grand metropolis, a repulsion that sometimes even reaches hate” for the “capital of all rhetoric.”62 Papini’s attack followed the standard lines. The decision to create a capital in the midst of a cultural wasteland was due to the Italian disease of passatismo, which had clouded the judgment of “our ancestors from Dante to Mazzini.” The Roman populace, “neither ancient nor modern,” was “vain with memories” and, due to centuries of priestly misrule, lacked the desire and capacity for productive activity, since it was long accustomed to “ecclesiastical benefices and soup-kitchens.”63 Like Prezzolini, Papini saw its inability to create as an innate historical trait: Rome was great with weapons and with administration, never with arts or thought. It was a great city, a center of beauty, but always on the backs of others. The Etruscans gave it the rudiments of civilization; the Greeks taught it and gave it art; the religion of which it claims to be the principal seat, came from Asia Minor and Egypt; in the Middle Ages, it was a feudal village without real civilization; in the Renaissance it was embellished and enriched by painters, architects and sculptors from Tuscany, Umbria and the Veneto, attracted by popes who depended on the patronage of France and Germany.64 This parasitism continued until the present day, and would continue as long as Italians and foreigners remained beholden to the city’s charms. Again in a Marinettian vein, Papini concluded that Rome was a “whore” that infected its clients with “the syphilis of chronic archeologismo.” As the ultimate incarnation



of Italy’s conservative forces (understood culturally and philosophically more than politically), where “everyone is looking to restore something, an empire or a church,” it stunted national progress, “gagging” the independent mind and forcing the Italian gaze “backwards instead of forwards.”65 Given their common stance on parliamentarism, liberalism, and bourgeois culture, it is unsurprising that, like the Futurists, the Vociani became advocates for Italian intervention in 1914–15. Similarly, they greeted the advent of Fascism after the war, though they were not part of the original Fasci of 1919. In subsequent years Mussolini repeatedly acknowledged their intellectual influence, though none of the major Vociani would figure prominently in the cultural initiatives of the regime.

“A School of Moral Values”: Nationalism and Imperialism If Fascism was strongly shaped by the modernist rhetoric of purifying violence and moral regeneration, much of its more authoritarian and chauvinistic language was derived from the reactionary nationalists of the Associazione Nazionalista Italiana (ANI, the Italian National Association) and in particular from its original ideologue, Enrico Corradini.66 Like the Vociani, Corradini emerged from the Florentine nationalist-modernist literary scene, though he gravitated toward a mixture of revolutionary syndicalism (influenced especially by George Sorel) and the anti-parliamentary, anti-socialist, and elitist sociology of Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca. The milieu of nationalistsyndicalist journalism soon coalesced into a political movement. ANI was formed in December 1910 and within six months began publishing L’Idea Nazionale (The National Idea), which would serve as the official organ of the party until its dissolution in 1923. Corradini’s (and, by extension, ANI’s) theory of nationalism was predicated upon what he termed Italy’s status as a “proletarian nation.” Transposing the Marxist language of class struggle onto the realm of international politics, he saw Italy as an exploited subordinate of Europe’s Great Powers. France was the “metropole of Latin civilization,” to which Italy was merely “a tributary province”; Italians in the Habsburg lands were the last line of defense against the Slavic hordes to the east; “looming pan-Germanism” coveted the Italian Alps; and the British continued to be the dominant imperial presence in Europe and the Mediterranean.67 Italy’s weakness was also the result of internal factors: regional, political, and class divisions, the dependence on foreign patronage, and the failures of the Risorgimento meant that Italy was vulnerable to exploitation and exclusion, incapable of asserting its sovereignty. Corradini’s solution to Italy’s “proletarian” status suggests his



affinities with the Vociani and their discourse of national renewal. What was required was a genuine nationalist spirit, “a school of moral values, of that which is vulgarly called virtue . . . a nationalism that proclaims egotism and utility.”68 Every aspect of the Nationalists’ program stemmed from the concept of “proletarian nationalism.” Italy’s demographic crisis, for example, was caused by emigration; Corradini looked forward to the day when “the old migratory Italian spirit” was transformed into “colonial, imperialist spirit,” into a “freedom to be active in the history of the world, and to contribute its own creativity and its own civilization.”69 Fertile colonies would alleviate the strain on the peninsula’s resources without exporting its manpower; in turn, imperial Italy would finally shed its “proletarian” status and claim its rightful place at the forefront of the international order. The first step in this revival was the Italo-Turkish War of 1911–12, which brought the territories of Tripolitania and Cyrenaica (modern Libya) under Italian control. Of course, the historical parallels were unavoidable: the Nationalists presented the conflict as a new Punic War, and celebrated the “return” of Italy to the northern shore of Africa after so many centuries.70 Beyond its imperial dimension, romanità was central to the Nationalist conception of the nation as a historical entity. For Corradini, Rome and Time were virtual synonyms, and everywhere the Eternal City reminded men of “the specter of time, its dominance, its power, its labor.”71 Unlike the Futurists, with their rejection of passatismo, or the Vociani, who saw Italy as a constellation of regional traditions, the Nationalists conceived of the nation as a motive force across time—“a fact, in terms of geography, ethnography, history, traditions, customs, language, art, and commerce.”72 In all these respects, Roman antiquity represented the formative moment of the Italian national consciousness and the starting point of the nation’s historical development. If Italy’s international standing as a proletarian nation could be overcome with imperial conquest, an internal transformation also had to take place. Against the anarchic individualism of liberalism, ANI advocated a new form of authoritarian government modeled on Roman values, in which “the particle subordinates itself to the whole, that is, the individual subordinates himself to the nation; or better, the individual surpasses himself in the nation.”73 The strength of the nation lay in its ability to subsume the individual within the collectivity. To this end, the concept of facere et pati fortia romanum est— “It is Roman to act and to endure”—was a guiding principle, stressing “the idea of sacrifice instead of the idea of utility. Duty instead of desire. Respect for hierarchy instead of anarchy. Discipline instead of unrest. The nation



becomes the means for individual perfection.”74 For the Nationalist jurist (and future minister of justice under Mussolini) Alfredo Rocco, the Roman ideal entailed a “force and power” conceived both in material terms and as “the spiritual forces of self-sacrifice, internal solidarity, discipline, intellectual superiority in the sciences, the arts and technology . . . all of which add up to political understanding, first and highest gift of peoples destined to empire.”75 This vision of Rome represented the polar opposite of the Liberal regime presently enthroned in the Eternal City. ANI had to carry out a “liberation of Rome from the empire of sectarian democracy,” to counter parliamentary democracy with “the principles of order and national discipline, hierarchy, concord, political and religious freedom” that formed the core of the Roman spirit.76

“Our Point of Departure”: Early Fascism and the March on Rome Corradini and the Nationalists did not achieve this “liberation” of Rome themselves, but their program clearly anticipated a radical new presence on the Italian right after the First World War—namely Benito Mussolini and the nascent Fascist movement.77 Still, early Fascist romanità was not simply a facsimile of Nationalist interpretations; rather it was a synthesis of the incongruous elements surveyed thus far: Risorgimento patriotism, Futurist anti-passatismo, the elitist modernism of the Vociani, and ANI’s expansionist imperialism. Mussolini’s early pronouncements on Rome, like his 1910 attack on the “vampire-city,” reflect the avant-garde anti-Romanism of the Futurists and Vociani as well as his roots in socialism. In 1909, he announced that the nation stood at the dawn of a new era in which the Italy of the grand tour would lose “the character of a cemetery. Factory whistles now blow where lovers used to dream and nightingales used to sing.”78 For the time being, the ultimate cemetery—Rome—remained a moribund, unproductive “dead city,” the capital of inaction and corruption. This sentiment had become even more radicalized by 1914, in the context of the intervention debate, where it took on increasingly anti-parliamentary implications. In contrast to the heroic Latin spirit of the French fighting German oppression, Rome was “the capital of neutral Italy, [where] scandal flourishes and spreads,” the home base of the three “institutions”—the dithering Liberal government, the Socialists, and the Catholic Church—whose opposition to the war would potentially prevent Italy from joining the great conflict and realizing its finest hour.79 When Italy emerged from the war, bruised but victorious, Mussolini joined



the chorus of those who saw the conflict as a moment of national regeneration and modernization. Thanks to the war, the world had finally been exposed to the “real,” dynamic new Italy, not the fantasyland portrayed in guidebooks and novels: Before the war, Italy was, in a certain sense, an unknown or ignored country. . . . People knew only one Italy: a pagan and Catholic Italy, with its Roman and medieval past. . . . Italy was the country of sun, oranges, songs, stones and venerable fragments, often overrun by mould and imbeciles. Foreigners—especially those boches with their accursed Baedekers—went from Venice to Taormina, rubbing themselves against Italy’s glorious, ancient patrimony. Italy was a nation for honeymooning couples. . . . The affected image of Italy continued to circulate among outsiders: a full moon over the Grand Canal or the Colosseum; Santa Lucia, with a smoking Vesuvius in the background.80 The influence of Futurism, with its hatred of guides, tourists, and the picturesque, is unmistakable here. For Mussolini, the war had demonstrated Italy’s capacity for military discipline, industrial productivity, and modern technology. The nation would cease to be picturesque and passive, reborn in the blood of the trenches and the toil of the factories.81 Although intransigent anti-Romanism, aimed at the Liberal old guard, would continue to be a feature of Fascist rhetoric, one sees a concomitant celebration of romanità from the foundation of the Fascio di Combattimento in 1919 onward. The Fascist revolution, Mussolini proclaimed in Piazza San Sepolcro, would have a “Roman and Latin” character, “without Tartar or Muscovite influences.”82 The group’s military march would be neither military nor German, but simply Roman. We thus aim to abolish the herd, the procession . . . instead of such passatista celebrations, we substitute our march, which imposes individual control on everyone, which imposes order and discipline. . . . We are not the ones copying the Germans, but rather it is they who have always copied the Romans, while we are returning to our origins, to the Roman, Latin and Mediterranean style.83 By 1922, a relatively consistent and recurring set of themes had emerged in Mussolini’s discourse on Rome. In a speech marking the Eternal City’s birthday (April 21), a few months before the March on Rome, he offered a vision of romanità that both reflected Fascism’s early influences and served as the basis for its subsequent invocations of antiquity. In the first part of his speech, Mussolini contrasts “the Rome of monuments and ruins, those glori-



ous ruins among which no civilized man can wander without quivering with veneration,” with the Rome of “triumphant modern mediocrity” swarming with “armies of ministerial functionaries.”84 Compared to the remnants of ancient glory, Roma capitale was little more than “fungi that grow at the feet of massive oaks.”85 For Mussolini, the Rome to be honored and realized in the present was “not of famous stones, but of living souls; not the nostalgic contemplation of the past, but harsh preparation for the future.”86 More than a collection of dusty memories, slogans, and symbols, romanità was a program to be actualized, a history not to be venerated but to be made. Mussolini’s rise to power in October 1922 gave the Fascists an opportunity to enact their rhetoric of Roman militarism and discipline. Despite subsequent Fascist mythologization of “martyrs” and “heroes,” the March on Rome can hardly be deemed a significant military engagement; rather, it was “an exercise in psychological warfare, a high-stakes political poker game” between the Fascists and the Liberal establishment.87 Indeed, even after the seizure of power, it took several years for Mussolini to assert his authority and attempt the “fascistization” of state apparatuses. The March on Rome was therefore largely a symbolic act. For contemporary observers, the classical resonance of the event was obvious. Mussolini, a new Caesar, crossed his Rubicon and marched on the capital with the intent of restoring its original glory. Yet the gesture carried an additional significance. The March must be understood not just in terms of an appropriation of Rome, but as a march on and against the capital, reclaiming it from the forces of liberalism, socialism, and Catholicism that had reduced the Urbs Caput Mundi to a shadow of its former glories. In one of Mussolini’s final speeches before the march, he reminded his supporters “not to confuse Rome with the Romans,” to acknowledge the “essential function of the highest order” that it had to play in the redemption of the nation.88 In the “city of the spirit . . . among those seven hills laden with history” that had already witnessed the conquest of the known world and the birth of Christianity, a new moral revolution would take place; the Rome of a resurgent new Italy would be “purified, disinfected of all the elements that corrupt and sully it; we seek to make Rome the beating heart, the vigorous spirit of the imperial Italy of which we dream.”89 Mussolini’s vision of a patriotic army purifying the capital was echoed in many memoirs by rank-and-file Fascists.90 The squadrista Dario Lischi, writing of his adventures with a Tuscan column, saw the Blackshirt revolution as the liberation of Rome from “the cowardice and inertia of the old parasitic and dishonest cliques . . . the pseudo-philosophers of politics, the acrobats of the word.”91 The “virgin forces” of young Italy, forged by the experience of trench warfare, converged on the Eternal City from every corner of the



peninsula, reenacting the struggle for national unification. Likewise, Pietro Mariani saw the Fascist legions converging on Rome “like rivulets of new blood to give life to the great heart of Italy,” marching against “a political class of cowards and deficients, who in four long years were not able to give the Nation a government.”92 Countless accounts described the eager hordes of squadristi, the battle cry of “To Rome! To Rome!” on their lips, received rapturously by the crowds in Piazza Venezia.93 Their welcome also recalled the breach of Porta Pia in 1870; this time, however, the liberators would be steadfast in their redemptive mission. This account of the Fascist “conquest” of power also remained a central trope in the subsequent memorialization of the March on Rome. Commemorating its twentieth anniversary in 1942 (less than a year before the demise of the regime), Giuseppe Bottai recalled that Rome had been “at one and the same time the target and the destination . . . the city we despised and longed for . . . the city against which we had to fight and the city for which we fought.”94 The march had been a fight of “Rome against Rome,” casting the reinvigorating power of eternal Roman values against the degeneracy of the capital’s present state. The Blackshirts had descended upon the capital “not so much to ruin, as to renovate. . . . They marched on Rome to bring back Rome.”95 In October 1923, Benito Mussolini marked the first anniversary of the March on Rome with a visit to the Tomb of Julius Caesar in the Roman Forum. Accompanied by the elderly archaeologist Giacomo Boni—who had supervised the Forum’s excavation at the turn of the century and who was involved in the creation of the party’s official version of the fascio littorio—the Duce had chosen to mark the Fascist accession to power with a visit to the tomb of ancient Rome’s most illustrious ruler. Like his ancient predecessor, Mussolini had marched upon the capital in order to seize control of the state and transform the body politic. Over the next two decades, the new regime would work to leave its imprint on Rome—both discursively and physically, pickax in hand—in an act of reclamation from the legacy of the past and the debris of the centuries.

Ch a p ter 2

Science and Faith The Istituto di Studi Romani, 1922–1929

In November 1922, in the days that followed the March on Rome and Mussolini’s accession to power, a group of local scholars established a new journal, titled simply Roma. The publication would be devoted to “illustrating our city . . . in every facet of its life, its history, its memories and its modern affairs.”1 In its first issue, of January 1923, the editors announced that Roma would transcend the confines of the ivory tower and speak to its audience “in a plain and simple manner.”2 The Eternal City would be studied in its totality, addressing historical and artistic subjects alongside contemporary concerns like sanitation and traffic. This holism in turn reinforced the journal’s didactic mission, since the legacy of the past “should not consist only of noble memories and marvelous decorations, but should enter into our daily lives, as part of productive activity, as leavening for our spiritual and material industry.”3 Roma would not just satisfy antiquarian curiosity but disseminate the spirit of romanità to a modern audience: Here, past and present truly stand alongside one another and are interwoven, and from this, [Roma] draws strength and courage. The immediate presence of ruins, of monuments from every era, of every civilization and every faith, this intimate cohabitation . . . should be . . . a spur keeping us awake, everywhere and always. Encircled by these walls, we must not be lethargic and somnolent custodians of 29



trinkets and pretty things, but rather industrious workers in thought and deed, who rejoice in renewal and resurrection, surrounded by the ghosts of a past that should not oppress us, but comfort us with its voice and hearten us with its beauty.4 By March 1925, the Roma group had coalesced into the Istituto di Studi Romani (ISR, the Institute of Roman Studies), a permanent institution whose task was “to promote and support studies with romanità as their object, and to contribute projects and counsel that will assist in resolving the various problems concerning the Urbs.”5 Within a year, the ISR had been formally recognized by the Ministry of Public Instruction and given access to state funds. As enumerated in its founding constitution, the institute’s responsibilities included coordinating cultural, economic, and intellectual institutions in Rome, as well as facilitating exchange between Italian and foreign scholars (particularly those residing in the city’s many national academies). Its first major publication would be a definitive Enciclopedia Romana, and it would also produce a variety of periodicals and monographs.6 Like Roma, the ISR would not confine itself to scholarly research or a narrow audience of specialists, but instead “promote studies and research wherever there remain vestiges of Rome or romanità, in order to reconstruct, through organic study, the spiritual sense and august name of Rome.”7 To facilitate these initiatives, the institute was organized into eight sections, encompassing history, archaeology, religion, literature and philology, art history, building and architecture, natural sciences, and the Roman countryside. By 1941, it had opened nine regional centers across Italy, as well as a Swedish section at the University of Gothenburg, with affiliates slated for several other European countries.8 From its inception, the driving force behind the ISR was Carlo Galassi Paluzzi, the founder of Roma and the institute’s director from 1925.9 A Neapolitan and devout Catholic, Galassi Paluzzi moved to the capital to attend the faculty of letters at the University of Rome. Although he did not complete his university studies, by 1920 he was contributing articles on art and architecture to the conservative Catholic newspaper Il Corriere d’Italia. Beyond his journalistic efforts, Galassi Paluzzi does not appear to have been politically active as a young man, and his early work—principally on museum organization and historical preservation—suggests an affinity for cultural administration and bibliographic research. Indeed, his talents would always lie more in a managerial capacity—as a cataloger, coordinator, and promoter—than as a researcher in his own right. He often claimed that he “did not really feel the professorial spirit” and insisted that he be addressed as “pure and simple Galassi Paluzzi” without a formal title, in the spirit of



Fascist populism.10 While his lack of credentials and predilection for bureaucratic centralization were presented as Fascist virtues, they occasionally aroused the ire of more established scholars. His regular insistence that the “national organization” of Roman studies could only be directed from the capital caused the head of the ISR’s Ligurian section (the archaeologist Nino Lamboglia) to protest that the institute had quickly become “a society for conferences and record-keeping” rather than a research center, and ridicule “the centralizing and standardizing mania of the President, which makes it seem like everything runs like a uniform machine directed from Rome. . . . The President, who is not an archaeologist, does not seem to understand [the needs of the Ligurian section], and loses himself in a heap of letters and bureaucratic matters.”11 Significantly, the ISR never became the regime’s official organ for the promulgation of romanità. Galassi Paluzzi recognized this limitation in the early years. In designing the institute’s new emblem, he had to resist members’ suggestions that the fasces be incorporated, acknowledging that “the fascio littorio can only be used by the State; by the Party in an official capacity; by recognized para-statal institutions and autarchic bodies.”12 As a result, the official design of 1929, featuring an imperial eagle (derided by the director himself as a “very slender chicken”)13 with the monarchist Savoy cross in the background, endured until 1937, when the ISR finally received permission to include the fasces so that it could display “the symbols of the Rome of the Caesars, of Christian Rome, and of Fascist Rome, namely of the three Romes to which the Institute has dedicated its [activities].”14 The institute’s financial relationship with the regime was also inconsistent, particularly in the early years. It did not receive regular funding from the state until 1933, when it was granted an annual contribution supplemented by ad hoc grants to promote special initiatives.15 Galassi Paluzzi’s constant petitions to Mussolini (more often denied than granted) demonstrate that the financial situation of the ISR was precarious and always dependent on the beneficence of the higher echelons of the regime.16 Additional funds came from course enrollment, membership dues, and the sale of publications. Bureaucratic cooperation often presented challenges, with the institute tussling over areas of jurisdiction with national and city ministries. Galassi Paluzzi regularly protested that the ISR was no mere “meeting room or paper-shuffler,” and demanded full control over joint initiatives—an assertion of independence that also revealed the limits of the institute’s autonomy.17 The ISR’s ideological relationship with the regime was also not straightforward. As Galassi Paluzzi’s own background suggests, its politics originally aligned not with early Fascism but with the conservative right, including



monarchists, right-wing Catholics, and Corradini’s Associazione Nazionalista Italiana.18 In addition to Galassi Paluzzi (general secretary but de facto head), its honorary presidents between 1925 and 1934 included Luigi Federzoni, Pietro Fedele, and Vittorio Scialoja—all members of the pre-Fascist right who were brought into the fold of the regime.19 This orientation reflected not only the Roman political landscape after the First World War, in which the Nationalists occupied a more prominent position than the Fascists, but also the conservative culture of Italian academe.20 Disciplines like history, philology, and archaeology were particularly strong bastions of reaction.21 The institute’s early conservatism, as well as its ambiguous financial and institutional status, has sometimes been used either to deflect the charge that its members were the “high priests” of the “cult of Rome,” or conversely to suggest that romanità was largely an expression of Fascism’s increasing conservatism after 1925.22 Nevertheless, the ISR’s affinities with the new government were clear as far back as 1922. As Galassi Paluzzi repeatedly put it, the institute was “a typical expression of the atmosphere created by the Regime, whose main source of inspiration is the Roman spirit.”23 This situation typified the relationship between the regime and institutions of higher learning.24 As Gabriele Turi has noted, the First World War had fostered an increasingly nationalist, authoritarian, and illiberal academic culture, which in turn made many scholars receptive to the overtures of Fascism.25 For its part, the regime courted the intellectual establishment in order to gain legitimacy and respectability in its early years (1922–25). Even after 1925, when Mussolini assumed dictatorial powers, there was no thoroughgoing attempt to “fascistize” the academy. Instead, a modus vivendi prevailed: the regime supported institutions that promoted bureaucratic centralization and coordination, while academics tended to accommodate political and ideological imperatives (to which many were already sympathetic, or at least passively accepting) and benefit from official patronage.26 In short, this relationship should be understood less as a German-style Gleichschaltung—the aggressive Nazi “coordination” of institutions—and more as a process of absorption or “annexation” of ideologically affined constituencies.27 The Istituto di Studi Romani was typical of this dynamic. While not an extension of the state, it was the primary site of convergence (both physical and intellectual) for the scholars, ideologues, architects, and urban planners whose work defined and promoted romanità. Like the overwhelming majority of university professors, every associate of the ISR signed the oath of loyalty to the regime in 1931.28 Galassi Paluzzi and his colleagues were not necessarily Fascists ab initio, but they were also not passive actors simply complying with political exigencies.29 The ISR consistently initiated proj-



ects aimed at currying favor with the regime, not only parroting the state’s “top-down” discourse but working “from below” to synthesize, elaborate, and publicize romanità in the public sphere. The institute contributed to the “transfusion and osmosis between [academic] culture and Fascism,” providing a venue in which different ideological currents—inside and outside the regime—negotiated the significance of the Roman tradition.30

“A Unitary and Totalitarian Vision”: The ISR’s Scholarly Mission The need for such a venue was apparent as early as the March on Rome. If anything, early Fascism was hostile to the academic study of the past—as seen by its association with Futurism. Less than a month after Mussolini’s accession to power, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano noted with dismay the new government’s plans to “combat the old Italian malady of rhetoric and literature” by substituting technical training and modern languages for Latin and Greek in secondary-school curricula.31 In early 1923, Mussolini boasted—to the delight of Marinetti—that he had “only visited a museum twice at most” and that, rather than being “a bunch of inn-keepers and museum attendants . . . Romans should be the last to live off of their memories. . . . The Colosseum and the Roman Forum are glories of the past, but we must build the glories of the present and of tomorrow.”32 Even after the rapprochement with the Italian establishment in the early 1920s, intransigent anti-historicism remained a hallmark of Fascist ideology. Writing in 1927, the Florentine journalist Giacomo Lumbroso voiced the concerns of many early adherents when he demanded that the “ugly rhetoric . . . of ‘imperial eagles’ and ‘radiant destinies’” be abandoned: “It is a fact that romanità has been weighing down our spirits for centuries, and that Fascism unfortunately tends to aggravate this heavy burden. This memory, this myth, this tradition has weighed too heavily on the weak organism of our Italy, because the moment has never come to rid ourselves of it.”33 For some of the more “radical” or “progressive” elements within the regime, however, romanità did not necessarily entail a retreat into traditionalism. The most influential figure in this regard was Giuseppe Bottai, a frequent ISR collaborator and regular contributor to Roma. A native Roman, Bottai believed that his city had a central role to play in the project of national regeneration. In his view, prior to the March on Rome there had been only particularistic “Fascisms,” divided by regional and factional interests. With the conquest of the capital, though, a singular and coherent Fascism had emerged, guided by the Roman values “of synthesis, of association, of incorporation.”34 Po-



litically, the March on Rome elevated the Fascists onto the national stage and enforced a new unity of purpose, transcending the movement’s original incarnation as a motley collection of interests from northern and central Italy. At the same time, this move was conceived in broader historical terms. Echoing Mazzini’s vision of a “Third Rome,” Bottai argued that the city had always played a unifying role in Italian history. It had brought the entire peninsula under its command in antiquity; the Roman Church had created a universal community of faith in the Middle Ages; and the Risorgimento had been driven by the desire to “reclaim” the capital of Italy. In the same way, Fascism would overcome the social divisions of the Liberal regime and create a national community based on discipline and hierarchy rather than corruption and individualism. The new Roman order would also serve as a new rallying point internationally, acting as a beacon for the new order that would replace both Bolshevism and liberal democracy. This conviction intensified during Bottai’s tenure as minister of national education (1936–43), when he was charged with promoting romanità among the youth of Italy. Learning about the Roman past, he wrote, was not a “return to romanità”. . . [since] particularly for young people . . . romanità is not something which can be taught; it is interpreted, it is continued, it is developed, as an idea, I would even say as a thing, that is an inherent part of themselves.”35 It belonged not only in “books and programs, not only in libraries and archaeological explorations,” but should constitute “the very soul of School.”36 Bottai’s vision of a romanità that overcame the “static boredom” of the academy was entirely congruous with the ISR’s goal of bridging scholarship and cultural mobilization. From the outset, the institute worked to integrate Fascism’s anti-historicist cult of action with the study and promotion of the past, to imbue academic inquiry with the rhetoric of national regeneration. For Galassi Paluzzi, the idea of Rome did not amount merely to “a faded coat of arms or sacred archaeological memories, dead and obsolete and worthy only of being picked apart by sterile scholars” but was rather a vital force to be enacted, “eternal laws and imperatives for life.”37 This imperative had not been recognized by preceding generations of scholars, who had allowed the study of Rome to become the preserve of arrogant and domineering northern Europeans. Subservience to foreign—and especially German— scholarship was a common complaint in Roma and the ISR’s other publications. While acknowledging “the only true merit of [the Germanic] race, which is diligent research,” the ISR called for “a new Italian [to] write the history of Rome.”38 This new approach rejected the pedantry and positivism that marked non-Italian scholarship, and emphasized instead the capacity of the past to inspire and mobilize the present. New research was often justi-



fied in terms of international competition and salvaging Italian pride. For example, in proposing a new “complete, exhaustive, definitive, and worthy” encyclopedia of Roman monuments, Galassi Paluzzi cautioned that [Delay] would inevitably allow publications . . . by non-Italian scholars, drawn by the fascination of glorious ruins and driven by an admirable love of science. . . . We already have proof of this danger in the current situation: while Italian scholars address a wide variety of matters with zeal and great competence . . . and publish on ongoing excavations . . . one has to admit that today the most exhaustive publications of famous Roman monuments have been produced by foreign architects and archaeologists.39 Just as Mussolini’s regime had carried out a political revolution against moribund liberalism, so too would the ISR carry out an intellectual revolution against the sterility and effete historicism of the ivory tower. Once again, this transformation would be achieved through an integralist approach to the study of the Roman past, a “unitary and totalitarian vision, refuting and demolishing the absurd system of sealed compartments, analyzed anatomically as if dealing with a dead city or a fallen civilization.”40 This system would challenge the chronological and disciplinary divisions that denied the integrity of Roman civilization and even led to conflicting interpretations of the historical record. To distinguish between the republican and imperial periods, or between antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the modern world, was to deny the essential unity of romanità through the ages. Likewise, topics like law, architecture, or literature had to be studied together, in order to trace the core values—“order, discipline, harmony, hierarchy”—that ran through every facet of Roman life across time.41 The all-encompassing field of “Roman studies” would therefore supersede traditional academic disciplines in order to make Rome and romanità better understood, and therefore better loved, as . . . the highest, most harmonious and balanced form of human society; to trace the sources of Rome’s good judgment and virtue, and how with these it conquered, governed, spiritually formed, and continues to form peoples in its own image; to examine, with reverential ardor and impartial love, the mystery of that Rome “where Christ is Roman”; to gather and identify the geological, climatic, philological, military, political, sociological, philosophical and religious factors that made Rome the source, the lifeblood, and the mistress of an unequalled form of civilization; to investigate, to scrutinize, to analyze all this not only for pure delectation, feeding erudition and culture;



but in a virile manner, to demonstrate the instinctive love that we all have for Rome, to guide us, with a better understanding of the past, towards a more severe, methodical discipline in finding and affirming an expansion of the spirit, today and tomorrow—that is the scope of “Roman studies.”42 The mission of making romanità “better understood and better loved” would be achieved through three overlapping spheres of activity. First, the institute would be dedicated to scientific production across the disciplines. In addition to Roma, it published monographs on subjects ranging from Latin literature and Roman law to the history of Holy Years and the contemporary economy of the Lazio region.43 It sponsored bibliographic projects, including a master catalog of works relating to Rome (which reached over six hundred thousand entries by 1941) and a photographic archive of Roman monuments that included over twenty-two thousand prints and slides. Another set of initiatives encouraged the use of Latin among schoolchildren—through dictionaries, textbooks, and prose competitions—and the creation of Latin vocabulary for modern phenomena. The institute organized several historical and artistic exhibitions, including the Exhibitions of Roman Topography (1929) and of Nineteenth-Century Rome (1932), and coordinated the Mostra Augustea della Romanità (1937–38).44 It was also involved in technical projects, as when it worked with the Ministry of Aeronautics to promote the use of aerial photography in archaeological research.45 Two projects usefully illustrate the ISR’s conception of politically engaged and “virile” scholarship. The first was an “epigraphic census” proposed at the institute’s first national congress and spearheaded by Aristide Calderini, the president of the Lombard section.46 Aiming to counter assertions made by foreign (especially French and German) scholars that many of northern Italy’s inhabitants were not Roman but Celtic, Gothic, or Illyrian, Calderini wanted to “clarify the demographic question of the Po Valley” and demonstrate the region’s enduring Roman and Italian identity, of considerable importance given its standing as the economic and agricultural engine of the nation.47 To this end, he undertook a survey of funerary and dedicatory inscriptions from across Italy and the Mediterranean, using a “census form” to catalog the likely ethnic origin of each individual and trace “the movement, the exchange, even the migration of institutions, cults, customs and various civilizations” around the empire.48 The census was meant to prove that the Romans were not just foreign occupiers but actively engaged in Romanization, transforming the ethnic “substratum” of local populations through colonization and spreading civilization.49 The results suppos-



edly substantiated the ethno-cultural unity of the empire and contradicted the claims of foreigners who manipulated ethnographic research for the sake of “national gratification, so that their people can play a part—and the larger the better—in the ethnic composition, and therefore the history, of the various provinces.”50 Between 1928 and 1939, the ISR’s Lombard section compiled close to thirty-five thousand entries, although the study was never completed or synthesized into a comprehensive report.51 Still, some of Calderini’s other publications give a sense of the contours of his argument. In his contributions to the institute’s volumes on Roman Lombardy, for example, he acknowledges the presence of other peoples—Celts, Ligurians, and Etruscans—prior to the Roman conquest, but asserts that these groups were too backward to offer significant resistance to the Romanization process.52 Another important initiative was the Storia di Roma, a thirty-volume history of Rome from its origins to the present. According to the foreword by Mussolini, this was “finally the Roman and Italian history of Rome,” offering a full reassessment of the city’s millennial history.53 As always, the project was cast as an act of reclamation inspired by the Blackshirt revolution and the renewal of the Roman spirit. It was the duty of Italian scholars to achieve primacy in the field of classical studies, wresting it away from foreign scholars “who, while eminent, [were] not always impartial in dealing with the fruits of civilization born of the Roman Empire.”54 In keeping with the ISR’s holistic vision, the Storia di Roma would address every manifestation of Roman civilization across the centuries. Despite the fact that the volumes were extremely dense—each routinely over three hundred pages—the series was meant to appeal to a nonspecialist audience. Authors were asked to present their arguments in an accessible style, relegating more-detailed discussions and polemics to footnotes. As with the ethnographic census and so many of the ISR’s initiatives, the grandiose Storia di Roma was never fully realized. Only six of the projected thirty volumes had been published by 1941, though the remaining editions appeared in the decades after the Second World War. Notwithstanding the limited success of such projects, the institute’s regimen of scientific production was presented as an expression of Italy’s recovered ability to master its own history. At the same time, scholarly activity was cast as a manifestation of romanità in itself. Whether manifested through architectural forms, legal codes, or religious institutions, the Roman spirit signified “immense proportionality, organicity, and a unified sense of ideas, of rational balance between individual parts, a universality of goals and action,” principles that would guide the institute’s scholarly endeavors.55 Roman values were not obscured by the mists of time, their remains exhumed through diligent investigation; they were reactivated and enacted through the very



process of historical inquiry. The “totalitarian” conception of Roman studies blurred the distinction between the activity of studying the past and the past as an object of study—both demonstrating romanità’s immanence through time and space. In addition to furthering knowledge of Rome and its inheritance, then, the institute’s scientific achievements would serve as testimony to the intellectual resurgence of the New Italy. If “scientific production” expressed the dynamic intellectual forces of Mussolini’s Italy, Galassi Paluzzi argued that such innovation also required comprehensive organization. For too long, the “chaotic curiosity of the salon” had dominated academic life, “encouraging a pernicious eclecticism which, in alienating minds and souls from organicist and unitary principles, ultimately caused greater harm than good.”56 By coordinating scholars across Italy and abroad, the ISR would create a methodically organized system of activity that paralleled the centralized and hierarchical structure of Fascist corporatism.57 As with the Italian state, the study of Rome would be organized as a system linked “from the ganglia to the capillaries.”58 This authoritarian structure was formalized in the institute’s constitution of 1934, which appointed Galassi Paluzzi president for life, established a permanent board of directors, and concentrated all decision-making authority in the hands of these officers. To further the task of “methodical organization,” five national congresses of Roman studies were held between 1929 and 1938, as well as international conferences to mark the bimillenaries of Virgil (1929–30), Horace (1935), and Augustus (1937–38). The institute also maintained close relationships with the American Academy, the British School, and other international centers in Rome, and the directors of these academies—including A. W. Van Buren (USA), Thomas Ashby and J. A. Richmond (Great Britain), and Jérôme Carcopino (France)—regularly published in Roma and appeared at conferences. Between 1934 and 1938, the ISR published the series Gli studi romani nel mondo (Roman Studies around the World), which highlighted foreign contributions to the study of the Eternal City. In general, the ISR was well received in the international community of classical scholarship; its publications usually met with the approval of foreign reviewers, and its fellows participated in major congresses both at home and abroad.59 It offered honorary membership to such distinguished figures as R. G. Collingwood, Harold Mattingly, Michael Rostovzeff, and Ludwig Curtius.60 In this way, the ISR became a vehicle for the regime’s courting of foreign public opinion by promoting Italian culture abroad and establishing ties within international academia. Besides scientific production and coordination, the third aspect of the institute’s mission was to “introduce that which has been prepared by labo-



ratory science into everyday life.”61 After all, “it would be a useless and even damaging form of scientific egotism if the fruits of pure scientific research were not presented in a synthetic and comprehensive way to cultured people.”62 To this end, the ISR was dedicated to an agenda of “high popularization” [alta divulgazione], which included courses, concerts (often held inside ancient monuments), and field trips to archaeological sites. From 1926 onward, it offered classes and lecture series on a range of subjects pertaining to “Rome of the Caesars,” “Christian Rome,” “the Rome of Italy and Savoy,” and “Rome in Life and Art.” These were taught by leading figures in a number of academic disciplines, including the archaeologists Giulio Quirino Giglioli, Salvatore Aurigemma, Guido Calza, and Amedeo Maiuri;63 historians Pietro Romanelli, Salvatore Riccobono, and Pietro De Francisci;64 architects Gustavo Giovannoni and Marcello Piacentini;65 ministers of the regime, like Federzoni and Bottai, as well as several governors of Rome; and numerous figures from the Vatican establishment. Topics ranged from the highly specialized—“Viniculture in the Roman Empire,” “Horace and Love,” “Illustrious Roman Families of the Sixteenth Century”—to the more explicitly political (for example, Bottai’s lectures “The Italy of Augustus and the Italy of Today” and “The Function of Rome in the Cultural and Scientific Life of the Nation”). Attendance for these programs was respectable, though the audience was limited to those who could afford the enrolment fees.66 In order to increase its appeal, and responding to the Duce’s 1931 order to “go to the people” (andare verso il popolo), the institute initiated a number of projects to reach the masses, such as radio transmissions on Roman history. A typical offering from 1935—written by Galassi Paluzzi in conjunction with the journalist and former ANI leader Roberto Forges Davanzati—reiterated the essential conception of romanità shared by the institute and the regime alike: The Italy of Mussolini, with Rome as its capital, means that Roman history . . . is not a detached history, located at some kind of fixed point in time. . . . It is even less a history that some group of foreign scholars can cut off at a given point. . . . The history of Rome is continuous, uninterrupted, as is exemplified in this incomparable City, which has undergone sacks, struggles, misery, suffering, but has never been annihilated, which has never disappeared. . . . Rome has lived on, and will continue to live on, in the history of its Empire, as the seat of Catholicism and the Littorio; and the great events of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, all the way to the Risorgimento and the March on Rome, are connected in perpetual succession. . . . [Rome] therefore belongs to



Figure 2. Inauguration of the 1930 academic year at the Istituto di Studi Romani. Among those in attendance are Minister of National Education Balbino Giuliano, ISR president and regime hierarch Luigi Federzoni, PNF secretary Giovanni Giuriati, architect Cesare Bazzani, historian and minister Pietro Fedele, Minister of Justice Alfredo Rocco, and journalist Francesco Coppola. Courtesy of Luce Institute / Alinari Archives Management, Florence.

the Italian people, who enrich it with new values, never as parasites on the past, but with the incomparable genius of an eternally young race.67 Another instance of this populist approach was Roma Mater, a series of booklets published from 1939 onward in conjunction with the Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (the regime’s “after-work” leisure organization), which “at the very modest price of three lire are accessible to all. . . . We will soon see how widely this collection spreads among the populace and bears the fruit of spiritual and intellectual elevation.”68 Compared with Roma and other series, Roma Mater was more aggressively ideological, reflecting the regime’s radicalized rhetoric on the eve of the Second World War. Some volumes dealt with historical themes—“The Roman Empire” by Roberto Paribeni and “Roman Law and Civilization” by Riccobono—while others addressed “Rome and Fascism” (Emilio Bodrero), “The Roman Corporation and the Fascist Corporation” (Bottai), and “Rome from the World War to the New Empire” (Giglioli). As Galassi Paluzzi noted, while the “morally necessary task of dissemination” had to be pursued “with complete seriousness and



reliable information,” the materials had to avoid “going into minute analyses.”69 With many illustrations, more accessible language, and the absence of footnotes, the volumes were intended to respond to this need. Just as “scientific production” expressed Roman ardor and Fascist discipline, and “methodical organization” reflected the hierarchical and corporative organization of state and society, the ISR’s program of “high popularization” shared the regime’s revolutionary conception of mass politics and cultural mobilization. Even acknowledging the ISR’s roots in pre-Fascist conservatism and traditional academe, it is evident that Galassi Paluzzi and his cohorts were not reticent about framing their efforts in terms of the regime’s broader discourse of dynamism, regeneration, and anti-historicism. If aerial photography of ancient ruins was admittedly a departure from Futurist art, and scholarly congresses a far cry from the rampaging squadristi, the institute’s study and promotion of romanità was meant to be an act of bonifica, of reclamation and valorization through the harnessing of technology and discipline. It was not just that Fascism sought its symbols, aesthetics, or models in classical Rome, or signaled a return to the ascetic values of antiquity, but that Mussolini’s new Italy meant to establish its primacy in the study of its own history against the domination of foreign scholarship, overcome the sterility and passivity of the academy, and transcend the distance between past and present.

“Rome Where Christ Is Roman”: The ISR and the Catholic Tradition If the institute strove to reconcile academic culture and Fascist antiintellectualism, and recast scholarly research as a vehicle for national regeneration, it also played an important role in mediating between two other competing ideas: Roma capitale—the secular, nationalist tradition that drew inspiration primarily from pagan antiquity—and the Catholic conception of Roma sacra (Holy Rome).70 As previously discussed, these two currents of romanità had been at odds since the Risorgimento, and the “Roman Question” remained unresolved more than five decades after the breach of Porta Pia; the Fascists were just the latest Italian government to confront the divide between church and state.71 The relationship was also complicated by Mussolini’s Socialist past, when he had earned a reputation as a rabid mangiaprete (priest eater) and even written a racy anticlerical novella. If he was to court broad-based public support and gain legitimacy and respectability for the new regime, the Duce had to achieve some sort of reconciliation with the Holy See. In this context, Rome was a crucial field of negotiation—both as a



question of political sovereignty and as a legacy to be invoked. Romanità had the potential to be a productive meeting ground between Catholicism and Fascism, but it was also fraught with potential conflict. Mussolini’s—and Fascism’s—attitudes toward the church can best be characterized as opportunistic and flexible. Despite his anticlerical past, in his first speech to the Chamber of Deputies in June 1921 Mussolini affirmed that “the Latin and imperial tradition of Rome is today represented by Catholicism. . . . [The] universal idea exists in Rome, and radiates from the Vatican.”72 He also acknowledged that the pope was the rightful inheritor of Rome’s imperial tradition, his political and spiritual dominion [extending] to well over 400 million men, in every corner of the earth, so that one might say that the Catholic empire, with its capital in Rome, is the vastest and oldest empire in the world. . . . A fact of this enormity cannot be diminished by . . . the secular world, which has never created and will never create anything to match . . . the enormous spiritual power of Catholicism.73 Mussolini often paid such deference to the church’s preeminence, particularly in the context of the Lateran Accords of 1929, which resolved the decades-old conflict between the Vatican and the Italian state. This sentiment was formalized in Article One of the Concordat, which recognized “the sacred character of the Eternal City, Episcopal Seat of the Supreme Pontiff, centre of the Catholic world and place of pilgrimage” and pledged that secular authorities would “take care to impede whatsoever in Rome may conflict with the said character.”74 Even at this conciliatory moment, however, tensions were evident. In his speech marking the accords, Mussolini stressed that “there’s the Vatican City, and then there’s Rome. . . . Rome belongs only to the Kingdom of Italy and to Italians.”75 While the question of political sovereignty might have been settled, a more profound ideological struggle remained. Fascism’s goal of becoming a “total conception of life” (in the words of philosopher Giovanni Gentile) clearly brought it into open conflict with the institutional church, which made similar totalizing claims on Italian hearts and minds;76 once again, the definition of romanità became a central issue of debate. The Fascist position gave priority to the legacy of pagan antiquity, which had established the fundamental attributes of Roman civilization—the sober and severe mentality, the state with its laws and institutions, and the conquest of empire. It followed, then, that Catholicism occupied a secondary position in Rome’s historical development, as a structure built upon an older foundation. The title of pontifex maximus, the use of the Latin language, ecclesiastical pomp



and ceremony—all these borrowings demonstrated the church’s indebtedness to classical antiquity. Some Fascist leaders went even further in arguing for the primacy of classical civilization. Alfredo Rocco, for example, argued that early Christianity, “owing to the Jewish spirit of its origins, was anti-statal, anarchic and divisive.”77 Through contact with “the great constructive forces of Latinity” and the process of “Romanization,” the church was transformed into the “legitimate heir” of the ancient empire.78 Mussolini, using a strange mixture of revolutionary anticlericalism and Nietzschean theory, similarly maintained that “if [Christianity] had remained in Palestine, it most likely would have been one of those many sects that grew up in that scorched environment, like the Essenes and the Therapeutes, and most likely it would have extinguished itself, without leaving behind a trace.”79 It was only in the favorable imperial environment of Rome that the obscure sect found fertile soil and ultimately a means for expansion. The early Christians were outcasts and rebels against the empire, so that the new faith was only able to grow into a dominant force once it had been embraced by the state. In short, “[Christianity] was born in Palestine, but became Catholic in Rome.”80 Some figures on the extreme fringes of Fascist thought—for example, the writer Julius Evola—even called for a return to paganism: “Our God can be the aristocratic God of the Romans, the God of the patricians, prayed to standing up and with head raised, who was borne before the victorious legions—not the patron of the hopeless and afflicted, implored at the foot of the crucifix, in total self-denial.”81 The regime’s position—which cast romanità primarily in terms of secular authority and viewed the church as an extension of Rome’s original pagan character—clearly ran counter to Catholic orthodoxy. From this perspective, while the importance of the ancient empire could not be denied, its historical role was to facilitate the rise of Christianity: Roman universalism—assimilating, coordinating, promoting and unifying all people in a common civilization . . . and bearing a certain resemblance and affinity with the universal religion of Christ—was for these reasons ordered by Providence to serve as the soil best suited to sowing the seeds of evangelism and as the vehicle—not only material in its political and geographic unity on the Mediterranean basin, but also spiritual in its language and culture—for the propagation of Christianity.82 Yet if classical Rome had exercised a formative influence upon Christianity— in terms of language, institutions, and infrastructure—this relationship should in no way “give rise to the illusion that the latter derived from the former.”83



Too often, according to the Catholic newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, historians and secular rulers privileged the achievements of antiquity over the deeds of the church, resulting in erroneous and even sacrilegious assertions. Celebrating ancient glories did not require that one “deny Christianity . . . the great merit of having corrected things, of having definitively established the boundary between human and divine, and of having undertaken the greatest struggle of ideas in history.”84 The Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica, reviewing new history textbooks produced by the regime in 1931, drew a similar conclusion. Narratives that emphasized the Romanization of Christianity were dismissed for their “foreign, Protestant and atheist rationalism,” even verging on Marxist historical materialism;85 if Catholicism was so dependent on the Roman edifice, how was it that while the empire had collapsed, the church had “resisted victoriously and remains youthfully, perennially vigorous?”86 Asserting the primacy of the church did not necessarily deny the importance of classical civilization. Indeed, many of its achievements were valued for their contribution to the development of Christianity. The Augustan Pax Romana facilitated the birth of Christ; Virgil’s Georgics presaged the coming of the Messiah; and the apostle Paul’s declaration of civis romanus sum demonstrated that Roman citizenship could protect the faith. Still, the empire’s demise in the face of Christianity was necessary in order for Rome to realize its providential mission. In the Catholic view, pagan morality had been barbaric and cruel, bathed in the blood of innocent martyrs and ruled by the force of arms. The demographic, political, and moral decline of the ancient Roman order was a sign of its spiritual corruption and its predestined fate. Divine providence ensured that a new universal order was built upon the ruins of the pagan world: The tawny eagle ceded its flight to the Cross: the legions left their steps to the apostles; the empire of Rome, imposed by arms over the world, was succeeded by the empire of the religion of peace. The distant myth of a shepherd, who founded the glory of Rome, was succeeded by the true story of a shepherd of souls, who dominated the world from Rome.87 The new Catholic order was therefore not an emulation of the ancient empire but a new community of peace whose influence would be vaster, more profound, and more enduring than that of paganism. The church did not just serve as a vehicle for transmitting the legacy of Rome to future generations, but it gave rise to a “new romanità,” the ultimate realization of the Eternal City’s universal mission.88 Arguing against the prevailing Fascist interpreta-



tion, the Vatican argued that the transfusion of the Roman spirit into the church did not mean that Catholicism was just “the imperialist Romanization of a popular and exclusive Palestinian sect.”89 Instead, with the advent of the new faith the Eternal City genuinely became “the common mother of all peoples” in a universal community that was “neither the cosmopolitanism of ancient philosophers, nor the internationalism of modern humanitarian utopians—but rather . . . of a ‘universal and imperial romanità, which conquered its own barbarian conquerors and transfused itself into the Catholic Church.’”90 The Fascist version of Rome stressed the contemporary rebirth of classical antiquity after centuries of darkness, but the Catholic position expressed precisely the opposite. It was pagan Rome that had been superseded by Christianity and consigned to history. Far from the Romanization of Christianity, claimed the Vatican, Rome had been irrevocably Christianized: Rome . . . is the creation of the Catholic Pontificate, the heir of its greatness and glory. Ancient Rome, which did not know the God of our fathers . . . we evoke out of erudition, among the ruins of the Palatine and the Forum. It is a moment in the past, it is the altar upon which Christianity consecrated its own altar. . . . Christian Rome lives on in the basilicas, no longer sullied by the cries and blood of slaves, but a monument of the faith and greatness of the race.91 Alongside their reclamation of romanità, many Catholics also attacked the Fascists for their veneration of the state.92 Under the Roman Empire, both the state and its rulers had been deified, and the early Christians had been the first to reject the worship of temporal authority. In the same way, the Fascists announced their desire to resurrect the totalitarian “ethical state” and to this end had created a new political liturgy to supplant traditional religion.93 The anti-Fascist priest (and leader of the Catholic Popular Party) Luigi Sturzo recognized this threat as early as 1923, when he condemned “the absolute concept of the pantheist or deified nation. . . . For us, the State is not a religion.”94 This criticism reached its apogee in 1931, when the regime launched an aggressive crackdown on the lay organization Azione Cattolica (Catholic Action), which was seen as harboring anti-Fascist sentiment and whose youth wing posed a direct challenge to the Fascist mobilization of young people.95 In response, Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Non abbiamo bisogno, which condemned Fascism as “an ideology which clearly resolves itself into a true, a real pagan worship of the State—the ‘Statolatry’ which is no less in contrast with the natural rights of the family than it is in contradiction with the supernatural rights of the Church.”96 Again, the historical resonance was clear: Mussolini, having championed the cult of the state and claimed



the mantle of the ancient emperors, was a new Diocletian persecuting the devout martyrs of Azione Cattolica. Against genuine religion, Fascism had erected “a religiosity that descends—and allows others to descend—into insulting words and deeds against the Father of all the faithful, to the point of condemning them to death: a real rush to parricide.”97 For its part, the regime insisted that the church “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” and that modern life could only move forward under a state that was “strong, organic, and ruled by principles of authority, order and justice.”98 Against such deep divisions, the Istituto di Studi Romani positioned itself as an interlocutor between the church and the regime, and used its totalizing conception of romanità to establish some common ground. The desire to mediate between secular and sacred Rome can in part be attributed to Galassi Paluzzi himself. In both public statements and private correspondence, he emphasized the importance of faith to his conception of romanità. This belief was most fully expressed in his project Scienza e Fede (Science and Faith).99 The director envisioned a worldwide chain of prayer, devoted to “all those who study . . . in order that the discovery of the Truth should crown every scientific endeavor.” This would be not just an informal network but a permanent institution with a structure similar to the institute’s, composed of a board of directors drawn from secular and ecclesiastical authorities. Like “Moses, who prayed while Joshua fought,” Scienza e Fede would serve as “a defensive barrier and a response to the deleterious work being carried out in the field of science and modern culture by the excesses of ‘naturalism.’ ”100 To promote this program, Galassi Paluzzi persistently lobbied members of the Roman clergy, monasteries, and convents to pray on behalf of the ISR, particularly at appointed times when Galassi Paluzzi was granted audiences with the Duce or the Vatican hierarchy.101 Just as the institute required financial support of the regime, he wrote to the Dominican historian Innocenzo Taurisano, it also needed the spiritual support of prayer: The Institute needs such supernatural collaboration, not only for its initiatives that seek to illuminate the many glories and merits of Christian Rome with the light of science; but also [to promote] a unitary, organic, and therefore true, vision of romanità and of the mission . . . that Providence has entrusted to Rome in every century, from antiquity to the present; and finally because this scientific research . . . aims to bring the light of truth to hearts and minds, the light of both natural and supernatural truth, of which Rome has been and will always be the repository and master.102



The director’s personal initiative seems to have met with little enthusiasm; his overtures were often rebuffed by both clergy and the ISR membership.103 Nevertheless, Scienza e Fede demonstrated both the institute’s desire to play a role in church-state relations and the depth of its commitment to a holistic interpretation of romanità. Its “totalitarian” conception required that the centuries between the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Fascism (that is, the centuries of papal rule) not be dismissed as a period of dormancy or obsolescence; the failure to recognize the organic unity of romanità—by either secular science or Catholic doctrine—prevented a full understanding of the Urbs and its historic mission. The effort to bridge the pagan and Christian traditions was often encapsulated by the formulation Roma onde Cristo è romano (Rome, where Christ is Roman). The phrase— ubiquitous in Roma and other ISR publications—derived from canto XXXII of Dante’s Purgatorio, and originally referred to the heavenly city of which all Christians would one day be citizens.104 It was also the title of a lecture series that brought together the scholars of the institute and members of the clerical elite; it was inaugurated by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli in 1936 (then the Vatican secretary of state, and as of March 1939, Pope Pius XII) and also featured speakers like Pietro Roetto (archbishop of Genoa), Francesco Borgongini Duca (the Vatican’s ambassador to the Italian government), and Celso Constantini (bishop of Fiume during D’Annunzio’s occupation and later head of missionary operations in China). This formulation emphasized the fundamental principles that the three Romes—of the Caesars, the popes, and the fascio littorio—held in common. All were governed by a sense of hierarchy, discipline, and order, which in turn were enforced by a powerful central state and stringent laws. According to Alessandro Chiappelli, introducing the premise of Roma onde Cristo è romano at the institute’s first national congress, Jesus preached “respect . . . for the political and military authority of Rome” and believed that the Roman destruction of Jerusalem was an act of divine retribution against the Jews.105 Contrary to previous Fascist assertions, Christ “did not truly share Judaism’s rebellious spirit against Rome . . . [and] at every turn denied any messianic hopes for the political restoration of Israel.”106 From the outset, the new religion had “looked to eternal Rome, the center of the Empire, for a divine design . . . that would serve as the basis for the universality of the new faith.”107 Galassi Paluzzi drew parallels between Roman stoicism—“enduring ruin and disaster with a firm and dignified spirit”—and Christian faith: Only in faith in God; in the belief in a common origin for the human race, which makes us all brothers; in the conviction that one can only



receive that which justice grants to all peoples and individuals; in the understanding that the legitimate exercise of authority derives from divine law, and that one can only find liberty in this law; that, in sum, only in truth, justice and charity can one find solutions to the most challenging problems and enjoy a lasting peace.108 If Rome served predominantly as a national symbol for the regime in the 1920s, its Catholic significance enabled it to take on a more universal dimension. With the resolution of the conflict between the Vatican and the Italian state, the Eternal City was now the center of a new movement that would not only regenerate Italy but establish a new European order. Just as Fascism envisioned a “Third Way” between Moscow and Geneva, Galassi Paluzzi wrote to a sympathetic foreign scholar, only genuine Roman values could lead to a new era of international understanding and cooperation: One cannot create a new European conscience through a new efflorescence of humanism or with the constitution of a vague European Christianity. I maintain that only a clear affirmation of the Roman faith . . . and of Fascism’s principles of authority and hierarchy can serve as the definite basis for the blossoming and powerful reaffirmation of a European conscience. It has been precisely the paganizing humanism of Latin peoples, and the Protestant Christianity of Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples, which have brought us to the terrible crisis of European unity that we are undergoing. Fascism and Catholicism: authority, hierarchy, the unity of religious faith; this is what Europe needs, not an aestheticizing humanism or a protestant Christianity.109 In this way, Rome would again become the seat of a universal empire, a “fatherland of all souls” that not only emulated its classical and Christian antecedents but also forged a new order for the modern world, inspired by the steel will of Fascism.110 This new community would reject humanist cosmopolitanism, Protestant and liberal individualism and materialism, and Marxist internationalism. The ISR’s efforts to reconcile the various strands of the Roman tradition met with an enthusiastic reception from Catholic intellectuals and Vatican officials. La Civiltà Cattolica repeated hailed its “genuine romanità” and its ability to promote collaboration between Italian and foreign academics.111 The institute’s work “show[ed] how alive and powerful the idea of romanità is today, that is the culture and civilization which Rome brought to the world, especially after the renovation brought by the divine breath of Christianity, which made Rome the true center of the Church and the capital of the



world: caput orbis.”112 At the ISR, sacred and secular romanità were embraced as an indissoluble unity, opening a space for dialogue and exchange between the regime and the Holy See. Viewed in its totality, it is evident that the Istituto di Studi Romani functioned as something more complex than a manufacturer of Fascist propaganda. Its scholarly orientation, its ties to traditionalist forces in Italian society, and its complicated relationship to the state all suggest that the institute enjoyed relative independence from the exigencies of the regime. At the same time, a close examination of its discourse on Rome, and the ways in which it conceived of its scholarly mission, also demonstrates the extent to which the radical discourse of early Fascism permeated the ISR’s scholarship and infrastructure. In many respects, the strands that made up the institute— ranging from committed Fascists to monarchists, from Catholic conservatives to right-wing Liberals—represented the composition of the regime in microcosm. Like Fascism itself, the ISR looked resolutely forward as it studied the past. While serving as a means of integrating Catholic traditionalism into the regime’s discourse on Rome, it subsumed all these elements into a dynamic, activist vision of romanità that privileged the new regime over its predecessors. Galassi Paluzzi and his colleagues had a formative impact not only on the regime’s discourse on Rome, but indeed on the very fabric of the Eternal City itself—the subject to which we will now turn.

Ch a p ter 3

History and Hygiene in Mussolini’s Rome, 1925–1938

At the Istituto di Studi Romani, the regime and classical scholars had come together to recast the relationship between the Roman past and the Fascist present. This new “historic imaginary” (in the words of Claudio Fogu) was not confined to intellectual production; it was also meant to be actuated materially, through the transformation of the Roman landscape.1 The classic statement of the regime’s ambitions for the capital remains Mussolini’s speech installing the new governor of Rome in December 1925. Speaking “in the Roman style, its concision befitting the solemn romanità of this ceremony,” the Duce laid out his vision of a capital renewed by the dynamic forces of Fascism’s new Italy.2 Within five years, he announced, the regime would create a city that was “a marvel to all the peoples of the world: vast, ordered, powerful, as it was during the first empire of Augustus.”3 This transformation would be accomplished through an ambitious program of urban renewal and archaeological excavation. Besides creating new streets, parks, and gardens and making hygienic improvements, Fascism would rescue the monumental remains of antiquity “from the oblivion of silence.”4 Mussolini called upon the governor to liberate the trunk of the great oak from all that still constrains it. Create space around the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Theater of Marcellus, the Capitoline, the Pantheon. All that has grown up over the centuries 50



of decadence must disappear. Within five years, the dome of the Pantheon must be visible from Piazza Colonna, through a great passage. Also liberate the majestic temples of Christian Rome from parasitic and profane constructions. The millennial monuments of our history must loom in necessary solitude.5 The valorization of the city’s ancient monuments, and their “liberation” from the excrescence of the centuries, were key ingredients in the larger project of creating “a monumental Rome of the twentieth century . . . to be renewed continually, in order to transmit it to future generations as an inheritance from the Fascist era.”6 But what was this “twentieth-century Rome” meant to look like? How would the modern age be inscribed upon an urban fabric produced over thousands of years? Would the new Rome resemble the great metropolises of Europe and America, or would it express a distinctly Italian conception of the contemporary city? And how would the capital be not only modernized but Fascistized—how would it reflect the rejuvenated spirit of Mussolini’s “New Italy”? These questions are complex, and have provoked voluminous scholarship. The classic account remains Antonio Cederna’s Mussolini urbanista (1979), which diligently chronicled the clearing and gutting, the clumsiness and single-mindedness, that marked archaeology and urban planning under Fascism.7 Later analyses from Borden Painter and Emilio Gentile emphasized the use of architecture in the courting of popular consensus and the promotion of the regime’s “political religion.”8 Most recently, Paul Baxa has advanced a novel interpretation that connects Fascism’s urban vision to the landscape of the Italian front in the First World War.9 What follows in this chapter is not a systematic survey of the regime’s projects in Rome, nor a detailed analysis of these initiatives from the perspective of architecture and urban planning—all of which have been ably accomplished elsewhere. Instead, I am interested in the nexus between Rome-as-idea (that is, romanità, particularly as synthesized at the Istituto di Studi Romani in the twenties and early thirties) and Rome-as-place, as a physical landscape to be shaped. This connection was mutually constitutive: Fascism’s revolutionary, anti-historicist conception of history would be articulated in spatial terms, and leave a permanent imprint on the fabric of the city, while new urban realities helped reinforce and further elaborate romanità as a central tenet of Fascist ideology. Building the “monumental Rome of the twentieth century” therefore involved a reckoning with history, a recasting of the relationship between the city’s past, present, and future. To understand this negotiation, a useful distinction can be made between three different Romes defined both by space



and time:10 Roma nuova, the “new” Rome redeemed and remade by Fascism; Roma antica, the Rome of classical antiquity, and even more specifically the city at the apex of its development during the imperial period; and Roma vecchia, “old Rome,” comprising all aspects of the city that dated from the fall of the empire to the advent of Mussolini’s regime, and encompassing both papal and Liberal eras. This last was also slated to become Roma sparita, the “vanished Rome” that would cease to exist in the present and linger only in memory.

Necessity and Grandeur: Roma Nuova The regime’s vision of the “new” Rome was clearly an emanation of Fascist ideology—as we shall soon see—but it also reflected the influence of urbanism in Italy and Europe over the previous half-century. As several scholars have noted, “totalitarian” city planning in the twentieth century—whether in Mussolini’s Rome, Hitler’s Berlin, or Stalin’s Moscow—in many ways represented the culmination of a trajectory begun in the second half of the nineteenth century.11 In response first to industrialization, and then to the consolidation of nation-states and the conquest of colonial empires, governments across Europe and beyond began approaching urban space through the “clinical eye” of the planner, seeking to discipline chaotic cityscapes and “disclose [the city’s] new order by means of a pure, schematic layout which [would] disentangle it from its dross, the sediment of past and present failures.”12 This “ordering” interventionism dovetailed in turn with approaching the city as a “work of art,” a canvas on which to display power, prestige, and progress.13 This was especially true for national capitals, which beyond the regular functions of cities had to serve as “parade grounds for stateimposed order . . . to showcase the state-sanctioned power of order with paradigmatic and symbolic force.”14 The major instances of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century urban planning illustrate these preoccupations. In Second Empire Paris, Haussmann implemented an aggressive program of “regularization,” carving broad, rectilinear boulevards out of dense medieval quarters; these measures were simultaneously a means of “sanitizing” the city, adapting it to the exigencies of modern traffic and commerce, and providing a triumphal display space for the new imperial regime.15 In Vienna, the historic center was left intact and enclosed by the new Ringstrasse, which similarly functioned as “a scene of display, serving less to perform modern urban functions than to express a sense of historical authenticity, greatness, and dignity . . . a rendition of power in urban architectural terms.”16 In most instances, the monumental-



ized cities of the nineteenth and early twentieth century explicitly claimed inspiration from imperial Rome. Neoclassicism was the dominant style of state, with its insistence upon aesthetic unity, directed vistas, and rationalized geometry.17 Anticipating Mussolini by over half a century, the propagandists of Haussmannization believed that history would one day celebrate “the Paris of Napoleon III” alongside the “Rome of Augustus”;18 this impulse echoed in city plans from London and Chicago to Canberra and Pretoria.19 However, while these cities were busily emulating the classical model, Rome itself bore little resemblance to the idealized Urbs of antiquity, or indeed to any other major national capital. As seen previously, constructing Roma capitale—a secularized, Italianized, modernized city in place of the “medieval” city of the papacy—had posed an acute challenge to the Italian state since 1870. Fascism’s agenda for Rome must also be situated within this trajectory.20 Indeed, many of the regime’s projects had been anticipated in previous decades, and in some cases dated as far back as the Napoleonic and late papal periods.21 For example, the linking of Piazza Venezia with the Colosseum—achieved in 1932 with Via dell’Impero—was envisioned several times over the course of the nineteenth century, and variations on the final design had featured in the master plans of 1873, 1883, and 1909; the isolation of the Mausoleum of Augustus was similarly included in the 1909 plan. The realization of these projects during the Ventennio (the twenty-year period of Fascist rule) departed from their Liberal-era antecedents in important ways, but it cannot be denied that in many instances they responded to the same exigencies. One major difference between Fascist and pre-Fascist approaches to urban planning was simply that Mussolini’s regime was more aggressive in implementing its designs. In 1925, Rome’s elected civic government was replaced by the Governatorato, an administration with a governor appointed by the state.22 This move was aimed not so much at eliminating a potential site of opposition (the city government was dominated by Nationalists and rightwing Catholics, who as we have seen quickly came into the Fascist fold) as at strengthening the regime’s ability to exert direct control over the administration of the capital. As early as March 1923, Mussolini’s cabinet had concluded that the city could not support itself economically, and that the national government would have to assume the costs of a major renovation of the urban fabric.23 The city administration was eliminated, and the standing mayor, Filippo Cremonesi, was appointed temporary commissioner. Days later, a meeting of the Fascist Grand Council determined that “the capital city . . . the political center of the Nation and the seat of the central organs of the State, must have a special administrative organization befitting its statal



function.”24 In this way, “Fascism, which has the sign of Roman justice and power as its symbol, [would] provide for the capital of the Italian State and the Fascist Government [would] prepare a new imperial Rome for a new Italy.”25 The extent to which the Governatorato amounted to a rigorous fascistization of the civic government is debatable; in this respect it resembled the policies adopted toward the academy, discussed in the previous chapter. Among all the governors appointed during the Ventennio, only Giuseppe Bottai was a member of the Fascist inner circle and the only one not drawn from the ranks of the local aristocracy. At no point did the new administration lead to a purge of civil servants or a major influx of party loyalists. Nevertheless, even its harshest critics today acknowledge that the new streamlined structure enabled a much more rapid implementation of the regime’s projects, for better or worse. As one planner noted in 1928, the fate of Rome between the breach of the Porta Pia and the March on Rome had been “a story of humiliating bargaining between the State and Rome, bargaining which was ended by the Fascist Government.”26 The Governatorato’s chief agent in transforming the capital was Antonio Muñoz, the inspector general of its Fine Arts and Antiquities administration (Ripartizione X—Antichità e Belle Arti, or AABBAA).27 A native Roman descended from Castilian envoys to the Vatican, Muñoz was appointed the civic government’s director of monuments in 1921 (like Cremonesi and many other protagonists of this story, he was installed prior to the Fascist seizure of power), and after the March on Rome he served on commissions established by the regime to develop a new regulatory plan for the city. From 1929 until the regime’s demise, he served as the Governatorato’s ultimate authority on Rome’s architectonic heritage, with a direct line to Mussolini and other members of the Fascist leadership. Given his background in historical preservation—his original expertise lay in the restoration of medieval churches—it is unsurprising that Muñoz tended to consult more closely with archaeologists and historians than with experts on modern planning. The list of his collaborators is almost identical to the membership of the Istituto di Studi Romani, with archaeologists like Giulio Quirino Giglioli and Antonio Maria Colini, architects like Marcello Piacentini and Gustavo Giovannoni, and Carlo Galassi Paluzzi himself. Similarly, the Governatorato’s journal Capitolium, founded in 1925, featured many of the same contributors as the ISR’s Roma.28 The efficiency and expertise of Muñoz and his staff were frequently invoked by the regime as the basis for its successes, especially in comparison with the incompetence of previous civic administrations. Still, this group of



technocrats operated behind the scenes, and in public accounts was always overshadowed by another presence—namely Mussolini himself. It is worth noting that the capital was called Roma Mussoliniana (or Roma Mussolinea, in its Latinized form) more often than Roma Fascista.29 Portrayed as omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent in every sphere of human activity, the Duce occupied a prominent position in the representation of urban planning in the capital.30 Just as previous epochs in the city’s history had been designated by the names of its rulers (as with Augustus, Leo IV, and Napoleon), proclaimed Muñoz, future generations would refer to “the Rome of Mussolini”: Despite being absorbed with the great duties of politics, after having sketched out in great strokes the plan for the transformation and beautification of the old city through the liberation of its ancient monuments, the Duce follows the execution of this vast program day by day, hour by hour, down to the most minute details. Nothing escapes his watchful eye, from the restoration of famous buildings, to the systematization of a quarter which presents delicate problems of urban planning, to the most modest issues of civic aesthetics, from an illuminated sign that enlivens a modern street to a billboard defacing an old piazza, from a lamp-post out of place to a withered tree in a garden. He observes, supervises, corrects all; he intervenes in everything with such eager and precise vision that while it is challenging to follow him . . . it is at the same time a great joy to work under his orders.31 While reflecting Mussolini’s increasing preeminence and popularity in the late twenties and early thirties, this depiction also demonstrates the extent to which the transformation of the capital was integrated into the cult of the Duce. Given that he was a northerner, previously given to tirades against the “parasitism” of the capital, Mussolini’s Roman credentials were suspect. Yet, argued one commentator in Capitolium, a sense of romanità was “born in the fiber of his being. It was the innate Roman realism of the descendents of the Quiriti who colonized the Po valley, abandoned by small Umbro-Etruscan clans and by nomadic Gauls.”32 By 1932, the Duce himself was eager to claim that “the virtues of classical Rome, the doing of the Romans of old, are always on my mind. They are a heritage which I try to turn to good account.”33 Whether or not the regime’s projects for the capital were directly inspired and supervised by the Duce, or motivated by his supposedly profound love of classical antiquity, the image of “Mussolini’s Rome” intersected closely with the idea of modernizing and valorizing the city. As Simonetta FalascaZamponi has argued, one of the key aspects of the Mussolini myth was his



representation as the original homo autotelus, a creative force capable of molding minds and shaping the world around him.34 The construction of the new Rome was therefore the expression of the ineluctable will of the individual, of modern man’s ability to master his surroundings in space and time. Mussolini’s romanità, expressed in the many improvements to the capital, was not some expedient tactic of a party. It was required to cure Italians, poisoned by the virus of pessimism created by defeatists in war and peace; the idea of Rome was essential for the cure. . . . It is not rhetoric, nor the reminiscences . . . of Latinists and intransigent purists. When the President, receiving the ius civitatis on the Capitoline, exclaimed “Civis Romanus Sum” . . . when, from the rostra of the Forum, he admonished the Nation to discipline; when he willed the rebirth of Ostia, the resurrection of the Imperial Fora, the new bridges, the new buildings, everything about him was natural and artistic, and no-one could find his actions histrionic or anti-aesthetic, as it would have been had the protagonist been some decrepit lawyer.35 In this way, the Duce was the ultimate artifex, transcending the mediocrity of his predecessors and single-handedly reclaiming the Eternal City from the empty rhetoric and corruptions of the past. Through the renewal of urban space, he could effect a moral and spiritual renewal of the national soul. Under his leadership, Rome had become “not just a city, but a political institution, a moral category.”36 While the valorization of the Eternal City was a central theme of the regime’s discourse from 1925 onward, it was less clear what such a transformation entailed. What would this “monumental Rome for the twentieth century” look like, especially if, according to Mussolini, it “should not be just a modern city, in the banal sense of the word”?37 It would be impossible to follow the model of Italy’s most modern cities, Turin and Milan. Both had been industrial centers for half a century and, while certainly possessing historic quarters, were believed to be more capable of absorbing contemporary innovations in architecture and design; furthermore, urban planning in these northern cities was oriented more toward economic expansion and rationalization, as opposed to the preoccupation in Rome with monumentality and display.38 Likewise, the steely monotony and aesthetic conformity that marked the metropolises of northern Europe and North America were to be avoided; Rome could never be an ultramodern city “like Chicago, because Rome would no longer be Rome.”39 To turn it into an American-style city would be “to destroy the incomparable fascination of this city, exalted by a hundred poets, to reduce it to a mechanical agglomeration, with a grid of



streets, of metal bridges between houses, with skyscrapers, with colossal and importunate advertising.”40 At the same time, however, the regime refused to resign itself to “creative impotence, seeing Rome through the eyes of misoneists, denying [themselves] the ability to do good.”41 The capital could not remain an intangible relic, a cemetery instead of a living organism. Mediating between Rome’s physical past and its future potential, between conservation and construction, was thus the central challenge facing the regime’s planners. A wholesale Haussmannization was impossible, since distinctive aspects of the city’s architectonic strata had to be conserved. Equally, however, the Ringstrasse option—walling off the historic center with a “sociological isolation belt”—would turn Rome into a “dead city,” deprived of modern vitality and productivity.42 As an inviolate museum, the capital could not testify to the eternal vitality of romanità or the regenerative power of Fascism. This tension was manifested in the Governatorato’s master plan of 1931, “a genuine battle plan for one of those bloodless battles that Fascism, under the guidance of its Leader, has known how to fight and win, in order to lead the Fatherland towards a more glorious future.”43 For its authors, the fundamental principle informing the plan was that despite the ubiquity of the past, “antiquity should be respected so long as it does not suffocate unavoidable necessities: death should not suffocate life.”44 While some of Rome’s most celebrated districts—the Rinascimento area at the heart of the city, Trastevere, the Borgo surrounding the Vatican—were to remain intact, the regime reserved the right to make deep and radical incisions. The initiatives outlined in the plan would be “respectful of the past, without nostalgic sentimentality,” seeking “to save true architectural, panoramic and environmental beauty, and not the little curiosities of architectural small-mindedness, inseparable from poor hygienic and moral conditions.”45 To this end, expansion would be directed toward the eastern periphery, while buildings in the city center would be subject to “the most severe and rigid architectural regulations regarding not only the lines, heights and size of the buildings to be built, but also their function, their architectural character, their color. Only with this in mind can we allow any of the cuts proposed in the center of Rome.”46 Clearly, such ambiguous principles were difficult to translate into practice, and the regime was never comfortable with the imposition of modern buildings in the centro storico.47 The most dramatic interventions—Via dell’Impero and Via del Mare, which both departed from Piazza Venezia and stretched toward the Colosseum and the Tiber respectively—cleared away existing structures but did not replace them with new ones. The reticence to build is also clear from the fact that many of the regime’s new constructions, like the development of the residential suburbs, the Foro Mussolini athletic complex,



the Città Universitaria, and (later) the EUR district, were all situated on the city’s periphery, well outside the historic center. Most telling was the abortive attempt in 1934 to build a new national party headquarters (the Palazzo del Littorio) along Via dell’Impero and facing both the Colosseum and the Basilica of Maxentius. The structure was intended as an “expression of the new artistic climate that is forming in Italy . . . a sign of the orientations, the revisions, the realizations . . . of all the spiritual forces of an epoch’s artists, to capture one moment in the civilization of a people, to transmit to the centuries.”48 In addition to the party headquarters, it would house a permanent museum of the Fascist revolution and a shrine to the martyrs of the March on Rome. Despite the stated desire to capture a uniquely Fascist aesthetic, however, the guidelines for the design competition gave architects full license in terms of building materials and style, and particularly encouraged contributions from the younger generation of modernist architects; the main formal requirement was that the proposals “take account of the highest significance of the theme to be developed and the value of the surroundings in which the new building will be built.”49 For this reason, the color of the palazzo had to conform to its surroundings, and on a symbolic level it had to “correspond to the greatness and power which Fascism has marked the renewal of national life, in continuity with the Roman tradition.”50 In the view of the competition’s judges (which included PNF secretary Achille Starace, the architects Piacentini, Armando Brasini, and Cesare Bazzani, and officials of the Governatorato), such continuity did not necessarily entail the aping of classical styles. Designers could draw inspiration from the Roman architectural principles of proportion and harmony, but then had to proceed to create “positive, rational criteria and forms consistent with contemporary life.”51 The imitation of foreign styles—and equally of beaux-arts classicism—was to be avoided at all costs: The colonnades of the Pantheon, the triumphal arches, the domes, the spires, the statues, the chariots would not have worked, and would have seemed insupportable falsifications in comparison to the original and venerated remains of the past; on the other hand, one of those architectural boxes which are today in style, especially across the Alps, would not have been tolerated.52 Many architects felt that they had been assigned an impossible task; indeed, one leading rationalist, Giuseppe Pagano, refused to submit an entry on the grounds that it was impossible to find a suitable aesthetic for a building surrounded by such “illustrious cadavers.”53 After the initial phase of the competition, the judges felt that too many of the submissions had erroneously



“sought ‘justifications’ in antiquity,” while conversely the Fascist Chamber of Deputies rejected the designs for being excessively modernist “German and Bolshevik stuff.”54 Ultimately this controversy led to the cancellation of the competition and the plan’s demise. The Palazzo del Littorio was resurrected years later, but was moved from the historic center to the northern fringes of the city; this building was only completed in 1959, and today serves as the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As the failure of the Palazzo del Littorio suggests, the remains of Rome’s ancient past posed an almost insurmountable challenge to the regime’s desire to build a monumental city of the twentieth century; modern buildings would invariably appear meager or incongruous in comparison. Antonio Muñoz, discussing the Capitoline Hill, argued that “no-one could consider erecting new buildings, once the old ones had been destroyed. If they were modest, they would simply have returned us to its previous state; if they were given a monumental style, they would have brought such a pompous, rhetorical tone that the Sacred Hill would not have tolerated them.”55 Indeed, it was easier for the regime’s interventions to be destructive than constructive. According to the Governatorato’s estimates, the construction of Via dell’Impero alone required the demolition of 138 buildings across eleven city blocks, clearing an area of 40,600 square meters (ten acres).56 While such profound incisions and widespread destruction might have been regrettable, the inescapable reality was that it was “not means of transportation which adjust themselves to the structure of millennia-old cities, but rather old historic centers which must sacrifice their glory to this mechanism of most recent creation.”57 The roaring motorcar—glorified as the harbinger of Italian modernity ever since the Futurist Manifesto—would intrude into the most ancient of spaces.58 The new road was not meant to be a mere viewing platform for the archaeological district; in lieu of “statues, shields, tombs or garlands,” it would be “enlivened day and night by thousands of vehicles and a crowd of pedestrians.”59 Indeed, claimed Antonio Muñoz, “one might almost say that the street would be beautiful even without the ruins of the Imperial Fora; just as . . . it is still beautiful when the ruins fade into the shadows in the evening.”60 Refuting claims that it would be “a dead street,” he proudly announced that the road had seen “6,200,000 automobiles, 700,000 trucks, 27,000 horse-carts, and 14,000,000 pedestrians in one year.”61 This traffic, racing along the broad avenue which only months before had been a maze of sordid alleys, embodied the virtues of the new Rome, a city transformed both physically and spiritually: Not only are new roads being drawn in sacred soil, and a new city built in solid stone, but the souls of its inhabitants are being molded and



built with solid principles. A reclamation of the body and of the spirit; obedience to the laws of beauty and civilization; discipline in the street, in the home, at school. Harmony, order, clarity, cleanliness: these are the characteristics of the Rome of Mussolini.62

“The School of Energy and Discipline”: Roma Antica Fascism’s ability to imagine—much less implement—a plan for Roma nuova was therefore severely circumscribed by the city’s preexisting composition. Faced with this limitation, the regime sought a new—and seemingly paradoxical—means of imposing its vision of modernity: the restoration of Rome’s ancient topography, or in the words of the 1931 master plan, effacing “the stain of material and moral misery” and liberating “the antiquities that express [Rome’s] inextinguishable greatness . . . from the grasp of parasitism.”63 Mussolini’s modern metropolis could not be constructed ex novo; it would have to be exhumed. To carry out this excavation, the regime turned once again to the “brain trust” of romanità: the archaeologists, scholars, urbanists, and ideologues who congregated around the Istituto di Studi Romani. The “modernization”—understood in this context also as Fascistization—of Rome would be guided by men immersed in the city’s past. Freed from the ivory tower, they would now be given the opportunity to participate directly in the Fascist project of reclamation and regeneration, to excavate modernity in literal terms. Just as the scholarship of the ISR was meant to transcend the sterile world of academia and overcome the “artificial” barriers dividing antiquity and modernity, so too was archaeology presented as an act of valorization. Excavation was no longer conceived as a recovery of a buried civilization, or even as a way of conserving the fragile remnants of the past. In fact, the opposite held true: Fascist archaeology was informed by the aggressive desire to reclaim space and bodies, erase the visible passage of time from the face of the Eternal City and blur the boundaries—spatial, temporal, and experiential—between the Roman past and Fascist present. As such, it can be considered a form of utopian social engineering, an expression of what James Scott has termed “high modernist ideology”: “a strong, one might even say muscle-bound, version of the self-confidence about scientific and technical progress, the expansion of production, the growing satisfaction of human needs, the mastery of nature (including human nature), and, above all, the rational design of social order commensurate with the scientific understanding of natural laws.”64 It is therefore possible to read Mussolini’s Rome as a spatial articulation of Roman modernity, a physical incarnation of



Fascism’s anti-temporal, anti-historicist conception of time and history. As previously discussed, the concept of bonifica—of reclamation, regeneration, and renewal—was central to Fascism’s discourse of modernity. The drainage of the malarial Pontine marshes and the construction of “New Towns” were celebrated as bonifica integrale (“integral” or “total” reclamation);65 efforts aimed at boosting agricultural production were bonifica agraria or the “Battle for Grain,” while campaigns for increasing birth rates (the “Battle for Births”) and strengthening Italian bodies were subsumed under bonifica umana (“human reclamation”).66 While bonifica schemes were largely directed toward rural areas and populations, consonant with the regime’s emphasis on salutary effects—both physical and moral—of agrarian life, the desire for renewal and regeneration also extended to urban space. As David Horn has suggested, the city posed an acute challenge to Fascist ideology: a site of industrial productivity and architectural monumentality, it was also the locus of class unrest, demographic sterility, and decay.67 It was often approached “in medical terms: as a cancer, as a leprous body, or as an organism whose growth was pathological, whose component parts were diseased, and whose populations were both dangerous and endangered.”68 These metaphors of medicalized violence and social hygiene pervaded the regime’s discourse on Rome.69 The capital was a diseased organism, and archaeologists were to “see themselves as surgeons” saving “the beloved body of a mother” with their “implements.”70 Through a process of sventramento (literally “disemboweling” or “gutting”), isolamento (isolation), and valorizzazione (valorization, a term comparable to bonifica), ancient monuments would be rendered “naked,” cleared of the layers of debris that had built up over centuries of neglect and misuse, of backwardness and foreign rule; liberated from their surrounding area and framed by a “zone of silence” to maximize their visual and affective impact; and restored as much as possible to their original integrity.71 Through the “discovery of venerable remains,” wrote the archaeologist Antonio Maria Colini during the excavation of the Markets of Trajan in 1928, the regime would create “a vast, hygienic, joyful oasis of light and green space. Destroyed, hidden, vilified for so many centuries, today Rome bursts forth from every quarter, in a breath of fresh air!”72 Since excavations often required the clearing of crowded areas and the construction of open squares, this hygienic and regenerative function was often understood literally. The “liberation” of the Mausoleum of Augustus in the late 1930s, for example, was justified by the architect Vittorio Morpurgo on the basis that it accomplished the dual goal of uncovering the emperor’s tomb and “sanitizing a central part of the city, where there is a density of houses and shacks, devoid of any historical or artistic interest and anti-hygienic.”73



Once again, aesthetic, sanitary, and historical considerations were elided in a rejection of the city’s medieval appearance and the promotion of “breathing room” and “necessary solitude.” In Mussolini’s Italy, “a return to more restrictive ideas would no longer be possible, now that our eyes have grown accustomed to larger spaces.”74 Between 1924 and 1930, the regime undertook a series of excavations that included the Fora of Julius Caesar and Augustus, the Forum and Markets of Trajan, the Theater of Marcellus, the temples of Largo Argentina, and the disengagement of the Capitoline. The only major project of later years, the Mausoleum of Augustus, was planned in this early period but executed between 1934 and 1938. These sites responded to a very limited set of historical and aesthetic criteria. Monuments from the imperial era—and within this period, from the most celebrated emperors, like Augustus and Trajan— were privileged over republican and late antique ruins, in order to emphasize the rebirth of empire under Fascism. However, there were also other factors involved. Few republican-era structures remained intact, and those that survived—for example, the temples at Largo Argentina, or in Piazza Bocca della Verità—were excavated by the Governatorato. Roman emperors tended to build on a larger scale, and consequently left behind ruins that survived or were incorporated into later structures. The preoccupation with monumentality also reflected disciplinary priorities. In the first half of the twentieth century, classical archaeology—not only in Italy but throughout Europe— remained a handmaiden to history and philology.75 While for decades ethnographic and prehistoric archaeology had embraced a stratigraphic approach, examining layers of accumulated strata, Roman archaeology continued to be dominated by topographic approaches whose primary goal was the recovery and reconstruction of specific sites. Excavation was therefore geared toward the recovery of monuments already recorded in the historical narrative. This approach was evident across many of the regime’s projects. For example, while the isolation of the Capitoline Hill had brought to light a number of structures dating from the second to fourth centuries AD, they were not monumental buildings like the Forum Holitorium . . . the Temple of Vespasian or the Temple of Concordia . . . but rather private buildings, large blocks, used for residence or even as mills, which do not provide an interesting architectonic appearance. . . . All the constructions that we demolished were the humblest of things, unworthy constructions, built randomly, all renovated at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and of the most disparate forms and styles (if they had any at all).76



The excavations performed by Muñoz and Colini around the base of the Capitoline uncovered traces of walls, which, “however interesting, [did not] deserve to be left in open view, since they limited the width and regularity of the street; thus, we undertook the practice of preserving them in the soil, and burying those objects lacking any value.”77 Similarly, archaeological surveys along the route of Via dell’Impero failed to turn up anything of significance, and the few discoveries made “were not important enough to require a deviation of the road,” allowing its “magnificent straight line” to be maintained.78 Even post-classical religious structures—for example, the churches of Santa Maria in Macello Martyrum and San Urbano dei Pantani, destroyed to make way for Via dell’Impero—were dismissed with the diminutives “chiesuole” or “chiesette,” declared “of scarce interest” and “minimal value.”79 These structures had long been forgotten by “nine tenths of the populace,” and any protests against their destruction were deemed disingenuous attempts to block the path of progress for the sake of an antiquarian minority.80 Excavations and clearings were also justified in order to maximize visual appeal. In one of the most glaring instances, the extension of Via dell’Impero required the demolition of the Meta Sudans (a fountain built by the Flavian emperors in the late first century AD) and the remnants of the base of Nero’s Colossus.81 In addition to the problem they posed for traffic circulation, the ruins were slated for destruction because of their meager appearance—for centuries, the Meta Sudans had been reduced to little more than a pile of rubble—and because they “blocked a view of the Arch of Constantine,” so crucial to the monumental ensemble created by the new road.82 In this instance, the demolitions were briefly opposed by some of the regime’s chief archaeologists, but Muñoz assured the public that “aficionados of antiquity should not think that some of these decisions were made in disdain of their just principles, but as a consequence of mature deliberation on the part of the political authorities.”83 In this way, the disciplinary exigencies of classical archaeology—grandiosity, structural integrity, and close identification with the documentary record— dovetailed with the regime’s requirements for a monumentalized landscape, “sanitized” and dominated by “isolated” structures. Excavations were not meant to expose layer upon layer of Rome’s continuous history or uncover ephemera of everyday life. Instead, the city’s architectonic heritage was conceived as raw material to be valorized and molded, the foundation upon which the modern city would be constructed. Far from mutually opposed, the demands of necessity and civic aesthetics were seen as integral parts of a coherent whole. Excavations were consistently listed alongside school construction, new roads, hydraulic projects, and land reclamation in catalogs of



the regime’s accomplishments, particularly during the celebrations marking the first decade of the “Blackshirt revolution.”84 The newly “liberated” sites of antiquity were not only pleasing ornaments for the capital, but provided a blueprint for the modern city in aesthetic, administrative, hygienic, and ideological terms. Just as Mussolini’s Rome— which in 1931 reached one million inhabitants, its population at the height of the empire—boasted new schools, gymnasia, and sewer systems, the classical city had seen so many baths that 62,000 people could bathe at the same time; 19 aqueducts provided an ever-lasting supply of 1,500,000 liters of water. . . . [There were] 27 public libraries, 8 athletic fields, 11 great fora, 10 large basilicas, 11 public baths, 19 aqueducts [again], two circuses, two amphitheaters, three stone theaters, 856 private baths, 36 triumphal arches, 290 general storehouses, 1352 public fountains, 6 great barracks, and 5 circuses for naval shows.85 The regime’s “moral and social sanitization and the human reclamation of urban populations” were thus anticipated by the great building projects of antiquity.86 The greatest achievements of ancient architecture, according to Capitolium editor Domenico Delli Santi, had all been in the area of health and hygiene—“the great Rome of the baths, aqueducts, sewers (yes, sewers), gymnasia and stadia.”87 These structures demonstrated the Romans’ dedication to cleanliness and the extent to which they emphasized the relationship between physical exercise, moral education, and medical hygiene. Fascism embraced this ideal of mens sana in corpore sano, as manifested in the Foro Mussolini, built at the foot of Monte Mario in the mid-1930s. Another source of inspiration was the rectilinear grid of the castrum (military camp), which formed the basis for Roman towns throughout the empire (and therefore for many of Europe’s chief cities). Romulus’s original settlement on the Palatine Hill, argued the architectural critic Antonio Nezi, had been laid out according to a rational plan, with “the grid . . . as the primordial core, the initial formula, simple, logical and spontaneous, which thanks to the constructive genius of the race, developed and grew into immense structures and organisms.”88 With the expansion of the city and the upheavals of the republican era, Rome’s subsequent growth was unregulated and chaotic. It was only with the advent of the empire that discipline returned to urban planning, restoring “wide, open, solemn and ordered perspectives.”89 Marcello Piacentini’s journal Architettura went so far as to claim that the very first act of urban surgery had been Nero’s burning of Rome in 64 AD, after which “it was possible to be more rigorous, especially in emptying out the



unhealthy popular quarters, dense with apartment blocks, and construction in peripheral areas, as well as the logical ordering and easing of traffic.”90 Even the architect Gustavo Giovannoni—who, unlike Piacentini, opposed dramatic sventramenti and favored a process of diradamento (peripheral expansion that reduced pressure and congestion in the city center)—believed that the regime’s plans were a “meaningful historical return” to the principles of urban planning under the empire.91 While he departed from Nezi’s assessment of primordial Rome, seeing it as “a confused agglomeration of houses and public buildings,” he agreed that the urban expansion and population growth of the late republican period had created an even more intolerable situation: The density of the areas around the Roman Forum was incredible, and tenements sprung up everywhere, the insulae that under Augustus’ regulations were limited to ten floors and seventy feet in height. The streets were narrow and winding, completely different in appearance and style from the regular geometric grid of Roman cities in the provinces, and the alleys between buildings were filthy and closed-off, with balconies jutting out from the walls so that . . . the inhabitants could shake hands between houses.92 If the overcrowded and unhealthy state of the contemporary city had a precedent in Rome’s early years, so too did the clinical application of urbanistica. Under Augustus and later emperors like Trajan and Hadrian (not to mention Nero, whose burning of the city could have been considered “a convenient and energetic means of expropriation for public utility, to renovate a large portion of the inhabited area”), ancient planners “sought to bring order and sanitation to this darkened ensemble.”93 In fact, claimed Giovannoni, one could even argue that the Romans had created a regular zoning system which was in no respect inferior to the most modern of zoning plans . . . systematically providing markets, granaries, fire brigades, and public buildings in each region; looking after the water supply and garbage removal; and above all extending the city into unbuilt areas, like the Campus Martius, which Augustus redeemed and ennobled with his monuments and which Trajan linked to the old center with great works between the Capitoline and the Quirinal.94 The sanitizing and aesthetic ordering of urban space was thus both a manifestation of Roman values—“ordered, severe, rigidly framed by its chessboard lay-out, just like the peoples in the provinces of the Empire”—and, as with Roma Mussolinea, the reflection of the “single superior will” of a leader



who had transformed the state with ardor and discipline.95 The paradigmatic example in this respect was of course Augustus, who had claimed in his Res Gestae to have found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble. Indeed, concurred Giuseppe Lugli, “the Augustan age is characterized by the rational employment of individual materials, according to the function and structure to which they were destined.”96 Rationalist architecture, which reached its apex in the 1930s, had been anticipated over two millennia earlier. The premises of Roman construction during antiquity—“the secure interplay of naked blocks, carved out of our beautiful travertine; simple lines, directed towards the perfect forms of geometry; limited but powerful ornamentation; a noble and grandiose sensibility, free from vain ostentation”—were ingrained in the spirit of the race.97 This aesthetic, derived from the imposition of a single, rational vision, represented a complete departure from the priorities of the intervening centuries, and even of recent decades. The medieval city was capricious and disordered, reflecting an epoch of chaos and conflict when building was determined largely on the basis of convenience; likewise, construction during the Renaissance and early modern period had been motivated not by public utility but by the goal of displaying the authority and munificence of a particular ruler. Even the regime’s most dramatic imposition of modernity upon the historic center—Via dell’Impero—was presented as a return to classical principles. Filippo Clementi argued that ancient Rome had been built according to its own “piano regolatore” that magnified the monumentality of buildings by having them “face out onto great roads”; this precedent was then followed by the papacy during the Renaissance. Thus, “in maintaining the lines of the new imperial [Fascist] master plan as much as possible” through the construction of grand boulevards, the regime was “maintaining the monumentality of pagan and Christian Rome.”98 The archaeologist Giuseppe Marchetti Longhi went further: Via dell’Impero was not just a physical road connecting two points, but a spiritual path, an “expression of fated evolution in the past, present and future of our race.”99 The new street transcended the distance between the ancient and modern cities, unifying them into one coherent entity. Rather than a platform for “the sterile contemplation of the past,” it was “a meeting place and a point of departure; a place to gather and to set off towards new goals, new horizons, new ideals of civilization and progress . . . open to the past, but only as a bridge to a greater future!”100 In fact, he argued, “Via dell’Impero has always been, and has only been reopened to us in its current form.”101 The excavations conducted during its construction had reached down to the deepest levels, demonstrating that the route of the new road had been preordained by primeval topography; the discovery of



prehistoric animal remains—including those of an elephant—was further evidence that the area had been chosen by nature herself as a future “center of world empire.”102 The modern road also paralleled the ancient Via Sacra, the principal thoroughfare through the Roman Forum; just as its predecessor had connected the classical city’s most important sites, Via dell’Impero was the link that united the heart of the nation, from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Duce’s balcony at Piazza Venezia to the Basilica of Maxentius and the Colosseum. Despite their occasionally divergent paths, and the separation of millennia, the two roads were ultimately both expressions of “a line traced by inscrutable Destiny.”103 Via dell’Impero, with its juxtaposition of the rapidity of modern traffic and the majesty of ancient monuments, ably demonstrates the Fascist approach to Rome’s historical environment and its relationship to the present. Once uncovered and restored to their “primordial state,” the sites of antiquity would take on a new life in the modern city. As Mussolini himself had acknowledged, Rome would never become a modern metropolis in the conventional sense; yet from the direct and unmediated juxtaposition of past and present, it could engineer a new experience of modernity. There was an element of surprise involved in the passerby’s emotional response to the city’s new panorama. Rome’s beauty now lay in “a seemingly paradoxical appearance” and “an unexpected character. . . . One passes by the Corso Vittorio, the center of modern life, and finds oneself before a deep excavation: there are four precious temples from the Republican era!”104 Rejecting “the Romantic sensibility of the nineteenth century,” which had embraced Rome as a decaying cemetery, the regime insisted that the city’s historic sites were “now to be found in those areas where civic life pulsates, and despite the protests of some ‘English Miss,’ it is clear that classical monuments have nothing to fear from coming into contact with modern movement, nor are new men dwarfed by approaching these venerable ruins.”105 The Theater of Marcellus, the Forum of Julius Caesar, and the temples of Largo Argentina were “not dead objects in a museum, but elements of beauty in a living city which moves and walks around them.”106 At the same time as they were freed from the contaminations of daily life, they would provide a new symbolic topography for the city. The ancient heart of Rome would be bustling and animated; indeed, the “optimal result” of this collision between ancient and modern space would be to “[force] someone going about his business to stop for a moment, in spite of himself, before the great memories of the past.”107 Importantly, however, this moment of reflection would not simply involve aesthetic appreciation or the historical recollection of heroes and triumphs; the traces of ancient memories were “not just material for archaeological



curiosity, but serve as lessons, warnings, and rules for life.”108 The transformed landscape of the capital had a new affective power, serving as “a school of energy and discipline, it is the school of that great humanity which our Roman fathers called virtue.”109 The physical renewal of Rome would therefore lead to a moral renewal of the Italian psyche. By “annulling the centuries,” the regime’s pickax would “point towards better times, with greatness and constructive clarity.”110 A better understanding of this excavatory process can be gleaned by considering one of the largest, but least successful, projects of the Ventennio: Piazzale Augusto Imperatore, an immense square framing the newly uncovered Mausoleum of Augustus and the reconstructed Augustan Altar of Peace (Ara Pacis).111 In previous centuries, the mausoleum had been used as a fortress, a bullfighting ring, and, since 1907, as Rome’s premier symphony hall (known as the Augusteo).112 Proposals for isolating the ruin had been in place since the Piano Regolatore of 1909, and under Fascism were anticipated as early as 1925. The first tentative steps were taken in May 1926. The original plan called for the outer walls of the structure to be cleared as part of a general renovation of the Augusteo theater by Marcello Piacentini. At the time, Giulio Quirino Giglioli (the supervising archaeologist for the Governatorato) acknowledged that the state of the monument precluded a full excavation and required its continued incorporation into the concert hall; indeed, claimed Capitolium, this contemporary function conferred “badly needed dignity” to a ruin “whose memory had almost been erased.”113 Preliminary work dragged on for several years, and early studies revealed that much of the original structure had been destroyed, its marbles carried off by looters. By September 1928, Giglioli confirmed that its center was “completely ruined,” though he denied that this would have any effect on the beauty of the structure as a whole. In fact, he argued, a few selective demolitions inside the monument, clearing out ruined walls and rubble, would make it more attractive and accessible. These considerations were especially important given that the mausoleum was to be “a monument not only of antiquarian interest, but one which should become a site of pilgrimage for modern Italians.”114 By 1929 the governor’s office was still demanding to know when the Augusteo could be inaugurated; according to Muñoz and Colini, their efforts thus far had served to restore the central crypt and render the site accessible “for study and veneration,” but the complete systematization of the monument remained at least a year away.115 The decisive step was taken at the ISR’s second national congress in 1930 by Giglioli, who proposed that work on the mausoleum be completed in time for the Augustan bimillenary of 1937; the occasion would also include



the excavation of the Ara Pacis.116 At the time, his proposal remained vague in terms of the monument’s setting. It would become “a solemn testament to romanità and, encircled by a garden, [would] add a note of poetry to the center of the old city,” but he was unsure of whether the building would remain a concert hall or be adapted into a new museum that would house the Ara Pacis.117 With the delays and difficulties in excavation, however, the Augusteo theater had increasingly come under fire. In one instance, an anonymous letter from “a well informed group” to the office of the Duce complained of corruption within the theater’s administration and charged that 85 percent of its repertoire was foreign.118 The Governatorato soon shifted its position and increasingly condemned the institution it had once seen as crucial for the monument’s survival. A Capitolium article from 1937 on “the Romantic Augusteo,” for example, described the forlorn figure of a music enthusiast visiting the site shortly after the demolitions, his “nineteenth-century tie flapping in the wind, ostentatiously bohème,” wandering “like an old swallow, looking for his nest under a gutter that was no longer there.”119 The old theater was derided as a relic from the moribund Liberal era, a faded institution that no longer deserved its glorious name and had to be cleared in the name of progress and national dignity.120 Even more pressing was the demolition of the surrounding neighborhood, whose alleys and houses “represent[ed] a grave backwardness with regard to hygiene.”121 The decision was thus made to clear the mausoleum completely, to disengage it completely from the adjacent area, and to surround it with a massive new square. According to the estimates of the Governatorato, this would entail the destruction of 120 houses over an area of 27,500 square meters (almost seven acres), to be replaced by five modern buildings covering an area of 9,000 square meters.122 The new Piazzale Augusto Imperatore would be framed on two sides by modern constructions designed by the architect Vittorio Morpurgo, executed in an imposing neoclassical style with colonnades, faced with white travertine and featuring reliefs of heroic moments in Roman and Fascist history. In his 1934 speech inaugurating the demolitions, Mussolini announced that the project had “a triple utility: that of history and beauty, traffic, and hygiene.”123 In addition, he noted that the project would provide three years of employment for countless construction workers; once again, archaeological excavation was presented as a social palliative, solving problems of sanitation, circulation, aesthetics, and even unemployment. The optimistic tone was echoed in newsreel coverage of the event, which showed the Duce wielding a pickax on the roof of an old building.124 Accompanied by soaring music, roofing tiles and plaster crashed to the ground, allowing rays of sunshine to illuminate the dark alleys around the monument.



Figure 3. The Augusteo symphony hall in the early stages of demolitions, 1937. Courtesy of Luce Institute / Alinari Archives Management, Florence.

As the demolitions and excavations reached their conclusion, it had become increasingly apparent that the current state of the mausoleum did not correspond to the grandiose monument envisioned by the Governatorato. Vittorio Morpurgo had to concede in early 1937 that the exterior of the structure was completely devastated, and that it now rose only twelve meters above street level; while he acknowledged that the results would be a disappointment to many, he argued that they were successful if one considered the excavations “not as a matter of valorizing the appearance of an existing building, but of making visible a famous relic which, buried without honor, lived on in the name of the place.”125 Indeed, the ruin was so unimpressive that the sightlines from Via del Corso were completely obscured. Muñoz admitted that the “majority of the public” remained disappointed by the monument’s appearance, and that “perhaps no ancient monument has been subject to such a penetrating and systematic act of devastation.”126 Nor had the excavations proved of great value to the scholarly community; according to Guglielmo Gatti, charged with its reconstruction, “the remains of the monument, now isolated, unfortunately do not give us any useful indications to answer [the question of its original appearance].”127 The contemporary state of the mausoleum negated the reconstructions presented by Giglioli, Muñoz, and Gatti, all of whom had anticipated a

Figure 4. Regime hierarchs watch Mussolini inaugurate the demolitions for Piazzale Augusto Imperatore, 1934. Courtesy of Luce Institute / Alinari Archives Management, Florence.



grander structure. In view of its unimpressive state, proposals abounded for improving the monument. Ugo Ojetti, art critic for the Corriere della Sera and member of the planning committee for the piazza, proposed a “more Roman” solution that would restore majesty to the mausoleum by ringing it with a series of marble statues of famous Augustan figures like Virgil and Maecenas. In lieu of “modesty, discretion and silence,” of behaving like “excavators, scholars and restorers,” he demanded a design that would reflect the Fascist era as much as the Age of Augustus.128 An even more radical solution was presented by the rationalist architect Adalberto Libera, who proposed the installation of a “Sacrarium of Empire” inside the mausoleum. The plan called for the creation of a cylindrical crypt formed by the inner circle of the ruins; the walls would be covered either by the names of fallen soldiers from the Ethiopian campaign or by the constant repetition of the Blackshirt oath “Presente!”129 Through this design, he claimed, “in addition to the spiritual value of this ruin, it would be possible to add a value that is more directly meaningful to the Italian people, by identifying the Mausoleum of Augustus with the Shrine of Empire, and especially, with a Shrine to the Fallen of East Africa.”130 In the end, however, the Governatorato resigned itself to the least interventionist option, to “add nothing new or arbitrary,” beyond some brickwork to fill in gaps and stabilize the structure.131 Neither Ojetti’s grandiose classicism nor Libera’s daring modernism were appropriate impositions upon the tomb of Rome’s first emperor, and would have compromised the administration’s claim of having respectfully restored the monument. Left in its dilapidated appearance, the ruin was soon dubbed the dente cariato (rotten tooth), a nickname that it bears to this day. The reconstruction of the Ara Pacis provoked similar disappointment. As late as February 1937—only eighteen months before the monument’s inauguration as part of Piazzale Augusto Imperatore—the planning committee (under the aegis of the Ministry of National Education and the Istituto di Studi Romani, and including Bottai, Muñoz, Galassi Paluzzi, and Giglioli, among others) was still considering a number of possible locations for the monument, including Via dell’Impero, the Capitoline Hill, and the National Museum at the Baths of Diocletian.132 The final design, suggested by Morpurgo, proposed to situate the altar next to the Mausoleum of Augustus, despite the fact that the Ara Pacis had not been located there in antiquity; it would be housed in a rectangular structure of concrete, steel, and glass, so to “encourage the unhurried passerby to consider the enormous artistic and spiritual importance of the monument, however modest in size.”133 Opening the altar to public view encouraged the intermingling of contemporary life and ancient, which produced “not a contamination, but an eloquent



Figure 5. The Mausoleum of Augustus after excavations. Courtesy of Alinari Archives, Florence.

demonstration of the eternal youth of the City.”134 Given the unimpressive state of the Augusteo, the Ara Pacis would also “correct the current layout, which is too simple.”135 Again, however, problems quickly emerged. The integrity of the Ara Pacis was an issue, since several large portions of the relief were held outside Rome—at the Uffizi in Florence, the Louvre, and the Vatican Museums. After some initial attempts in 1934 to obtain the originals, the planning committee consented to using reproductions; indeed, the Reale Accademia d’Italia recommended that for both “political and commercial reasons,” the recovery of the originals could only be achieved “in more propitious times.”136 Even more problematic was Morpurgo’s design for the structure housing the altar, which despite receiving the committee’s approval, soon started inviting comments that “when built, [it] might diminish the already modest height of the Mausoleum.”137 The response from art critics was more strident. Alessandro Bacchiani of the Giornale d’Italia attacked the cold, “museum-like” design and lamented that “an artist of Vittorio Morpurgo’s caliber has on this occasion allowed himself to be guided by completely antiquarian and historical criteria.”138 The Osservatore Romano complained that the building too closely resembled “the Citroën offices in Brussels, or some building in Rotterdam, or anywhere else in northern Europe.”139 Ugo Ojetti decried its “prudent



construction but aesthetic indifference.” Morpurgo’s challenge had been to “create an empty box which did not evoke the famous work which it was meant to house; thus, above all neither Roman nor Italian, without style. He succeeded.”140 Despite such criticisms, the committee adhered to Morpurgo’s original design. The Augusteo and the Ara Pacis were inaugurated in September 1938 as part of the closing ceremonies for the Augustan bimillenary, though the systematization of the mausoleum was incomplete and Morpurgo’s buildings had not been finished; ultimately, work was suspended due to the war.141 As late as July 1943 (only days before Mussolini’s dismissal and the demise of the regime), the Governatorato was still considering proposals to remodel the zone completely. A plan from Marcello Piacentini called for the creation of new traffic ramps, the expansion of green space around the mausoleum, and placing the Ara Pacis in a museum;142 the architect Armando Brasini envisaged the construction of a new “Mussolinian Basilica of Peace” to house the altar, referencing the fact that Christ had been born during the Pax Romana heralded by Augustus.143 Of course, with the fall of Fascism, such grand schemes were obviated, and well into the late 1940s, both the Mausoleum of Augustus and the Ara Pacis remained buried in sandbags originally placed as protection against aerial bombardment.144 Much later, in 2006, the Ara Pacis was given a new home, designed (with much controversy) by the American architect Richard Meier. The failure of Piazzale Augusto Imperatore once again demonstrates the challenges inherent in the construction of Roma Mussolinea: the ambivalence (both within and outside the regime) toward modern impositions in the historic center; the demolition of historic quarters and the displacement of their inhabitants; and the problem of reconciling the exigencies of a modern metropolis with the city’s ancient fabric. At the same time, the frustration aroused by the excavation of the Augusteo and the Ara Pacis also provides a useful window into the role that Fascism attributed to classical monuments. In the eyes of some critics, the mausoleum and the altar ultimately disappointed because they bore the mark of history, and relegated the regime’s archaeologists to the role of scholarly caretakers. Unlike the Colosseum or the Theater of Marcellus, whose size and magnificence still recalled the empire at its peak, the crumbling mausoleum did not automatically conjure up visions of Augustan Rome. Despite its graceful friezes, the Ara Pacis was relegated to a museum piece encased in steel and glass. In short, both were more “ruins”—evidence of the passage of time and centuries of despoliation— than “monuments.”



Memory, Nostalgia, and Local Color: Roma Vecchia The failure of Piazzale Augusto Imperatore notwithstanding, the resurrection of Roma antica was central to the construction of Fascism’s Roma nuova. The same could not be said for Roma vecchia, the “old” city, which remained “a mask . . . a filthy patina” to be effaced.145 The city’s persistently medieval and parochial character—expressed both in its physical landscape and in the culture of its indigenous inhabitants—had belied all attempts to establish a modern capital, and continued to do so in Fascism’s “new era.” Nowhere were these frustrations more evident than in the deplorable state of many of Rome’s most famous monuments, which displayed the disparity between contemporary life and ancient glories, between national aspirations and local reality. The Circus Maximus, once one of the ancient city’s grandest structures, had become “a receptacle for the worst eyesores: crumbling hovels, propped-up walls, squares reduced to puddles, unpaved roads, gardens, factories for small industry, rubbish-heaps, and stores of every kind of garbage . . . a truly miserable sight to anyone looking down from the Palatine.”146 Piazza Bocca della Verità, the picturesque square close to the Tiber that features the well-preserved temples of Hercules and Portunus, was occupied by a beggars’ hospice, a pasta factory, and a scrap-iron heap, forming “an ensemble of abandonment and misery worthy of being reproduced in a Piranesi etching . . . but absolutely unworthy of the capital of the new Fascist Italy.”147 The modern names of illustrious sites similarly reflected their dilapidation: the Roman Forum was still known to many locals as the Campo Vaccino (Cow Field), while the southern slopes of the Capitoline Hill—the infamous Tarpeian Rock, where traitors were executed in antiquity—had been dubbed Monte Caprino (Goat Hill) for the herds that grazed on its slopes. Between 1925 and 1932, all of these sites—and many more—would be “sanitized” both physically and historically: the Circus Maximus was cleared of buildings and framed by the new Via del Circo Massimo, the Tarpeian Rock was restored to its original appearance as part of the isolation of the Capitoline (though, in the process, it was revealed to be largely ruined), and Piazza Bocca della Verità was “redeemed” as part of the construction of Via del Mare. Even more than their physical condition, what most distressed the regime about these sites was the extent to which they reflected the quotidian realities of Roman life. In Mussolini’s capital, wrote Antonio Muñoz, “only great voices should resonate, only great words should be uttered; and everything that is small and wretched should disappear.”148 As Michael Herzfeld, Roxane



Caftanzoglou, and others have argued, Western conceptions of monumentality require not only some kind of sacralized focal point—like a column, a statue, or a building—but also spatial vacuity; “matter out of place,” like people or improvised construction, can complicate or even subvert the intended meaning of an official monument.149 Irregular, unruly activities like begging, vending, or waste disposal sound a jarring aesthetic note when set against a planned site of commemoration, and challenge both bourgeois public decorum and the state’s dominion over public space.150 There is also a temporal or historical dimension to this problem. For monuments to convey their seeming permanence and imperviousness to change, they must be set off from more transitory expressions of human activity. Hanging laundry on the Capitoline, or grazing flocks in the Forum, affirmed precisely what Fascism wanted to deny—namely that the physical vestiges of romanità were subject to the vagaries of time. In Rome, ruins could therefore only become monuments once they had been denuded, emptied of all traces of human activity. In the view of some scholars, the removal of poor residents from Rome’s historic center was largely motivated by political exigencies: the dismantling of poor neighborhoods and the resettlement of their inhabitants on the city periphery were a way of destroying lingering anti-Fascist solidarities or pockets of organized resistance.151 While this observation doubtless has some merit, it should also be remembered that the Roman populace was not essentially proletarian (due to the lack of industrialization), nor did it have a history of subversive or radical politics;152 indeed, its outlook was predominantly conservative and Catholic, owing to the lengthy period of papal rule and the continued influence of the Vatican. In this respect, it was quite different from Turin and Milan, where working-class politics posed a genuine challenge to the regime (and consequently to its urban planners). However, Rome’s local character presented challenges of its own. Romans were not threatening because of their revolutionary potential; they were dangerous because of their traditionalism and provincialism. All of the deficiencies attacked by the city’s critics in previous decades—parasitism and the failure to industrialize, backwardness, and a lack of national sentiment—remained, much to the irritation of a regime that presented itself as a harbinger of modernity. The inability to effect “human reclamation” in the national capital boded ill for Fascism’s “anthropological revolution.” Also troubling was the apparent “southernness” of indigenous Romans.153 In their appearance, dialect, diet, and popular traditions, the locals were believed to more closely resemble southern Italians—with their stereotypical backwardness, indolence, and amorality— than industrious northerners.154



These preoccupations were very much in evidence in the case of Piazza Montanara, a square adjacent to the Theater of Marcellus that was deemed one of the most typical locales of “old Rome.” For centuries, the piazza had housed a market and a gathering-point for peasants (burini) who had come in from the countryside in search of day labor jobs; it was also known for an old osteria that had once been a favorite of Goethe’s (though it had long since been turned into a dairy). Even in the twentieth century, lamented Antonio Muñoz, the state of Piazza Montanara recalled a scene from the grand tour, crowded with stereotypical figures like “the public scribe, the charlatans, the foreman who would hire those provincial construction-workers who met in that area, the colorful crowd of burini of the municipal market, the antiquarian hunting coins, the open-air barber.”155 Against this cast of characters, “idling in the square, sitting on the ground or on the sidewalks, where the more enterprising among them did a small business . . . in second-hand tobacco,” the Theater of Marcellus had been reduced to “a decorative element: nothing more.”156 As late as the early 1930s, it remained half-entombed by later additions, its arches filled with stables, warehouses, and other ignoble establishments. Clearly, the backwardness on display in Piazza Montanara undercut the regime’s claims of Italian primacy and the redemptory power of Fascist discipline. It was ideal, therefore, that the square lay in the path of the planned Via del Mare. Between 1925 and 1930, it fell to the pickax. Concurrently, the Theater of Marcellus was cleared of shops and hovels, exposing the original façade of the structure. Flanked by the new road, the monument presented a clean, symmetrical face, its arches looming over the automobiles that sped by.157 Significantly, the theater’s restorations were performed under the auspices of the Istituto per le Case Popolari (ICP), the state office of public housing. The area’s residents, who had previously been deemed threatening to the dignity of the monument, were promised tidy new homes in hygienic new borgate (working-class suburbs). The petty concerns of daily life belonged on Rome’s underdeveloped periphery, not in the symbolic heart of the nation.158 While the backward and unsanitary conditions of many old neighborhoods bespoke the innate deficiencies of the Roman people—and, by extension, of the Italian national character—there was also a sense in which the love of local color and the picturesque came from without, introduced by condescending visitors from across the Alps since the days of the grand tour. The appreciation of local color, wrote Carlo Magi-Spinetti in Capitolium, was a foreign imposition, born of “the excessive love of the contrast between crumbling greatness and filthy pettiness, between painted memory



Figure 6. The Theater of Marcellus, occupied by shops and warehouses, 1925. Courtesy of Alinari Archives, Florence.

and present reality . . . son of late nineteenth-century art and low Romanticism, which cobbled together the archaeology of textbooks and the socalled love for ‘charming traditions,’ a sub-species of folklore.”159 For over two centuries, foreign visitors had looked to the half-buried columns of the Roman Forum, filled with grazing cattle, or the moss-covered Colosseum, as metaphors for the frailty of human creation. This obsession with decay and decline had continued into the twentieth century, with many outsiders



Figure 7. Via del Mare with the restored Theater of Marcellus, 1933. Courtesy of Alinari Archives, Florence.

refusing to acknowledge the modern character of Fascist Italy and its capital. Examining an English guidebook from 1926, Magi-Spinetti protested that it still portrayed that famous Rome, so beloved by tourists before the war, a Rome taken from nineteenth-century prints, from the memories of a soldier grandfather, and an uncle who served as a counselor for the legation to the Papal court, from the watercolors of dilettantes; a Rome made of ruins, of broken pavement, of shacks clinging like scabs to ancient monuments. . . . And always the same caricatures: the ragged and shoeless boys, the donkeys laden with firewood, the flocks of sheep, the ox-cart, the gamblers, the old beggar-lady, and in the foreground, with sober elegance, the foreigner and a guide with his hand outstretched, whether to ask for money or to show something.160 After only a few years of Fascist rule, however, this romantic image of Rome no longer had a basis in reality. Foreigners who arrived in the capital with Stendhal or Goethe as their guide would either “despair at no longer finding its filthy alleys and lice” or turn to the realm of fantasy to reconstruct their romantic visions.161 The Rome of Mussolini meant the eradication of the



Rome of Stendahl, Belli, and Piranesi—the chaotic, colorful Rome of the grand tour, with its crowded osterie, moss-covered ruins, and local dialect. In a break from the past, the new Rome would not be “a convalescent home or a sanatorium for weak nerves, and [could not] slow its pace for the sake of foreign tourists.”162 Instead, foreigners would marvel at the regime’s ability to discipline and transform space and bodies. The new Rome would challenge the traditional itineraries of the Baedeker guides, since its appeal now lay “in that sense of order and discipline, which distinguishes it from other capitals . . . and in that sense of classical values which, restored to life through Fascism, live again, like the purest flame, in the hearts of every Italian.”163 This was the new face of Rome presented to foreign visitors. Foreign-language pamphlets produced by ENIT (the national tourist board) presented modern public works projects—athletic complexes, roads, ports—alongside the recently liberated monuments of antiquity. Tourists were encouraged to witness how a decade of Fascist administration had changed the city. Even returning travelers were promised that “anyone visiting Rome after an absence of ten years can hardly believe that so many and such important works could have been accomplished during such a short period of time.”164 The backwardness and subservience embodied by “local color” were not the only ills afflicting the urban body. Just as threatening—if not more so— were the reminders of the city’s development between 1870 and 1922. The Liberal elites, incapable of decisive action and great deeds, had not known “what to do with Rome” and had provided Italy with a capital worthy of their spiritual misery . . . at the same level as their stature and their incapacity to develop. . . . The ghost of Rome oppressed them and dismayed them and, when the occasion presented itself, they did everything possible to repel it and flee. . . . Obliged to build, they did not build for the glory of Rome but for the glory of their petty politics and the fortunes of their petty clients.165 The Liberal government’s lack of preparedness for the challenges posed by the Eternal City was reflected in its approach to urban planning and new construction. Unlike the Fascist regime, whose projects claimed to combine reverence for the past with the requirements of contemporary civilization, the early piani regolatori were accused of being bereft of ideas, and of failing to understand the needs of a modern metropolis. While partially attributable to the unanticipated acceleration of population growth and technological advancement, this short-sightedness was also the result of liberalism’s “cult of materialism and domestic utilitarianism,” its inability to see beyond individualistic pursuits and to undertake projects that would endure throughout the



ages (a quality possessed by classical antiquity and Fascist modernity alike).166 In contrast to the expert incisions performed by the officials of the Governatorato and personally overseen by the Duce, previous administrations had proceeded randomly and tentatively, resulting in a disordered urban space. Even the best-intentioned schemes had either failed to be translated into action or been undermined by the competing interests. For example, acknowledging a 1919 report by the Ministry of Public Instruction that anticipated the construction of Via dell’Impero and the reorganization of the Capitoline area, Antonio Muñoz argued that under the Liberal government everything remained at the proposal stage—some excellent, others debatable . . . others downright impossible. . . . The learned report remains a document of ambitious dreams, and would certainly have remained as such had it not been for the precise will of the Duce. The ideas which today preside over the systematization of the Capitoline area and the Imperial Fora are very different from those timidly expressed in that report. . . . It is enough to point out that the grandiose solution of Via dell’Impero has upset all those modest plans, and seems so revolutionary that it disorients even the most tenacious advocates for the liberation of imperial monuments. . . . With the advent of the Fascist regime, the problem of the isolation of the Capitol is no longer approached with half-measures, but is confronted in full.167 Despite the similarities between the two plans, it was therefore Mussolini’s victory to have actualized the project. The gulf between liberalism and Fascism was also expressed aesthetically. If Via dell’Impero, the quintessential Fascist street, resounded with the majesty of empire, its Liberal equivalent— Via Cavour, which abutted the new road—demonstrated the mediocrity and uniformity of its age, with its “identical buildings, with pretentious stucco facades; a monotony of sizes and styles; poverty, masquerading as architectural composition. The buildings are so similar in their flat vulgarity that without a street number it would be impossible to find the correct address.”168 The regime’s architects also attacked the previous generation’s eclecticism and embrace of beaux-arts neoclassicism. To an extent, argued Muñoz, the aesthetics of the Liberal era were a reflection of a general European trend from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in which “architecture was not in the happiest of phases, attempting to piggy-back on ancient architecture and even to force itself onto it, to grasp onto it.”169 Nineteenth-century neoclassicism, in this view, represented a conservative and “arid academicism” that precluded innovation and failed to respond to the spirit of the new era.170 It was seen not as a return to native Italian forms but a “cold and official”



imitation of imperial styles of northern Europe and in particular of “the plutocratic utilitarianism of . . . the acquisitive Paris of the third Napoleon and Haussmann.”171 Such “parodies” might have been acceptable in the home of a “nouveau-riche or a new baron, building a gallery of phony ancestors,” but were unacceptable in a city filled with authentic architectural models.172 By contrast, Fascist architects and urban planners claimed to have a more profound understanding of the spirit of Roman construction. For the influential art critic (and Mussolini’s mistress) Margherita Sarfatti, ancient structures like the Basilica of Maxentius and the Colosseum were to be deemed “superb, ardent, cold and ‘rational’” since “they respond[ed] to their spirit, epoch and function with honesty, sincerity and audacity.”173 In the same way, the new monuments of Fascist Rome (in this particular context, the unrealized Palazzo del Littorio) were meant to rise up, responding with honesty, sincerity and audacity—and thus with intrinsic monumental beauty—to our spirit, to our times, to the function assigned to them. . . . These buildings must be ours: modern. Not rationalist, in the sense of being limited to unadorned reason and the lowly, practical necessities of utility; but rational, in that their purpose and function, not only practical but spiritual, will be interpreted and glorified in the necessary naked and majestic monumental expression.174 The most egregious expression of Liberal-era classicism was of course the monument to Victor Emanuel II (the Vittoriano) located in the heart of the modern city at Piazza Venezia.175 Although it was consistently employed as a site of political ritual during the Ventennio—for example, during the yearly commemoration of the Unknown Soldier, or the ceremonial donation of wedding bands during the Ethiopian war—“Sacconi’s heap” (Mole Sacconiana, a disparaging designation referring to the monument’s designer, Guido Sacconi) originally solicited an ambivalent response from the regime’s planners. Despite its symbolic importance, it was also derided for its overly florid and rhetorical composition and its lack of an authentic emotive impact. For one commentator in Capitolium, “the sources that [Sacconi] drew upon were not entirely the purest: Roman decadence, Hellenism, Etruria and even French neoclassicism from the Napoleonic period.”176 Similarly, Sarfatti dismissed the structure as “a new false altar, a Pergamean reconstruction, or a new false temple of Praeneste. . . . With its implacably off-white marbles, its Victories, and the vain gestures of its golden bronzes and columns that amount to nothing, it burdens us more every day, intolerably, with the weight of a lie.”177 Even its materials and construction techniques revealed the flim-



siness and artifice of nineteenth-century construction, and by extension, of liberalism itself: “It is enough to examine . . . the gigantic mass to realize that it is built of plaster and painted wood, not of stone. And the indifference of its uniform whiteness, lacking vibrancy, is accentuated rather than limited by the cloying yellowness of the sculptural groups.”178 It was only through the decisive intervention of the Governatorato that the “Altar of the Fatherland” was valorized and incorporated into the symbolic fabric of the historic center. As had been the case for ancient monuments, the Vittoriano was surrounded with a zone of “breathing space” carved out during the construction of Via dell’Impero and the isolation of the Capitoline during the early 1930s. Although the monument’s fundamental appearance had not been significantly altered as a result of the regime’s plans, it was now deemed to be a more consonant part of a historical panorama that included the Duce’s offices in Palazzo Venezia, the Capitol, the new Via dell’Impero and Via del Mare, and the archaeological zone stretching to the Colosseum. With all these elements brought together, Piazza Venezia became not only the city’s topographic center, but “the heart of Rome, and thus the heart of Italy . . . a new Umbilicus Urbis Romae.”179 Fascism’s reclamation of the Vittoriano, and more generally its desire to erase the vestiges of the Liberal era, represented a new historical sensibility. The previous era had been consumed by a historicism that stunted new impulses, but the new Italy rejected “the pure and simple inviolability of monuments, as if they were dead things,” and tried to create an atmosphere in which ancient sites could inhabit the present.180 In lieu of liberalism’s utilitarian romanità, which was nothing more than “unbearably stale rhetoric,” Fascism recognized that Rome was “an organic, living, active, productive continuity, present throughout the centuries,” not the past but “present reality.”181 According to Opere Pubbliche (the official journal of public works) in the first decade of Fascist rule the regime had spent 36.5 billion lire to improve the capital, against only 11 million spent between 1862 and 1922; such a disparity reflected the huge gulf separating old and new mentalities. The “forgetful governments” of the past had left “those monuments most sacred to the spirit of the race to languish in neglect or to lie crumbling and broken under the rubbish and dirt built up by the squalor of men and by time.”182 By contrast, it was the eternal glory of enlightened rulers to recover . . . those vestiges from the yoke of time, which despite their skeletal appearance, are surviving testimony which repeat to us the words of our fathers. . . . Bringing these relics to light is not just a task destined to satisfy cold



scientific curiosity, but is an act of great piety towards those who came before us and who transmitted this patrimony of feeling and form which marks and distinguishes our race.183 The material remains of the ancient empire reflected not only the eternal greatness of the Italian race but also the industry of a people revitalized under the fascio littorio. The negation of Roma vecchia—whether understood in terms of medieval quarters or buildings less than a decade old—thus pointed to another quality of Fascist romanità: its profound hostility toward Romantic sensibilities and nostalgia. The Rome of grandparents’ reminiscences or even of the present generation’s childhoods might have been “delightful, pleasurable, cheery, and full of friends,” but it was also “the Rome of laundry hung out to dry, of goats camping out in the streets, of filthy shops.”184 Whereas classical monuments were capable of enduring across the millennia, the familiar streets and neighborhoods of old Rome were ephemeral and disposable. Progress could only be made by overcoming sentiment and bulldozing these sites rich in personal memories. After all, as an evolving entity, the city had to “accept and absorb all the amputations and variations” wrought by the passage of time.185 Of course, as many planners acknowledged, there were always bound to be “some discordant voices who will reproach us for having destroyed some picturesque spot in old Rome, some dab of local color.”186 While the regime’s interventions were enthusiastically received by most commentators—both Italian and foreign—the demolition of some structures did meet with a measure of protest from dispossessed residents and a handful of architectural critics who lamented the loss of cherished old buildings.187 The typical response to such criticisms was to dismiss them as out of step with the new historical sensibility; only incurable “professional melancholics” and partisan opponents would bemoan the destruction of these areas.188 It was important not to exaggerate the value of the city’s old appearance or “attribute artistic or picturesque qualities to things which do not possess them.”189 Preceding generations had been mired in a romantic sensibility that needed to be overcome so that the city could be renovated to suit the needs of contemporary life. Despite this rejection of local color and the picturesque, the regime did not believe that “old Rome” should be forgotten completely. Inaugurating the excavation of the Mausoleum of Augustus, Mussolini announced that the homes and streets to be destroyed would not be consigned to oblivion; “photographs of the interiors and exteriors to be destroyed should be collected in great albums” for anyone still longing for “local color.”190 At Via



del Mare, local residents were assured that their homes and gardens had been “preserved in photographs, prints and water-colors, so that they could be rebuilt elsewhere.”191 Official photographic archives were either never realized or have long since disappeared from the historical record, but images depicting areas prior to and after demolition were frequently printed in Capitolium and other publications. The photographic record was meant to preserve a rapidly vanishing world and permit a retreat into the lost realm of authenticity and sentiment; however, it simultaneously performed another function. Photographic representation, argues Roland Barthes, is as much an act of forgetting as an act of commemoration.192 In lieu of a present object, the photograph depicts “what has been” or even “what is no longer,” testifying to its existence but simultaneously condemning it to a “flat Death” by fixing it at one moment in time. The regime’s recording of demolished sites through photography can thus be understood as concomitant to their physical destruction, transforming them from real spaces into vanished relics. While Mussolini’s “great albums” remained unrealized, the project of conserving the memory of Roma sparita did foster other projects. In 1927, the Governatorato sponsored an exhibition on “Roma che sparisce” (disappearing Rome); organized in conjunction with the Artistic Association of Via Margutta, it featured over 250 images of vistas that had either been demolished in recent decades or were “destined for sacrifice” under the new master plan.193 Two years later, the Istituto di Studi Romani organized the Mostra Retrospettiva di Topografia Romana (Exhibition of Roman Topography), designed to reanimate “a world that is already so distant and legendary” and to provide “a calm and free atmosphere which helps us imagine the easy life that once thrived in the same streets in which today we do not so much live as struggle, so cumbersome and not picturesque, reduced to long bands of asphalt, deafened by the din and blinded by movement.”194 To this end, the exhibition traced the transformation of the city’s topography and its principal monuments from classical antiquity to the present, depicted in sources ranging from Renaissance paintings and eighteenth-century prints to recent aerial photographs. The largest and most enduring of these initiatives was the Museo di Roma (Museum of Rome), inaugurated by the Governatorato in 1930.195 The museum had first been proposed at the ISR’s national congress of 1928 by Giuseppe Ceccarelli (also known as Ceccarius, a noted chronicler of local traditions) and supported by Muñoz and Carlo Galassi Paluzzi; in the course of its development, it would also involve many of the leading figures associated with the institute, including Colini, Giglioli, and Paribeni—“the entire



general staff of romanità.”196 To Ceccarelli, Rome still lacked a civic museum that would “collect memories from every time and every era, the great and the small, those that relate to days of power and glory, and those that recall the sad and dark times, hours of anguish and pain.”197 By collecting relics from these bygone moments, it would be possible to piece together a chronicle of the city’s daily life throughout the ages. Unlike other historical museums or exhibitions, the Museo di Roma would not offer yet another magnificent account of the city’s storied past, its masterpieces and heroic figures. There would be “no Julius Caesar, no Gregory the Great, no Petrarch, no Cola di Rienzo or Michelangelo” on display but instead the “humble and curious figures of the petty bourgeoisie and the people; not the drama of great history but little episodes of popular, intimate, domestic life: the recounting of joys, hardships, childhood delights, the ingenuous thoughts of the Roman [romanesco] people.”198 Visitors were led through a historical itinerary of the city’s culture and urban landscape from the thirteenth century to the advent of Fascism. Plans and prints demonstrated the expansion and transformation of the city over the centuries; reconstructions of carriages and Pius IX’s railcar conjured the pomp and ceremony of papal rule; etchings by Piranesi evoked the Rome of the grand tour, its famous monuments submerged and overgrown with ivy; and watercolors by the local Romantic painter Ettore Roesler Franz depicted typical street scenes from the late nineteenth century. Paintings were assigned both artistic importance and documentary value because of their ability to conjure up the old city. Seeing these vanished sites on canvas might make viewers “lament a few sacrifices that could have been spared,” but all Romans had to recognize that “these few errors made up for the grand result.”199 Several other rooms presented life-size reconstructions of popular life in old Rome, including a performance of a traditional dance (the saltarello), a scene inside an old tavern, and a public scribe at work in Piazza Montanara. In his original proposal, Ceccarelli also stressed that the installations of the Museo di Roma were not to remain static; rather, they were to be “updated continuously, to capture the memory of all the transformations that [were] occurring in Rome, especially topographically.”200 This was to be the museum’s most important function: beyond the celebration of local customs and traditions, it would serve as a record of the pickax’s progress, conserving the traces of a life rapidly disappearing with the construction of a modern Roma Mussolinea. It would house “the paltry materials drawn from the demolitions . . . [s]ome old gate that adorned one of the demolished shacks, some little sacred kiosk, some old road-sign.”201 In a similar vein, Antonio Muñoz saw this act of conservation as an essential corollary to the larger task of renovating and



valorizing the capital, reassuring the public that no building or piazza would disappear without first being recorded in paintings and prints, which are then collected in the Museo di Roma; there are already rooms designated for the area around the Capitoline prior to its isolation, another for the Theater of Marcellus, another for the neighborhoods now occupied by Via dell’Impero, another for views of the typical old piazza around the Forum of Trajan. The best artists in Rome today are collaborating on these reproductions of all that is disappearing.202 Significantly, Muñoz emphasized that paintings would serve as the principal record of Roma sparita, not the photographs promised by Mussolini; the latter were deemed “documents to preserve in an archive, not to show in a museum: they give the external appearance of things, but do not reflect their soul.”203 The Museo di Roma was not meant to be a scientific record of the city’s past or a formally didactic institution, but a place of emotion, nostalgia, and imagination. This is evident in the organization and layout of the installations: eschewing modern museological techniques like labeling, spotlighting, or rationalized itineraries, the galleries more closely resembled a private collection in an aristocratic palazzo with ornate rooms crowded with busts, canvases, and furniture. Muñoz envisioned the museum as an oasis of tranquility, a retreat from the “noisy traffic of modern life, to return to the calm and serene memories of times gone by; the times that our grandparents described, and which even reach back to the days—oh Lord, how remote— of our childhood.”204 The tone of the museum was meant to be overwhelmingly familiar and familial, just like an urn for our sweet nostalgia, a refuge for our dreaming souls, the oasis where we Romans can go to renew our spirits, among the dear little things of the life that once was. . . . It will be a museum all our own, which might elicit sympathetic smiles from foreigners who believe themselves more civilized than us, and who look down at the rather provincial customs of our old city. . . . But for us, it is like a part of our homes, like the memento cabinet of a family that holds Grandfather’s tobacco-box and Mother’s mass book: every picture, every object, every costume, reminds us of some dear aspect of our beautiful city, a page in its incomparable history, or better, in its daily chronicle.205 As a comforting and accessible refuge from the din of the modern world, the Museo di Roma embraced the local color that was anathema to the regime and treasured the backwardness of the city’s traditional life. However,



it does not necessarily follow that this commemoration represented a challenge or critique of Fascism’s vision for the capital. Even as it celebrated local identity, the museum facilitated its disappearance by consigning it to the past, by transforming lived experience into distant history. This point was reinforced by the museum’s location adjacent to Piazza Bocca della Verità. As they strolled through the memories of old Rome, visitors could look out the window to see the new face of the city, represented by the cleared piazza, the imposing new Via del Mare, and the ancient temples recently liberated by the Governatorato. The Museo di Roma thus neatly reflected the interplay between “new,” “ancient,” and “old” Rome that was central to romanità. While many within the regime called for the de-museumification of classical Rome, so that modern Italians could come into direct contact with the vital spirit of antiquity, the city of more recent times was to be museumified, removed from the experience of daily life. The names of obscure medieval streets, erased to make way for Fascism’s grand boulevards, would be commemorated with plaques (though again, this project seems to have been unrealized); the daily life that filled them would be immortalized in watercolors; and their material remains would be enclosed in a hermetic space that simultaneously preserved them and relegated them to history. In Mussolini’s Italy, proclaimed one newspaper, the old “land of ‘sounds and songs’” had been replaced by “the land of arms”; if visitors wanted “to find the Rome of Piranesi, they [had to] go to the Museo di Roma.”206 The monumental, supposedly rationally planned Urbs of Augustus and Trajan, though dormant for centuries, had been redeemed to provide a literal and symbolic topography for the modern city, its ossified ruins serving as the skeleton upon which the Fascist urban body was formed. But “old Rome”—for many of the protagonists of Mussolini’s Rome, the city of their own lifetimes—was a site of memory removed from contemporary life and confined to the realm of nostalgia. In his introduction to the landmark work Les lieux de mémoire, the French historian Pierre Nora identifies a process of historical acceleration.207 With the rapid transformations of modernity, contemporary society has grown increasingly conscious of an ever-expanding “dead” past, the disappearance of collective solidarities. History, understood as a representation of a static past, has supplanted organic “memory,” creating artificial “realms” or “sites”— archives, museums, monuments—that seek to fulfill the role once performed by organic traditions. Does Fascism’s approach to Rome’s urban fabric conform to Nora’s concept of the lieu de mémoire? This paradigm certainly seems to apply to Roma sparita, the “old Rome” conserved in the Museo di Roma and commemorated with plaques and watercolors. Writing only a year after



the inauguration of Via dell’Impero, Antonio Muñoz acknowledged that his recollection of the razed buildings in the area was so distant that it is now difficult to remember their appearance. Now, it is amusing to listen to the folks who today stop on the new Via dell’Impero and recall that “In the old days, there was a barber-shop there . . .” And “the old days” refer to barely two or three months ago! But compared to the vast vision of this new imperial road, these recent memories now seem ancient, relics of a seemingly distant epoch.208 The events and ideas of recent decades “may not have been distant chronologically . . . [but are] most distant from our taste and mentality,” their traces “already withered and faded.”209 In the present climate of Fascist Rome, wrote the elderly journalist Vincenzo Morello, “it feels as if one is living in another political and moral atmosphere, thinking with another brain, feeling with another heart, seeing with other eyes, than those of the past.”210 No such memory work, however, was required to evoke the millennial glories of classical Rome, which were now completely visible and integrated into the flow of daily life. The monuments uncovered by the regime served as more than reminders of distant triumphs or incitements to new conquests; sites like the Theater of Marcellus and the Mausoleum of Augustus also doubled as monuments to modernity, as “unequivocal proof of [Fascism’s] powerful, renewing vitality.”211 Only Fascism had been able to overcome the traditional divide between local and national administration, to fulfill the promise of Roma capitale; only Fascism had successfully utilized modern technology and technical expertise to free the city from oblivion and the detritus of the centuries. In the first twelve years of the regime, wrote Muñoz in 1935, “more has been accomplished than in the five centuries since the Renaissance.”212 The transformation of the Eternal City was itself a “romanum opus,” a manifestation of the values of discipline, hierarchy, and order manifested in both classical antiquity and Fascism. It was a sign of the vigor and energy of Mussolini’s Italy that the slopes of the Capitoline Hill, once given over to gardens, and almost completely ignored by Romans, were transformed into a noisy construction site, deafened by drilling machines, pneumatic hammers, pick-axes, and wagons which carried off piles of dirt and tufa. The artistic and technical functionaries of the Governatorato . . . will always remember these exhausting but inebriating months of true passion, in the ice of the winter and the torrid sun of last summer.213



Antonio Muñoz and the functionaries of the Governatorato were no Futurists, and indeed would likely have invited a torrent of abuse from Marinetti and his followers. Yet this glorification of noise and mechanized power, employed to restore the ancient city’s most visible and storied site, demonstrates the extent to which romanità and the destructive dynamism of modernity—far from being polar opposites—went hand in hand. Like those other symbols of Italian modernity, the automobile and the airplane, the Eternal City would be “resplendent in a new beauty, made of simplicity, youthful freshness, clean, airy, fast, linear.”214 Instead of lieux de mémoire designed to memorialize the past and protect it from the intrusions of the present, the spaces and traces of ancient Rome, redeemed by the pickax, would serve as building blocks for the construction of a disciplined and hygienic Roma Mussolinea, freed from the dust of the centuries. In only fifteen years of Fascist rule, announced Il Messaggero in 1937, “the wrinkles which betrayed the fatigue of an organism desperately in need of intelligent and impassioned care have disappeared from the face of the city. Whoever visits Rome today after an absence of a few years, walking through its new arteries, revived by the demolition of unhygienic and crowded areas, open among the famous monuments returned to light, cannot help but remain astonished before such grandeur and beauty.”215 The Eternal City, for so long the quintessential site not only of Italian history but of History itself, now bore the permanent mark of Fascist modernity.

Ch a p ter 4

The Totalitarian Museum The Mostra Augustea della Romanità, 1937–1938

Although the archaeological transformation of Rome had uncovered the traces of several different historical periods, it focused especially on one phase of the city’s development: the reign of Augustus, the founder of the empire. In his 1937 essay L’Italia di Augusto e l’Italia di oggi (The Italy of Augustus and the Italy of Today), published by the ISR, Giuseppe Bottai explained why Rome’s first emperor remained such an instructive and inspirational figure for contemporary society.1 Augustus had reformed the political institutions of an ailing republic while respecting the traditional authority of the Senate and the Roman people. He had brought peace to the empire and consolidated Italy into the regions that would eventually form the modern nation-state. He had added to the magnificence of the capital, finding it a city of brick and leaving it a city of marble. Looking back to Rome’s archaic past, he had revived the religious practices and piety that provided the foundation of Roman greatness. Bottai concluded his study by reflecting on his own times: We have thus arrived . . . at that which could be called “the modernity of Augustus,” not through forced propagandistic comparisons, but through some elements of his policies, objectively illustrated and considered; which is also . . . our own “antiquity.”. . . For us, modern Italians, our history suffuses our understanding of current problems. . . . 91



Behind the contemporary appearance of our political, social, and economic life, the same factors always loom in our consciousness and in our memory, however distant or remote in time.2 As we have already seen, Bottai believed that the study of history would invigorate present generations and help them to “discover precedents, anticipations and premonitions of our time in the events and figures of the past.”3 His reading of Augustus’s reign therefore meant to demonstrate both the anticipation of twentieth-century modernity in classical antiquity and the restoration of the eternal Roman spirit under the fascio littorio. A comparison between the emperor and the Duce revealed identical goals, methods, and values. Both Augustus and Mussolini had emerged from a situation of civil disorder to reform and renovate decaying political structures; both effected a radical moral transformation of their people while at the same time drawing inspiration from tradition. Crucially, this resemblance involved more than a series of convenient historical parallels. By the end of Bottai’s essay, the boundaries between the “Italy of Augustus” and the “Italy of Today” were completely blurred, any sense of distance in time or space overcome. Augustus was the modern, Mussolini the ancient. L’Italia di Augusto e l’Italia di oggi perfectly encapsulated the Fascist conception of Roman modernity, and it appeared at the moment in which romanità reached a dominant position in the political culture of the regime: the Bimillenario Augusteo of 1937–38, which commemorated the two thousandth anniversary of Augustus’s birth. The celebrations included the excavation of Augustan-era monuments around Italy, including (as seen in the previous chapter) the emperor’s mausoleum and the Ara Pacis in Rome;4 an international conference and scholarly publications organized by the Istituto di Studi Romani; the awarding of bronze statues to cities and towns founded by Augustus and his family;5 and even a series of postage stamps featuring Augustan images and quotations. The centerpiece, however, was the Mostra Augustea della Romanità (MAR, Augustan Exhibition of Romanità), a vast archaeological exhibition in which, in the words of Mussolini, visitors could “bathe themselves in romanità.” It was a mobilization of state resources and scholarly energies without parallel, and recognized as such by contemporaries. While the past fifteen years had witnessed many reclamations of the Roman spirit, wrote one of the organizers in 1937, the Mostra Augustea would be “the grandest and most convincing expression of this most recent revaluation of romanità,” not only the fruit of scientific ardor or political will but itself an expression of the “continuity and greatness of our race.”6



The Augustan bimillenary and the Mostra Augustea are often considered emblematic of Fascism’s increasingly reactionary direction in the mid-1930s, and of the hegemony of classicism after the more adventurous aesthetic policies of the regime’s first decade.7 The exhibition is also critiqued as a travesty of historical science whose primary purpose was “not historical reconstruction, but recruiting the past for the present.”8 Its value as a holy space for the “sacralization of politics,” a canvas for the “aestheticization of politics” or a mechanism for the courting of consensus—in other words, its propagandistic function—tends to be emphasized over its significance as an archaeological exhibition.9 While by no means without foundation, such assessments remain problematic on several levels. The proposals for the bimillenary date from between 1930 and 1932, well before the “reactionary turn” and squarely in the middle of the so-called Years of Consensus. Indeed, as we shall soon see, the institutional roots of the Mostra Augustea stretch back even further to the heyday of Liberal Italy and the early years of the regime. These interpretations are also less effective in helping us understand the means by which the Roman past was “fascistized” at the MAR. The exhibition’s organizers professed the desire to create what they saw as a “totalitarian” institution, and offered a vision of the ancient world that was entirely consonant with the dominant discourse of the regime; but in order to understand the full implication of their claims, it is essential to move beyond asserting the presence of explicitly “ideological” referents—like the ubiquitous fascio littorio or the constant parallels between the emperor and the Duce—and examine the means by which meaning was inscribed in, and ascribed to, archaeological objects. By tracing the development of the MAR as a museological project, we can glean a more subtle understanding of four interrelated issues: first, the process of organizing such an event and its implications for scholarly production under the regime; second, the ways in which scholars conceived of archaeological display in distinctively Fascist terms; third, the narration of Roman history within a Fascist framework; and fourth, the reception of these initiatives by both the Italian public and the international scholarly community. Instead of dismissing the exhibition as “bad science” or distinguishing between its political overtones and its scientific content, I am interested in “the processes by which scientific facts are made and agreed upon.”10 How did the MAR’s methodological foundations both shape and reflect its depiction of the Roman past? How did its organizers distinguish their project from earlier modes of display and previous historical paradigms? Approached from this vantage point, the exhibition need not be cast simply as a rejection of modernism, an exercise in mass propaganda, or a reflection of the brutalized atmosphere of the late 1930s. Instead, it can be interpreted as a powerful expression of Fascism’s historical



epistemology and as the culmination of the currents—political, institutional, and archaeological—traced thus far.

“The Indelible Testimony of Latin Greatness”: The Mostra Archeologica of 1911 As was the case with so many other Fascist initiatives, the origins of the Mostra Augustea can be found in the preceding the Liberal period.11 In this instance, the formative moment was the Mostra Archeologica (Archaeological Exhibition) of 1911, organized by Rodolfo Lanciani as part of an international exposition marking the fiftieth anniversary of Italian unification. Lanciani (1845–1929) was the most influential Italian archaeologist of his time, having supervised excavations in the Forum and Palatine from the 1870s to the 1890s and published extensively on ancient topography, architecture, and urban history. In his words, the Mostra Archeologica was motivated by a “triple purpose”: We tried, above all, to reconstruct a picture of Roman civilization under the Empire, asking each of its thirty-six provinces to contribute some reminder of the benefits it received from Rome in various aspects of civic and private life, and especially in terms of public works. Then we began the task of restoring to Her—in copy form, of course—the artistic treasures that have been carried away since the Renaissance, to enrich museums in other countries. Thirdly, we have tried to reconstruct monuments and statuary groups that the vicissitudes of time have broken and scattered.12 These goals were reflected in the composition and organization of the installations. The visitor’s itinerary began with a series of three rooms, devoted to Eternal Rome (containing personifications of the city and other divinities), to the Roman Empire (with mile markers and columns from distant lands, stressing the extent of Rome’s expansion), and to the divine Augustus, the founder of the empire. The rest of the exhibition featured scale models of major monuments around the empire, plaster casts of statuary and architectural fragments, maps, and photographs. These were organized according to geographic provenance, paralleling the international pavilions featured elsewhere in the city. Instead of France, Germany, Great Britain, and so on, visitors toured “the three Gauls, the two Germanias, the two Pannonias, the two Moesias, Dacia, the three Spains, Mauretania, Numidia, Britannia, Belgium, Batavia, and Egypt.”13 This point was reinforced by subsections based on modern boundaries. The room on Pannonia and Dacia Superior, for



example, was divided into present-day Austria and Hungary. Other installations included reconstructions of the Temple of Augustus at Ancyra and the Ara Pacis (both of which would again be significant during the Augustan bimillenary); artifacts uncovered during a recent Italian archaeological expedition to Crete; and a 1:400 model of fourth-century Rome built by the French architect Paul Bigot, which offered a leisurely promenade through the ancient city: A stroll through imperial Rome thus becomes the easiest and most delightful of things. You are a visitor? Enter the city through the Via Appia, follow Via Nova, bathe in the Baths of Caracalla. . . . Who wouldn’t want to devote at least a day of their lives to enjoy the spectacle of imperial Rome, to live for an instant as a contemporary of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, to roam the streets, the Fora, and the temples of the metropolis, all magically resurrected?14 Like the other rooms, Bigot’s reconstruction enabled a “virtual tour” of the ancient world analogous to the attractions of the international exposition outside the baths, with late imperial Rome presented as a model of bourgeois sociability. To Lanciani and his colleagues, this re-evocation—particularly as reflected in the geographic layout of the exhibits—demonstrated the empire’s mission of spreading civilization, a theme further emphasized by the artifacts on display. Instead of objects that reflected indigenous or syncretic ancient cultures, the organizers chose pieces that remained relatively uniform across the provinces—particularly feats of Roman engineering like aqueducts, triumphal arches, and bridges. The result was that visitors went from room to room seeing almost identical pieces in different national contexts; this in turn reinforced the unity and uniformity of Roman culture as it spread through the ancient world and established the foundation of modern civilization. For Lanciani, this arrangement demonstrated “how these countries, which were our ancient provinces, are still governed by Roman laws, and how their inhabitants walk on roads that we built, cross mountains through passes that we opened and rivers over bridges that we constructed, drink from aqueducts that we connected, and find refuge for their ships . . . in the ports that we founded.”15 By extension, modern Europe’s debt to the empire reinforced the claim of cultural and historical primacy made by the most direct descendant of ancient Rome—namely the Italian state, reunited after centuries of internal division and foreign interference. The pieces provided by foreign countries—in some cases donations, in others purchases—represented “an act of filial devotion to the ancient mother.”16 As we have seen, the theme



of empire carried an additional resonance in the spring of 1911, given the looming conflict with the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent Italian conquest of Libya.17 The other two facets of Lanciani’s “triple purpose” involved the restitution of works that had been carried off from Italy since the Renaissance and the reconstruction of damaged monuments. Given financial and logistical constraints, these goals could only be achieved through the use of models, casts, photographs, and other reproductions. While some considered the use of copies a major shortcoming of the exhibition (especially considering the extraordinary wealth of originals on display at Rome’s major museums), the organizers argued that this approach represented a major technical innovation. Visitors would no longer have to travel to every corner of the former empire to see famous sites, and in many instances models permitted fragmented monuments to be shown in their original state for the first time in centuries. The use of copies thus enabled the development of a new collection to rival more established institutions, stressing the provenance and documentary value of the objects over their aesthetic significance. For Lanciani, [the exhibition] must not just offer a simple collection of important, curious or beautiful objects, but should be proof of the new energies which the Italian people have decided, in recent times, to devote to the conquest and illustration of this magnificent patrimony of forms and ideas. . . . The Exhibition is designed above all to demonstrate the vigorous energy which Italian archaeologists employed at home and abroad, wherever they were led by visions of new victories for science.18 The Mostra Archeologica of 1911 therefore celebrated not only the legacy of imperial Rome—and by implication, the aspirations of a united Italy—but also the emergence of Italian archaeology as a national discipline, on par with the state of the art in northern Europe, whose scholars had dominated the study of antiquity for so long. It marked Italian progress in the same manner as the exhibitions devoted to industry, commerce, and sanitation—in this case, the ability of the nation to reclaim, recover, and display its ancient past. Reception of the exhibition was mixed. Both Italian and foreign specialists acknowledged its impressive breadth and scale, but it is clear that Lanciani’s exhibition did not meet with tremendous popular acclaim. One French critic, while praising Lanciani for “filling a gap which, especially in Rome, needed to be filled,” maintained that the exhibition contained few surprises, particularly for visitors familiar with Europe’s major museums.19 Of greater concern was the exhibition’s low attendance. Though the gen-



eral lack of public interest was in part due to exhibition’s distance from the main attractions of the international exposition, it also reflected the fact that many considered the Mostra Archeologica excessively academic in tone and inaccessible to a broader audience. Even the magazine published by the exposition’s organizing committee had to acknowledge that in the absence of a guide or detailed explanations, “even cultured people find themselves in the dark. . . . It is truly painful to see this wonderful, incomparable exhibition always deserted because of a lack of illustration.”20 Despite its limited success, Lanciani saw the Mostra Archeologica as the first step toward a larger undertaking. He hoped that the exhibition would be made into a permanent “Museum of Empire” that would serve as “an aid and . . . a meeting-place for scholars of Roman antiquities, just as other museums served, and continue to serve, for scholars of Roman art.”21 However, it would take decades to realize this goal. Following the conclusion of the Cinquantenario celebrations, the casts and models were placed in storage at the National Museum; within a few months, the Libyan war had diverted official and public interest, and ultimately the First World War intervened.22

A Revised Past: Giulio Quirino Giglioli and the Museo Dell’Impero Romano The collections of the Mostra Archeologica remained in storage throughout the war and the turmoil of the postwar years. They did not return to public view until 1927, well into the consolidation of Mussolini’s regime, when as an expression of “the resurgent national consciousness, the spirit that Fascism has infused in Italians,” the Governatorato inaugurated the Museo dell’Impero Romano (MIR, the Museum of the Roman Empire).23 The director and driving force behind the MIR was Giulio Quirino Giglioli, Lanciani’s secretary during the 1911 exhibition and by the mid-1920s one of the most prominent archaeologists in the country.24 Giglioli’s involvement in almost all of the regime’s major projects has led many to label him the most Fascist of the interwar archaeologists.25 His defenders, conversely, argue that his allegiance lay altruistically with the study of Rome, which happened to coincide with the priorities of the regime. His biographer (and disciple) Massimo Pallottino has argued that Giglioli’s embrace of Fascism was born of his service in the First World War and his “burning, uncontrollable, jealous passion, an almost instinctive sentiment, for national values.”26 Indeed, though he identified himself in correspondence as a “fascista diciannovista”— a founding member of the original Fascist movement in 1919—it seems more likely that his political allegiances first lay with Enrico Corradini and



the conservative Associazione Nazionale Italiana.27 This nationalist commitment, in Pallottino’s view, inoculates Giglioli from charges of being “a chorus-leader for neo-romanità.”28 Admittedly, on a few occasions (most notably, the bulldozing of the Meta Sudans to make way for the Via dell’Impero) he protested the government’s heavy hand, but his involvement at every level of the Fascist hierarchy—as a functionary of the Antiquities and Fine Arts division throughout the twenties and thirties, a member of the directing committee of the Istituto di Studi Romani, and a Fascist deputy in the Chamber from 1934 onward—suggests that his relationship to the regime was far from reluctant.29 While not an official “chorus leader” for romanità, Giglioli was preoccupied with establishing himself as the regime’s preeminent authority on all matters Roman. Upon learning of Italy’s contribution to Chicago’s 1934 “Century of Progress” exposition—which was to include a pavilion on Italian engineering from antiquity to the present—he wrote to Mussolini’s secretariat demanding an advisory role.30 On another occasion, he complained that neither he nor his colleagues had been consulted during the production of the epic film Scipione l’Africano (1937), expressing the concern that the film might include anachronisms that would reflect badly upon the Italian

Figure 8. Mussolini listens to Giulio Quirino Giglioli during the inauguration of the Mostra Augustea della Romanità, 1937. Courtesy of Luce Institute / Alinari Archives Management, Florence.



archaeological profession.31 He frequently leveraged his position to ward off rival initiatives. In 1935, for example, he tried to block an archaeological display at the Fair of Tripoli, claiming that it could deflect or diminish public interest for the Mostra Augustea in 1937, and protested publications about the Augustan anniversary that were not officially sanctioned by his office.32 This desire for professional advancement and full control even led to conflicts with his closest collaborators. In the early stages of organizing the Augustan bimillenary, the ISR director Carlo Galassi Paluzzi accused Giglioli of trying to reduce the institute to “the role of cashier” and of using the occasion not to create a new exhibition but to do little more than “inaugurate a new wing of your lovely museum.”33 For his part, Giglioli repeatedly stressed that his authority derived from Mussolini himself and from his own standing as the director of the Museo dell’Impero Romano.34 In spite of the inauspicious reception of Lanciani’s 1911 exhibition, Giglioli was convinced of the enormous scientific and didactic value of its collections. A project like the MIR “would have been too proud for the humble Italy of the past,” but with the “new ardor of the nation, which seeks to study its great past to gird its soul,” it would succeed where Lanciani and the men of the earlier generation had failed.35 Like his mentor, Giglioli saw the new institution as fulfilling a dual function. As a permanent museum open to the general public, it would provide a “global vision of Rome’s work.”36 Just as Greece had left behind a great inheritance of art and philosophy, and Jerusalem had given the world the true faith, it was incontrovertible that the modern world owed its most important social institutions and public works—cities, roads, ports, even the idea of the state itself—to Rome.37 In this and other respects, the tone of the MIR did not depart significantly from 1911. For Giglioli, however, it was essential that Lanciani’s mistakes be avoided. The Mostra Archeologica had been inadequate for the enormity of its task and had limited itself to an overly specialized audience. Furthermore, by organizing the materials according to modern nation of origin (considered an unfortunate concession to the international exposition) the full impact of its message—namely the unity of Roman civilization—has been muted. The Museo dell’Impero Romano therefore claimed to present a more coherent and accessible account of the Roman Empire’s formative influence upon contemporary Europe. The objects on display would be limited to the most representative, both “such that it can be visited without ever tiring the visitor, who should be a cultured man, but not a specialist,” and so that it could be updated in the event of new archaeological discoveries.38 Objects would be strictly classified on the basis of the ancient provinces—including, for the first time, the regions of Italy—and all extraneous installations would be excluded.



While broadening its public appeal, the new museum would also realize Lanciani’s ambition of establishing a world center for the study of Roman antiquities. The public installations were to represent only a fraction of its holdings, and eventually the MIR would contain a scientific archive of every Roman monument in existence.39 Other museums in Europe—most notably the archaeological museum in Mainz and the National Antiquities Museum at Saint-German-en-Laye—had provided complete documentation of their national heritage, and with the completion of the Museo dell’Impero Romano, Italy would finally “possess a unique and vital archive of Latinity and acquire the means that it currently lacks for the study of a splendid age that is not sufficiently explored.”40 Scholars from around the world would flock to the new institution, drawn by the opportunity to work closely with a wealth of archaeological reproductions. In this respect, then, the mission of the MIR resembled that of the Istituto di Studi Romani, which similarly tried to position itself as a centralizing, coordinating authority for international scholarship. Despite Giglioli’s insistence on the novelty of his project, the Museo dell’Impero Romano did not offer a dramatic revision of the Mostra Archeologica. Although it was arranged according to more exacting geographic criteria, it maintained the basic organizing principle of the 1911 exhibition. A comparison of the two catalogs also reveals that the installations featured essentially the same objects. While the 1929 incarnation was supplemented with additional material, these new artifacts only provided further examples of the types already on display. Like Lanciani’s exhibition, the new museum does not seem to have been very successful in drawing visitors; to many, a collection of plaster casts bore little appeal in a city full of original masterpieces. According to one reviewer, the MIR was a museum in name only, and a visitor would be disappointed if he considered a museum to be “a place where works of art and documents, removed from the environment in which they were created, are collected for study or conservation.”41 Of course, he hastily added, what the collections lacked in authenticity they more than made up for in comprehensiveness. Even with the establishment of the museum, Giglioli remained unsatisfied by its limited resources and scope. Within months, he was already seeking new ways to further the MIR’s (and his own) profile. The decisive moment came at the 1930 national congress of the Istituto di Studi Romani, where he proposed a comprehensive commemoration of the Augustan bimillenary in 1937, designed to counter the “increasingly ruthless and obscene . . . effort to denigrate Rome and romanità” supposedly undertaken by the opponents of Mussolini’s Italy.42 The idea of a bimillennial celebration was not new, as



the regime had already marked the two thousandth birthdays of the poets Virgil and Horace in 1930 and 1935 respectively.43 Both events, however, were minor affairs, consisting of scholarly conferences and specialized publications; for the Augustan celebrations, Giglioli had a much vaster event in mind, which would inspire “the entire populace to the worship of a great man.”44 Giglioli’s proposal was also modeled on the most successful mass event coordinated by the regime up to that point, the Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista (MRF, the Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution) held in 1932 to mark the tenth anniversary of the March on Rome.45 Designed according to the boldest modernist and Futurist aesthetics, the MRF narrated the history of Fascism from the First World War to the present. Each room, designed by leading young Italian architects and artists like Mario Sironi, Giuseppe Terragni, and Adalberto Libera, bombarded the senses with photomontages, jarring sounds, and disorienting spaces.46 This presentation—at once didactic, experiential, and ritual—was central to the subsequent conception of the Mostra Augustea. With almost four million visitors—many of whom were enticed to travel to Rome with discounted train fares and group packages—the MRF demonstrated the tremendous possibilities that an exhibition presented for mass mobilization at home, as well as publicity abroad. The connection between the two exhibitions was not only on the level of inspiration: the Mostra Augustea was held in the same venue as the MRF—the nineteenth-century Palazzo delle Esposizioni on Rome’s Via Nazionale—and like its predecessor, it required a dramatic transformation of the original beaux-arts façade. Whereas the 1932 exhibition had been presented in an angular Rationalist style, the façade for the Mostra Augustea, designed by the architect Alfredo Scalpelli, was conceived as a modernist version of a Roman triumphal arch, with austere marble pillars crowned by classical statuary. Quotations from Roman authors like Livy, Cicero, and Pliny lined the outer walls, with a Mussolinian exhortation—“Italians, may the glories of the past be surpassed by the glories of the future!”—inscribed over the entrance. A further connection between the two events was the inauguration of a revised (and, according to many scholars, much-diluted) version of the MRF on the same date as the MAR in 1937. Taken together, they were complementary “imperial exhibitions, even if one begins with Romulus’ plow and the other with the Habsburg assassination in Sarajevo, because they demonstrate in the first case that ancient Rome’s true greatness was imperial, and in the second that the ultimate goal of the Revolution was the resurgence of Empire.”47 In many respects, then, the Mostra Augustea represented the extension and elaboration of strategies developed at the Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista.



Figure 9. The façade of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, redesigned for the Mostra Augustea della Romanità, 1938. Courtesy of Fratelli Alinari Museum Collections, Florence.

Making the Blind See: The Didactic Mission of the Mostra Augustea Giglioli’s 1930 proposal was unanimously acclaimed by the ISR congress, but it was not until the spring of 1932 that the plan would receive the official sanction of the state. Final approval was granted by Mussolini himself later that year, at which time an organizational committee was established that included Giglioli as director, the ISR’s Carlo Galassi Paluzzi and Pietro Romanelli as members, and Antonio Maria Colini (who would figure prominently in the postwar history of the exhibition) as secretary. The principal source of funds was a L4,000,000 grant from the Duce’s personal funds, to be supplemented by ticket receipts, the sale of guides and published volumes, tax exemptions, and discounts on operating costs.48 Between 1932 and 1937, the committee worked at a frantic pace, collecting new items and organizing the installations. According to the director’s final estimates, artifacts were obtained from over 800 different museums and localities, including 530 from foreign institutions. While the majority of pieces came from the former provinces of the empire in Western Europe and the Mediterranean, the committee also made acquisitions from as far away as the United States and the Soviet Union.49



The Museo dell’Impero Romano had replicated the installations of 1911 with only minor modifications, but the Mostra Augustea della Romanità presented the opportunity for a major expansion and reorganization of its holdings. Like its predecessors, the MAR’s collections consisted solely of plaster casts, models, and photographs. This use of reproductions would seem to conform closely to Walter Benjamin’s notion of the “aestheticization of politics,” since the exhibition’s organizers were freed from the troublesome “aura” of original artifacts and permitted to manipulate objects, investing them with a politicized function.50 However, to see the Mostra Augustea purely in propagandistic terms overlooks the complicated relationship between science and ideology evinced at the exhibition. In its earlier incarnations, the advantage of reproductions had been that they emphasized the geographic expanse of the Roman Empire and its formative influence throughout European civilization. This theme resurfaced in 1937, but it was supplemented by a new emphasis on the objects’ scientific and didactic value. Far from creating a cold, blinding spectacle of white plaster, wrote Pallottino, the use of copies, supplemented by photographs, designs, and explanatory panels, would prevent museum fatigue.51 Giglioli similarly argued that the casts gave “a useful homogeneity to the materials and allow[ed] them to be organized in a more modern fashion than would be the case with originals [and did not] present any aesthetic drawbacks, since the technology employed [had] reached the highest level of perfection.”52 The copies were so masterfully executed by Italian experts, he claimed, that on more than one occasion a museum director had balked at shipping a reproduction to Rome, mistaking it for the original. The casts facilitated an intersection of archaeological science and modern design, since they could be arranged “not with the rigid norms of museums, but integrated with texts, photo-montages, maps and diagrams, which together create sections that unite scientific rigor and the liveliness of a modern exposition. . . . In this way, not only specialists, not only those who love history and archaeology, but all Italians can easily find documentation of the glorious first Empire of our people.”53 The power—both pedagogical and emotional— of the collections was illustrated by a tour for the blind, recounted in the Roman daily Il Tevere. Since the objects were all reproductions, the visually impaired were able to “see” them through touch. Approaching the statue of a Roman legionary, they “lingered for a while on its angular face, their fingers especially interested in the severity of the mouth and the hardness of the cheekbones.”54 Examining a life-sized model of an archaic plow, one of them exclaimed that “This is just like the one that some peasants still use today. . . .”



“Certainly,” replied an older one nearby. “How could it be otherwise? The plow is eternal.”55 The implication, then, was that for these blind visitors (and, by extension, all attendees), an exhibition of reproductions was far more compelling than Rome’s traditional art-historical museums, which were imposing in their pedigree and formality. The absence of an original “aura” did not detract from an object’s evocative possibilities; indeed, in many instances a copy—approachable, well illuminated, and supplemented by explanatory materials—was able to “speak” more vividly of its historical and spiritual significance. As this example makes clear, Rome’s older and more celebrated museums—like the Capitoline or the Vatican collections—were anti-models for the Mostra Augustea. In Giglioli’s view, a “museum-like” presentation was cold and sterile, alienating the viewer and consigning the vibrant traces of Roman civilization to a permanently static past. Writing in Architettura, the publication of the National Fascist Syndicate of Architects, he explained that the MAR would occupy an intermediary position between a museum, in which a few artifacts were presented in an impersonal atmosphere, and an exhibition, which often lacked rigorous scientific organization. It would be

Figure 10. Archaic plow at the Mostra Augustea della Romanità, room III. Courtesy of Alinari Archives, Florence.



an original concept in which the monuments, accompanied by maps, photographs, epigraphs, explanatory texts, should speak to the mind and to the heart, and give the visitor a definitive and unforgettable impression of the historical moment. . . . No monotony, no limits on the most ardent of modern tastes; but the constant and fundamental necessity is to place each artifact in its proper place.56 While Giglioli acknowledged that collaborating with a younger generation of architects had required mutual accommodation between their innovations and his more traditional tastes, the end product had demonstrated the fruitful cross-pollination of Italian archaeology and modern aesthetics.57 This union was essential to the MAR’s didactic mission, since it left “visitors with a much more profound impression than what they might have received in school or from books” and disabused them of “vague and imprecise ideas, often laden with prejudices and errors” derived from popular culture.58 To further this aim, the state mobilized a large-scale publicity campaign to promote the exhibition.59 Working in concert with several ministries and the Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro (the regime’s “after-work” organization), the organizing committee produced 175,000 posters and close to 800,000 pamphlets to be displayed in schools, universities, and train stations. They circulated articles and photographs to domestic and foreign publications and held a contest for the best newspaper article on the Mostra Augustea. Particularly noteworthy was the use of new forms of mass media, which had been pioneered by the regime over the previous decade. With the assistance of the Ministry of Popular Culture and EIAR, the regime’s broadcasting body, the organizing committee formulated dozens of short slogans to appear on radio transmissions, seemingly aimed more at arousing general curiosity than inspiring Fascist conviction: “Do you want to have a direct idea of the great public works carried out during the Empire of ancient Rome?” “Do you want to learn about the road system of ancient Rome and the ways of traveling in those days?” “You don’t need to be an archaeologist to be interested in the Mostra Augustea. . . . It will interest the general public because it presents the clearest synthesis of Roman life, in culture, art, industry, agriculture, etc.” “Whatever your background, wherever your interests lie, you will find things of great interest.”60



The organizers also employed the novel technology of cinema. Newsreels offered Italians from every corner of the country the chance to witness the preparation of plaster casts, as well as the inaugural and closing ceremonies.61 Luce, the regime’s film studio, produced Nella Luce di Roma (In the Light of Rome), a twenty-minute feature that intercut animation, live action, and the Mostra Augustea’s installations to narrate the history and expansion of Roman civilization.62 Another priority was to further the regime’s profile abroad and attract an international audience to Rome; consequently, thousands of guides were printed in twenty-four languages, from English, French, and German, to Turkish, Finnish, and Lithuanian.63 As Giglioli put it in his inaugural address, the MAR held universal appeal since foreigners, either belonging to nations whose origins go back to romanità or to those which in modern times have joined the ranks of civilized and hegemonic peoples, can see the spirit and the works accomplished by the greatest Empire there ever was . . . which—as the ancients gratefully repeated—having conquered other peoples, knew how to grow close to them, creating eternal bonds.64 The Mostra Augustea was therefore designed not just to indoctrinate a domestic audience. To draw international visitors, posters, flyers, and pamphlets were sent to travel agencies, consulates, and scholarly institutions.65 The ISR, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, organized Augustanthemed lectures and conferences across Europe, North America, and the Middle East.66 These efforts were positively received: Giglioli was frequently contacted by foreign universities and historical societies to help coordinate “Augustan pilgrimages” to Rome. According to the American Classical Journal, “the year [would] be one of extraordinary opportunity for the visitor who is . . . a lover of the classics. It should prove to be an excellent time to visit Italy.”67 In early 1939, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York organized an exhibition of Augustan art based on the Mostra Augustea’s collections. The use of reproductions, modern design, and the media campaign all point to a deeper preoccupation for Giglioli and his colleagues. The exhibition’s earlier incarnations had been “inadequate to the great task of documenting Roman civilization in a totalitarian manner, and limited to narrow scientific documentation.”68 By contrast, the Mostra Augustea was an instauration of the ISR’s “totalitarian” conception of history, an event that was didactic, inspirational, and directed toward a wide audience. It would not limit itself to “illustrating and documenting events and achievements of one



historical period, or limited to one branch of human activity,” but would encompass every aspect of Roman civilization, unbound by time, space, or sphere of activity.69 Though the Augustan bimillenary was the pretext for the exhibition, with the first emperor presented as the central protagonist of romanità, the project was a “total” reconstruction of every aspect of the ancient world and its continued resonance in the present. The city’s history would be treated as a totality, indivisible and unending, and the MAR would provide visitors with a “total” experience that was simultaneously didactic, spiritual, and emotional. This was to be no mere “examination of a grandiose scientific collection,” but an itinerary in which “everything appears, consciously or unconsciously, directed towards one end and one idea, that of pride in and the responsibility of such a lineage.”70

“The Fulcrum of History”: Inside the Mostra Augustea In order to create this “totalitarian” institution, the most pressing task was a major reorganization of the installations. Classifying the objects according to location (as in 1911 and 1927) seemed awkward, as it did not emphasize the central themes of the bimillenary. Moreover, the old layout had produced an “inevitable sense of unending monotony,” since the rooms displayed essentially identical objects distinguished only by their country of provenance.71 Considering the expanded scope and size of the Mostra Augustea, it was imperative that the impact of each individual artifact not be lost. The exhibition was therefore divided into three sections, each corresponding to a floor of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni. The main floor (the “showpiece” of the exhibition, as evidenced by the fact that dignitaries like Mussolini and Hitler limited their visits to this level) offered a sequential reconstruction of Roman history from the city’s foundation to the “rebirth of Empire in Fascist Italy.” Visitors entered through the “Atrium of Victory,” which echoed the exterior façade with its statues of personified victories, majestic emperors, and conquered foes. This theme continued in the next room, the “Hall of Empire,” which offered “a grandiose representation of romanità: scenes of triumph, sacrifice and combat, barbarian prisoners and victorious soldiers.”72 From this point onward, the displays were arranged chronologically, beginning with Rome’s legendary origins. While acknowledging that the city’s founding myths—like Aeneas’s flight from Troy or the story of Romulus and Remus—had no basis in the historical record, the organizers claimed that recent research had discovered genuine sources for these traditions; similarly, geological studies confirmed the ancient conviction that Rome had been established in a “propitious” or “fated” spot. In the end,



it was more important that the ancient Romans themselves embraced these stories as their “national epic, to which were tied the most sacred memories of the city.”73 The recounting of the city’s early history also provided the opportunity to emphasize the uniqueness and originality of the Roman race, countering the assertion that it had merely synthesized aspects of other cultures like the Etruscans and Greeks. The earliest traces of Roman religion, for example, revealed characteristics that would remain constant across the centuries. External influences might have shaped certain practices, but Roman religion remained a faith designed “to satisfy the needs of an agrarian people focused on necessities and the defense of its harsh labor . . . poor in the ornate fantasy that came from busy lives and exchanges with distant peoples, but rich in ethical-juridical prescriptions.”74 The harsh realities of the farmer’s life in early Rome had also left a permanent imprint on the Roman psyche, which (particularly in contrast to the cosmopolitan and individualistic Greeks) would remain forever “grave and circumspect . . . marked by privation and unvarying preoccupations, far from the allure and shifting impressions of the sea.”75 The next series of rooms depicted the history of the Roman Republic. This period posed particular challenges in being integrated into a Fascist framework. On the one hand, the republic had presided over tremendous territorial expansion and the defeat of Carthage, Rome’s greatest rival; on the other, its internal conflicts and ultimate demise demonstrated the failures of “parliamentarism.” Republican heroes and symbols had also historically been the preserve of the left ever since the French Revolution. As a result, the MAR distinguished between the early republic (roughly from the fifth century BC to the end of the Punic Wars in 146 BC) and the late republic, culminating in the rise of Julius Caesar. The first phase was characterized by the “fated” and “inevitable” extension of Roman dominion, first on the Italian peninsula and then throughout the Mediterranean.76 This process was reinforced by a series of maps illustrating the expansion of the empire and the successive stages of the Punic Wars, showing how the embattled but resilient city-state not only resisted its hostile neighbors but definitively destroyed and absorbed them. If this representation was partly intended to recall the Risorgimento and Italy’s “victory” over Austria-Hungary in the First World War, then the demise of the republic paralleled the subsequent crisis of liberalism and the rise of Fascism. A long period of bloodshed and sacrifice had led both to affluence (which in turn corrupted the traditional mores of the nobility) and crisis. Rome’s decaying political structure—which despite its democratic guise was ruled by clientism—proved incapable of managing both expansion abroad and internal division at home. The rise first


Table 1.


Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Main Level


Atrium of Victory


Hall of Empire


Origins of Rome


From the foundation of the republic to the victory over Carthage


The expansion of the Roman state during the Civil Wars


Monuments of the era of Sulla


Julius Caesar


Poets and writers of the Augustan era


The family of Augustus




The life of Augustus


Augustan monuments in Italy


Augustan house


Augustan Campania


Augustan monuments in the imperial provinces


The cult of Augustus


The army


Ships of Nemi


The navy




Magistrates and public life during the empire


The empire from Tiberius to the Antonines


Imperial families


The defense of the empire




The immortality of the idea of Rome and the rebirth of empire in Fascist Italy

of the “revolutionary” Gracchi and then of condottieri like Marius, Sulla, and Pompey were symptoms of the weakness of the state and the need for a strong and authoritarian leader to take the helm. Ultimately, the republic had to be dismantled, since “the old, once-glorious oligarchic and parliamentary regime had failed too many times, because it could suffocate the need for new institutions and new men.”77 Only a radical transformation of the state and the injection of new blood could halt the rot, carried out by men hardened by war and supported by the people. This portrayal of republican history, according to one reviewer, successfully demolished long-standing



historiographic traditions that had tried to “camouflage the verbose Cicero as a defender of the people against Caesarian tyranny” and cast Augustus as the destroyer of popular liberty.78 The transition from republic to empire had traditionally been cast as the origin of Rome’s decline and fall; however, in the context of the MAR it was presented as a form of developmental crisis, “just like those growing pains that often accompany the development of young people.”79 The main protagonist of this process was Julius Caesar, whose own March on Rome had reclaimed the Eternal City from factional strife. The room on Caesar also emphasized his standing as the “greatest military genius of all time,” with reconstructions of battle scenes described in his De Bello Gallico and some large-scale models of Roman war machines.80 In this respect, he was an important counterweight to his successor, who could not claim such military prowess himself. The main figure of the Mostra Augustea, of course, was Augustus himself. Indeed, almost half of the rooms on the main floor were dedicated to the first emperor, his family, and his era. If Julius Caesar was depicted as a revolutionary overturning the moribund republic, the Princeps was presented as a more serene and stately figure: He was the founder of the Empire; he was the pacifier of the ancient world; he was one of the great benefactors of humanity, who created an order of things so that the immense treasure of Roman civilization . . . could be consolidated and assimilated by the provinces, and transmitted to posterity. . . . He was thus Roman in the purest and fullest sense of the word, and one of the most celebrated and representative members of the steely Italian race.81 This range of identities was clearly in evidence in room X, the hall exclusively devoted to Augustus. A number of spotlighted statues, busts, and portraits were set in every corner of the hall, depicting him in various guises—as a victorious general, a priest, a beneficent leader, a political reformer. Quotations from Suetonius’s Life of Augustus were inscribed on the walls, along with a cryptic pronouncement from Mussolini himself: “In the silent coordination of all forces, under the orders of a single individual, lies the eternal secret of every victory.”82 A series of altars depicted religious scenes and celebrated the advent of the Pax Augustea. Significantly, none of the rooms dealing with Augustus or his family provided a vivid sense of his personality or internal life. Instead, they were more focused on presenting the iconography traditionally associated with his reign, like the myth of Aeneas, the figure of Apollo, or images of rebirth and peace. In the exhibition, he came across as ubiquitous, omniscient, and yet con-



Figure 11. Temple of Augustus at Ancyra reconstructed at the Mostra Augustea della Romanità. Courtesy of Alinari Archives, Florence.

spicuously absent, a mythic figure presiding over an epochal shift in Roman civilization. This point was driven home particularly strongly in room XVI, which contained images from the cult of the deified Augustus. As Karl Galinsky has observed, one of the most important aspects of the Augustan “Revolution” was its mission of “transforming leadership,” which “sounded the note of moral revitalization and followed through on it; it was a time for rededicating the state to values, virtues, ideas, and ideals.”83 While Galinsky’s points of comparison are Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, one can identify a very similar idea at work in the Mostra Augustea, which identified Augustus’s program of moral renewal in every aspect of Roman society. The installations on literary, artistic, and architectural production stressed the emperor’s direct influence upon every aspect of cultural life; as the film Nella Luce di Roma put it, “more than any subsequent historical period, every artistic activity [in the Augustan era] appeared intimately tied to the personality of the head of state.”84 Room XIII offered a life-sized reconstruction of an “Augustan” home, but other than the fact that its design incorporated elements from a number of first-century structures in Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Rome, there was no clear indication of its relationship to



the emperor. Two of the most prominent examples of the renovating agenda of the Princeps appeared in room XX, on Roman law: the Lex Julia and the Lex Papia Poppaea (18 BC and AD 9 respectively), legislation that regulated marriage, outlawed adultery, and penalized celibacy. According to Salvatore Riccobono, the Roman legal historian and a collaborator on the Mostra Augustea, these laws amounted to an Augustan “demographic policy” with the dual function of “encouraging fertile marriages and maintaining the purity of the race, especially in the senatorial order.”85 A century of instability and expansion had profoundly altered the traditional values of the Roman world, replacing “that chaste, healthy, strong life that produced strong soldiers, citizen militias and incorruptible generals” with an appetite for luxury and an urban lifestyle dominated by “a powerful class of businessmen and the proletarian masses.”86 The ensuing moral crisis was expressed in social symptoms like divorce, promiscuity, and demographic decline. It was only through Augustus’s marriage legislation—innovative while still grounded in traditional values—that these problems were overcome and the Roman people led back to the “essence of romanità,” namely “invincible valor on the battlefield, a feeling of justice, religiosity, the purity and fecundity of marriage, strong discipline, a love of the land, simplicity in customs.”87 The emperor’s influence even extended beyond the pagan world, since the peace and unity ushered in by his reign had created the providentially ordained circumstances for the birth of Christ. At the Mostra Augustea, this connection was emphasized with a large glass cross that occupied a prominent position in his room, upon which were transcribed verses from the Gospel of Luke. Thus in addition to representing “the fulcrum of Roman history,” Augustus’s reign had to be considered “one of the decisive turning-points for all of humanity.”88 Following these sections, several rooms contained displays on military and naval technology, again mainly in an Augustan register. Once resumed, the historical narrative dealt with subsequent events in summary fashion. One room synthesized the reigns of all the emperors between Tiberius and Commodus (from AD 14 to 192); the next examined “the defense of the empire,” conspicuously avoiding any acknowledgment of the fall of the western empire and focusing instead on the fortresses constructed in border regions to keep out enemy invaders. The presentation of late antiquity then shifted registers, with an installation devoted to the rise and triumph of Christianity. The hall was expressly designed “to create a mystical atmosphere”:89 it replicated the layout of a church, with a long oblong nave dominated by a large illuminated cross, which in turn lit a map that showed the spread of Christianity through the empire. While a portion of the exhibit dealt with early martyrs and the reaction of pagans to the new religion, taken as a



whole the objects on display—early Christian sarcophagi, epigraphs, baptismal records, and portraits of early popes—generally shifted the focus away from persecution and emphasized the cross-fertilization of classical Rome and Christianity. One section dealt with premonitions of Christ’s birth in the ancient world; another traced Peter’s and Paul’s journeys to Rome and the establishment and ultimate triumph of the Catholic Church. The dominant tone was not one of conflict between Christianity and paganism, but of the providential nature of the empire and the church’s role in inheriting the mantle of romanità: The nascent Church found in the unity and homogeneity of the Roman empire a powerful means for its rapid dissemination; and indeed it did not destroy, but vivified the instruments and structures of Rome, and utilized the same imperial hierarchy. . . . Catholicism, which took many elements of its external organization from Rome . . . quickly established itself . . . as the sole and most worthy heir to receive the sacred flame of Latin civilization.90 Clearly, this interpretation conformed to the consensus effected by the ISR in the late 1920s. Catholicism was presented not as an antagonist of romanità, but as a further manifestation of the same phenomenon and the vehicle through which the Roman tradition was transmitted to the present. The final stop on the main floor was the hall devoted to “the immortality of the idea of Rome and the rebirth of empire in Fascist Italy,” which sought to demonstrate how the Roman imperial idea was not extinguished with the fall of the Western Empire. . . . It persevered mystically during the Middle Ages, and through it came the Renaissance and the Risorgimento in Italy. . . . With Fascism, with the will of the Duce, every ideal, every institution, every Roman deed will return to shine in the new Italy, and after the epic conflict of combatants on African soil, the Roman Empire rises up out of the ruins of a barbarian empire.91 The regime occupied a central place in the exhibit, with busts of Victor Emanuel III and Mussolini, photographs of monuments and “new towns” built in recent years, and quotations from the Duce lining the walls. Given this explicit language and symbolism, many have focused upon the “rebirth of empire” room as emblematic of the purely propagandistic nature of the Mostra Augustea. While undeniably a strident presence, it is important to keep in mind that this final room represented the conclusion, not the centerpiece, of the historical itinerary. Furthermore, the room synthesized a broader



span of Italian history than is generally recognized. It included portraits of “great men” through the ages, from Cola di Rienzo and Sixtus V to Leon Battista Alberti and Raphael; inscriptions by Italian writers, including Dante, Machiavelli, and Risorgimento patriots like Mameli and Carducci, all attesting to Rome’s continued vitality; and monuments throughout the ages, demonstrating Rome’s lasting aesthetic influence. The rebirth of empire under Fascism therefore represented the most recent and dynamic incarnation of the Roman spirit, but it was incorporated as part of a longer narrative. The exhibition’s other two floors dispensed with the chronological format and were organized on a thematic basis. The lower level was devoted to public works and monumental architecture from every period of Roman antiquity. Of all sections of the exhibition, the themes and overall tone of this level most closely resembled the precedents of 1911 and 1927. Several rooms dealt with Roman monuments and public works projects in the provinces, which attested not only to the military value of and the political reasons for conquest, but to the work of civilization carried out by Roman legionaries. Everywhere [one finds] roads, bridges, aqueducts, pools, sumptuous religious, military and civic buildings, everywhere a just and wise order which, with firm and paternal discipline, brought peace. . . . If all contemporary nations . . . find in these documents the testimony of a glorious period in their civilization, for us Italians they are extraordinarily pleasing and a source of legitimate pride.92 While testifying to the breadth of imperial expansion, the exhibits also stressed Europe’s shared Roman heritage. According to one radio profile of the exhibition, the MAR was an unprecedented event in this regard: “Never has such a monumental documentation of these works, so fundamental for the creation of the modern world, been attempted. From the rooms of the exhibition, it is clear that there really was a time when almost all of Europe shared a single civilization.”93 The monuments and architectural motifs that recurred in each room—arches, vaults, solid columns—reinforced the grandeur and aesthetic unity of the empire and embodied essential features of the Roman character: solidity, hierarchy, discipline, and gravitas. More than this, they demonstrated the extent to which modern technology had been anticipated or even surpassed in classical antiquity. Despite lacking electricity and steam power, Roman building techniques “produced . . . a revolution that is arguably superior to that produced by the vast use of steel and reinforced concrete in modern times.”94 It was no accident, wrote the archaeologist Michelangelo Cagiano de Azevedo, that “with the advent of railways, there


Table 2.


Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Lower Level




Administrative offices


Theaters, amphitheaters, and circuses


The capitol of Thugga (Tunisia)


Fora, temples, and porticoes


Roman cities in the empire


The gates of Spello (Umbria)


Roads and communications


Border markers


Houses and gardens


Imperial and private villas


Imperial palaces and homes


Roman cities in Italy


Aqueducts, baths, springs, and fountains




Caves and mining




Markets and stores


Ports of the empire


The acropolis of Baalbek (Syria)


Funerary monuments

has been an interesting return to history . . . since rail lines have reprised . . . the routes of ancient Roman roads. The only difference is that mountains are no longer crossed through passes but with tunnels.”95 The sophistication of Roman technology and engineering was comprehensively illustrated by a huge scale model of the city in the fourth century BC. In contrast to Bigot’s model for the 1911 exhibition, the revised edition by the architect Italo Gismondi appeared not as a pleasant curiosity but as a vision of a modern metropolis, its vast array of public buildings, hygienic services, and commercial activities “confer[ring] . . . a grand and stupefying sense of modernity on the Roman world.”96 The final portion of the Mostra Augustea—situated on the upper level of the palazzo—moved away from public monumentality and offered a reconstruction of everyday life in antiquity. Perusing this floor, all Italians—“from the soldier to the engineer, from the scholar to the doctor, from the artisan to the merchant, from the musician to the farmer”—could find their ancient



counterparts and witness how little their modern professions had changed in over twenty centuries.97 The omnipotent Roman state loomed throughout these halls. Social welfare programs, for example, which might have seemed a recent innovation, had in fact been developed under the reign of Augustus, who was the first to make provisions for small landholders and the urban poor. Fascist Italy’s own achievements in this area were a product of a similar innate tendency, “the national instinct of our race.”98 Another manifestation of the state’s authority and the persistence of Roman values were youth associations, which in antiquity had served as a “powerful and disciplined organism . . . in which youth could develop their capacities without wasting them . . . with the goal of adding future officers to the ranks of the army.”99 The Iuventus, founded by Augustus, and the modern Gioventù Italiano del Littorio (the umbrella organization for Fascist youth groups) were born of “the same material and the same concept of the State.”100 In both these instances, then, the connection between ancient and modern institutions was not one of imitation but of common inspiration and a shared basis in eternal romanità. While some of these rooms gave more extensive attention to public and economic life, particularly revealing were those that dealt with religion, family life, fashion, and the arts. The same values that governed the public realm could be found in the most intimate recesses of private life. Roman religion, for example, was presented in stark contrast to the “mythological intemperance” and “orgiastic excesses” of other ancient cults, since it consecrated devotion to the fatherland in a more disciplined and unified manner, and placed the desires and interests of the individual in a subordinate position to the state. . . . It instilled . . . a reverence for the divine, a respect for the sacred tradition of the country, a sense of personal responsibility that tempered spirits and made them steady in work.101 In a similar vein, the room focusing on the family demonstrated that the Roman familia was unique in the ancient world, distinguishing itself from other peoples “because of its healthier and more solid spirit of rectitude and abnegation . . . fecund virtues that prepared the Roman citizen for the trials and triumphs of public life and for his dominion over the world.”102 As the source of civic virtue, the family was governed by the authority of the paterfamilias, respect for the mother, and the worship of ancestors, all of which in turn cultivated obedience to the state. Since the household also included slaves, the display also had to contend with “that (certainly not honorable) institution.”103 However, a rapid examination of the mosaics, epigraphs, and bas-reliefs—most of which showed scenes of manumission—demonstrated that under the Romans “slavery was tempered by a sense of humanity, fa-


Table 3.


Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Upper Level


Industry and handicrafts




Model of imperial Rome


Family life


Fashion in Rome


Fashion in the provinces


School and youth organizations












Figurative arts


Agriculture and land surveying


Wine and bread


Hunting, fishing, and food


Medicine and pharmaceuticals


Economic and financial life






Social assistance


Silver wares

miliarity and affection.”104 The rooms on family and private life, with their scenes of child rearing, domestic cults, and banquets, were designed to be of interest to female visitors (in contrast to the militarized themes of the main floor) and were frequently promoted in women’s publications. This was especially true of the rooms that depicted fashion in Rome and throughout the empire. The ornate hairstyles of the Augustan age, according to the film Nella Luce di Roma, “prove[d] how relative the so-called sacrifices of future ‘slaves to fashion’ are.”105 Because of the thematic layout, every category of viewer could find something of personal interest: The little boy will become curious before the showcase of toys: puppets, horses, rattles. Women will admire the sculptures, the architectural models, and everything else; but their attention will be intensely drawn to the images showing the life of the child, bathing, the wet-nurse soothing the newborn. . . . And with even more interest they will



compare the fashions of today with fifteen different types of hairstyles: those of Livia and Agrippina, of Faustina and Giulia Domna; and they will study bracelets and necklaces, rings and parasols.106 Just as the exhibits on engineering and architecture demonstrated the “modernity” of Roman construction, these rooms proved that there was little to distinguish between the priorities of contemporary Italian women and their forebears, despite a distance of two millennia. Taken in its entirety, to what extent was this reconstruction of the ancient world explicitly Fascist, and was it readily legible as such? Elements like the “rebirth of empire” display explicitly advertised the regime’s desire to position itself as the culmination of romanità. It would also be perverse to deny that the depiction of Augustus, the recurring themes of militarism and empire, or the presentation of phenomena like the youth organizations, were not intended to draw parallels with Mussolini, the conquest of Ethiopia, or the regime’s mobilization of young people. In other respects, however, the Mostra Augustea conformed to long-established or non-Fascist narratives. For example, the representation of Augustus as a beneficent, impersonal deity was in no small part derived from the image that the emperor himself sought to cultivate; the monuments and works of art on display at the MAR— whether commissioned by the Princeps himself or produced in his honor— were originally designed as part of a comprehensive cultural program to “‘heal’ Roman society” after the Civil Wars, with the “principal themes . . . of religion and custom, virtus, and the honor of the Roman people.”107 The themes of national regeneration, demographic recovery, and a return to traditional mores were therefore not simply imposed upon the Augustan era by cynical ideologues, but were important attributes of artifacts in their original context. Similarly, casting the Princeps as the leader of a revolutionary party and an authoritarian regime was not confined to Mussolinian propaganda; one need only cite Sir Ronald Syme’s The Roman Revolution (1939), which described Augustus as “a revolutionary leader [who] arose in civil strife, usurped power for himself and his faction, transformed a faction into a national party, and a torn and distracted land into a nation, with a stable and enduring government.”108 To a large extent, then, this portrait of Roman antiquity followed well-established tropes. This need not suggest, however, that it lacked the regime’s imprint. Indeed, the exhibition was thoroughly imbued with a Fascist sensibility, as becomes apparent when one focuses upon the MAR’s institutional, narrative, and taxonomic structure.109 Across the three levels, similar themes emerge. Though the installations on the main floor were arranged chronologically, the most striking aspect of this historical re-



construction was, seemingly paradoxically, its complete lack of historicity and temporality. The story of Rome was not depicted as a progressive development or a process of expansion, from its humble origins to the Fascist present; nor did this narrative correspond to a straightforward palingenetic paradigm, recounting the nation’s history in terms of a distant golden age, followed by a period of darkness and decline, and culminating in a rebirth in a more glorious present. Instead, each moment, and each protagonist, was presented as yet another instantiation of the same supra-historical phenomenon, another equivalent manifestation of romanità. Julius Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon prefigured the March on Rome, but equally Mussolini’s demographic policies recalled Augustus’s; Romulus, Augustus, Saint Peter, and the Duce were all depicted as men of Providence, simultaneously inheriting the Roman tradition and directed toward future glories; rooms dedicated to ancient history were laid out according to a modernist aesthetic, while conversely the room on Fascism featured a classical personification of Victory and quotations from Dante and Petrarch. At certain junctures, large swaths of time were collapsed—most obviously in the room on the rebirth of empire, which encompassed all of Roman history from the fall of the western empire to the twentieth century—while at others (like the rooms on the Augustan era) the diachronic narrative was interrupted and focus was given over to a single historical moment. At still others, like the rooms that dealt with themes like law, architecture, and public life, temporal distinctions dropped out altogether: a first-century BC warship sat alongside another from three hundred years later, not in order to demonstrate changes in shipbuilding techniques but to reinforce the unitary and constant nature of the Roman navy. If the Mostra Augustea was conceived as “totalitarian” in its scientific approach, mass appeal, and didactic mission, its treatment of time was similarly “total,” approaching history holistically and avoiding the imposition of boundaries or the identification of discrete periods. Just as the main floor’s reconstruction of Roman history demonstrated the unity of romanità across time, the rooms on the lower level had sought to do the same across space. In a similar fashion, the rooms on the upper level emphasized the permeation of Roman values into every sphere of human activity, whether public or private. The division of everyday life into categories like “school,” “science,” and “economic life” reflected a corporatist conception of society; furthermore, the imposition of these contemporary categories upon everyday ancient objects, and their placement in a distinct context, was what shaped their primary significance to the viewer. Every aspect of daily life was presented as a prefiguration of modernity, both to draw the interest of visitors and to emphasize the eternality and continued vitality of Roman civilization at every



moment in time. If one returns to a brief comparison between the MAR and its predecessors, the impact of its classificatory system becomes all the more obvious. The geographic layout of 1911 was essential to its celebration of progress and bourgeois culture, while the lack of a meaningful reorganization in 1927 reflects the early challenges of framing archaeology and museology in Fascist terms. By contrast, the historical and thematic categorization of 1937–38, supplemented by a totalizing vision of the MAR as an institution, was essential to its “totalitarian,” technological, militarized, and rigidly hierarchical picture of Roman antiquity.

“A Colossal Book”: Reception and Attendance Given its “totalitarian” aspirations and pedagogical mission, what can be said about the reception of the Mostra Augustea? Reviews of the exhibition were overwhelmingly positive (and, of course, the Italian press was suitably reverent). Going from room to room, wrote one journalist, “one has the impression of turning the pages of a new, immortal poem of romanità . . . the millennia resound, not rhetoric. . . . In the organization of this wonderful exhibition, one can discern the spirit of a poet, not just the mind of a historian.”110 Others employed a wide range of metaphors: for the Cronaca Prealpina of Varese, the MAR was “not a museum, a mute and cold display, but a living and dynamic guide”; Il Ballila described it as “a colossal book,” and the Popolo di Brescia as “a voyage across history . . . plunging into the private lives of ancient Romans.” For the Broletto of Como, it was “not an exhibition . . . [but] a ritual act carried out by Italy.”111 Yet even publications that maintained some distance from the regime—like the Catholic L’Osservatore Romano—agreed that the exhibition “could not have been prepared with higher principles in mind, or laid out in a more fitting and practical manner . . . easily understood by even modestly cultured visitors.”112 An even more authoritative voice, La Civiltà Cattolica, praised the organizers for creating “a varied, modern, original arrangement, almost never cumbersome, wisely illuminated . . . perfectly clear and visible at every point. . . . One can run through it in a few hours, and everyone will take away a body of useful information and an impression of unity.”113 One notable exception to this chorus can be found in the Bolognese literary journal L’Orto, which deemed the MAR excessively historical and archaeological, lacking “warmth” and serving as a “cold, overly professorial lesson in ancient history.”114 While the essence of Fascist romanità was meant to be “constituted by living, by working, by building, and by fighting resolutely,” the Mostra Augustea had been organized “with a spirit of purely humanistic romanità that . . . presupposes



a great deal of cultural knowledge. It is directed to the intellectual bourgeoisie. . . . We would have preferred a more popular character . . . to an erudite one.”115 In their view, Rome’s military might and warrior spirit should have been more strongly emphasized over the civility and magnificence of public architecture. Interestingly, then, the principal criticism in this case was that far from being excessively “ideological,” the MAR was in fact excessively “archaeological” and insufficiently Fascist in its outlook. Reviews from foreign observers were also positive. A. W. Van Buren, director of the American Academy, told Giglioli after the inauguration that the MAR was “truly a masterful re-evocation of romanità in all its manifestations. I have admired not only the overall concept behind this unique enterprise, but also the way in which it was realized. I am sure that the exhibition will make a considerable contribution to the education of all peoples who trace their civilization from Rome.”116 The Yale historian and archaeologist Michael Rostovtzeff wrote that he had enjoyed the exhibition on two levels: As a scholar I learned a lot from studying the various objects on display at the Mostra. Many were familiar; but I was able to study them in their setting, with beautiful copies and under the guidance of experts. But there were many monuments that were unknown to me or that I knew only from inadequate reproductions. . . . But perhaps I enjoyed the exhibition more as a teacher of Roman history. The Mostra is truly a splendid course on Roman history, such that I would never be able to give my students. . . . I am convinced that the Mostra might have an educational value even greater than its scientific value.117 Many foreign reviewers noted the exhibition’s political implications but generally distinguished these from its academic importance. A British journal acknowledged that while its main themes were explicit, the MAR’s scientific rigor made it accessible to every type of visitor: It was Rome, Rome, Rome all the time but it was not just shrieked at you with noisy insistence: it was brought before you, first through a skilful historical introduction and then with evidence which grew more compelling as you passed from room to room. The effect was cumulative: whether you were scholar or not and however much the ruse of time might have encrusted your historical knowledge, there was no escape.118 At the same time, the author noted, the propagandistic effect was ambiguous. While an Italian might have identified a connection with the present regime, the exhibition was open-ended enough that a Catholic viewer could see



Rome’s crowning glory as the triumph of the church, and someone “with no particular sympathy with either Catholicism or Fascism could still lose himself in the thought of a great human civilization.”119 Le Nouvelliste (Lyon) made a similar distinction between what the MAR “showed” and what it “sought to demonstrate.”120 As an exhibition of archaeological artifacts, it was “very complete, well-chosen, presented with clarity, intelligence and taste. . . . It’s interesting. It’s articulate.”121 On the other hand, the organizers’ efforts to demonstrate the continuities between ancient Rome and Fascist Italy were less convincing. After all, the two were separated by the fall of the empire (as we have seen, conspicuously absent from the exhibition’s historical reconstruction) and above all by modern Italy’s standing as a Christian nation. Thus, “not only is there no sequence, no continuity, but there is contradiction, discontinuity . . . between the two.”122 Despite the Mostra Augustea’s positive reception from both the press and the international scholarly community, the exhibition’s success in appealing to a wider audience is less clear. At the closing ceremonies in early November 1938, Giglioli announced that the exhibition had seen over a million visitors (roughly a quarter of the attendance for the Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista) and netted more than L1,935,000 in entry receipts.123 Upon closer inspection, these numbers reveal a more complicated picture. For the first month and a half (that is, from the inauguration on September 23 until mid-November 1937), attendance had been impressive, with a daily average of around 2,500 and receipts of over L426,000. As early as December, however, Giglioli was already expressing concerns to Mussolini’s secretariat that numbers were declining: the daily average had dropped to 950, with receipts falling to L80,000 per month.124 To an extent, this decline could be explained in terms of an initial spike of interest generated by the grand inauguration and the novelty of the exhibition. The more immediate cause, however, appears to be the inauguration of another exhibition—the Mostra del Tessile (the Textile Exhibition), held in the Circus Maximus—on November 18, scarcely two months after the opening of the MAR. The new entry not only diverted some of the MAR’s potential audience, but also detracted from one of its main draws. By purchasing a ticket to the Mostra Augustea, visitors from outside Rome were given a discount of up to 70 percent on rail fares; in November, the right to issue these discounts was transferred to the Textile Exhibition, resulting in an overnight drop in ticket sales. The drop in attendance and receipts provoked by the elimination of rail discounts reflected a larger problem for the exhibition’s organizers. Even if Giglioli’s estimate of one million visitors is to be believed, even he acknowledged that the majority of tickets were either discounted or free; this in turn



reflected the fact that a large segment of the overall attendance was composed of tour groups that were granted lower entry fees.125 Elementary and middleschool children accounted for over sixty thousand visitors; Giglioli deemed this one of the exhibition’s main achievements, particularly when seeing how the students “ran through the rooms with so much attention, so much love, so much joy. And how many of them . . . returned by themselves and saw everything again, and explained themselves the various pieces to their parents (often poor peasants) and younger brothers!”126 The Comitato d’Azione per l’Universalità di Roma (CAUR, the Action Committee for the Universality of Rome, the regime’s organ for the promotion of Italian-style fascism abroad) organized group visits for over a thousand university students, mostly from allied movements in eastern and central Europe. Guided visits for Italian and foreign dignitaries, international congresses, and professional conventions also accounted for significant numbers. In response to the decline in attendance at the end of 1937, Mussolini’s secretariat ordered the party and the OND to organize mandatory group visits.127 Despite this intervention, attendance from official party organizations represented only a fraction of the total—6,000 Dopolavoristi and 2,700 riders of treni popolari (“popular trains”) specially organized to bring in attendees from other parts of the peninsula.128 In some cases, it even appeared that travelers were taking advantage of discounted fares to travel to Rome without actually entering the exhibition; in addition, the OND often failed to distribute tickets or sold them at reduced rates.129 Giglioli often railed against what he saw as a lack of exposure for the exhibition; as late as July 1938, he bemoaned the fact that Adolf Hitler’s recent visit to Rome (which included two tours of the exhibition) had failed to generate significant publicity or a rise in entries.130 With the end of the bimillenary year looming, Giglioli made some lastminute maneuvers. First, he arranged to have the closing date set back to early November, in order to take advantage of the thousands of troops and veterans who would be converging on the capital on November 4 to mark the twentieth anniversary of Italy’s victory in World War I; in the end, attendance among military personnel totaled over eight thousand.131 On the final day of the exhibition, he also lowered the entrance fee to half a lira, drawing a crowd of twenty thousand.132 Overall, the picture that emerges from this concatenation of factors is one of heavy dependence on group tours—generally organized under official auspices and in many instances mandatory—that generated limited revenue;133 indeed, if one follows Giglioli’s estimate that the average price paid for a ticket lay somewhere between L2 and L3 (though the face value was L4), then the final receipts of L1,935,000 suggest an attendance of around



774,000 paying visitors—meaning that potentially up to a quarter of all visitors were granted free entry.134 Much harder to gauge is the number of visitors who entered of their own volition, though Giglioli’s constant entreaties to state entities suggest that he saw official visits as the most reliable source of attendance and funds.135 At the very least, he was able to conclude that receipts had covered the MAR’s operating costs. As for the artifacts themselves, it was important to recognize that they “had an inventorial value far superior” to their purchase price.136 The range of scholarly and popular responses to the Mostra Augustea suggests that for its contemporary audience, as for historians, it was difficult to disentangle the “ideological” from the “archaeological.” Its largely positive reception among scholars reveals that the exhibition was taken seriously by many as a scientific representation of the past; by the same token, the ambiguous response of the general public implies that its expressly didactic mission was not entirely successful. Nevertheless, the Mostra Augustea was clearly a crucial moment for both Italian archaeology and the Fascist regime. Its impact is demonstrated by its longevity. At the exhibition’s closing ceremonies, in the presence of Mussolini, Gabriele D’Annunzio, and representatives of the regime’s highest echelons, Giglioli issued a call similar to Lanciani’s concluding remarks in 1911. The MAR had been an unqualified success, and “Mussolini’s Italians [had] profoundly felt the significance of this rite that they were carrying out by approaching the glories of the past, assembled and made vivid in a shrine, and by contemplating the glories that must be surpassed.”137 To extend this mission, the exhibition needed to be expanded and reorganized yet again, and reconstituted as a permanent museum and center for academic research. This request had already been approved by the Duce personally as part of the Esposizione Universale di Roma (EUR), the international exposition marking the regime’s twentieth anniversary in 1942. By November 1938, however, the political terrain—both in Italy and across Europe—had shifted. The new atmosphere is reflected in Giglioli’s language: the director and his colleagues would approach their task with “the same faith and the same ardor” that they had exerted in 1937, but the new museum was not to be a mere “manual” or “pageant” of Roman history. Instead, it would serve as “as a living thing . . . an exaltation and incitement to Italians, and a warning to foreigners.”138 The collection of plaster casts and models had been cast and recast three times between 1911 and 1937; in the next chapter, we will explore the challenges of representing Rome in the context of imperial conquest, racial theory, and total war.

Ch a p ter 5

Empire, Race, and the Decline of Romanità, 1936–1945

The Augustan bimillenary represented the apogee of romanità and the culmination of currents—institutional, intellectual, ideological—present since the earliest days of Fascism (and indeed well before). At the same time, this event must also be situated in its historical context, as an expression of dramatic developments in the mid- to late thirties. On May 9, 1936, Benito Mussolini announced Italy’s defeat of Haile Selassie’s Abyssinia and thus “the reappearance, after fifteen centuries, of empire on the fated hills of Rome.”1 With this victory, he declared, Italy had finally fulfilled its imperial destiny and claimed its rightful place alongside Europe’s great powers. As should by now be evident, romanità had long been a central element of Fascist political culture. There is little question, however, that its importance was magnified by the regime’s intensifying expansionism and militarism in the second half of the 1930s.2 The so-called svolta totalitaria (“totalitarian turn”) was precipitated by the Ethiopian War and accelerated by the imposition of sanctions by the League of Nations and Italy’s subsequent alliance with Nazi Germany.3 Italy’s bellicose self-assertion abroad was paralleled by a radicalization of the Fascist project domestically, a “cultural revolution” aimed at forging a new “homo fascistus.”4 The most extreme expression of this new drive was the official adoption of racist ideology in 1938, accompanied by the anti-Semitic Racial Laws, which excluded Jews from public and 125



professional life and banned racial miscegenation.5 The nation was no longer defined by a common language, culture, or history; instead, it was bound by skin color, blood, and a mystical essence. Many historians consider the regime’s racial theories to have been an extension or “grotesque corollary” of romanità.6 Indeed, the familiar themes of imperial expansion and military discipline were readily adapted to the new paradigm. Drawing on well-established tropes, scholars identified classical antecedents for African conquest and anti-Semitic measures, and repeated the claim of an Italian cultural primacy derived from Rome. At the same time, however, the advent of racial ideology had the potential to undermine the dominant Fascist narrative of the Roman past. The new obsession with empire and race led to anxieties about cosmopolitanism, ethnic purity, and miscegenation; the alliance with Hitler presented the challenge of reconciling Latin civilization with Germanic Kultur. Paradoxically, then, romanità began to be eclipsed at the very moment that Fascism grasped most aggressively at the mantle of empire.

The Universal Mission: Romanità and Fascist Empire The “imperial turn” of the mid-1930s might have marked a new phase in Fascism’s development, but the invocation of Roman imperialism was hardly unprecedented. As evidenced by the Mostra Augustea della Romanità, the figures most closely identified with the regime were intimately connected to the myth of empire—not only Augustus and Julius Caesar, but republican heroes like Scipio Africanus, who defeated Hannibal in the Second Punic War (also the subject of a regime-funded feature film, Scipione l’Africano, in 1937).7 The regime also replicated long-standing tropes of European colonialism. The British, while imagining themselves “Greeks at home,” were also “Romans abroad.” Their domestic refinement would be complemented by a muscular and disciplined expansionism overseas.8 The French invocation of Roman imperialism was even more explicit, dating back to Napoleon’s adventures in Egypt. The conquest of Algeria in the mid-nineteenth century was heavily imbued with classical overtones, with the French emulating the exploits of ancient legions in North Africa. Archaeology had been an instrument of colonial control throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, used to establish an “ontological and epistemological distinction” between the West and its Others and claim the power to define the historical character of conquered lands.9 The British in Mesopotamia and Egypt, the Germans in the Levant and Greece, and the French in North Africa all presented themselves as the rightful heirs to, and stewards of, the vestiges of antiquity.10

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The recovery of ancient material culture demonstrated the technical expertise and cultural sophistication of the colonizers while also highlighting the backwardness of local populations—their primitivism in comparison with the achievements of previous civilizations, their insensibility to great art and architecture, and their lack of authentic connection to the land.11 Excavations were a vehicle for the imperial transformation of space, reframing the aesthetic and historical composition of landscapes and cities. Just as the Fascists had done in Rome itself, vernacular and indigenous structures in the colonies were cleared to reveal more “historically significant” sites. The tangible artifacts produced by archaeology were cast not only as evidence of the past but as “testimony” that reinforced preexisting narratives of European superiority through the ages.12 The “new” empire proclaimed by Mussolini in 1936 borrowed heavily from this discourse, and also reiterated the rhetoric of Italy’s pre-Fascist colonial exploits. While there had been many rationales for expansion during the Liberal era, from the need to control emigration to geopolitical factors, the most compelling public justification was the historical “right of return” to lands once possessed by Rome. During the conquest of Libya in 1911, Italian soldiers were portrayed as modern legionaries (in a manner similar to the French in Algeria), brandishing the ancient short-sword in the sands of Tripolitania. The monumental remains at Leptis Magna, Tripoli, and Sabratha substantiated the essential Romanness of the Libyan landscape, and archaeologists set about uncovering evidence of an eternal “Italian” presence in North Africa.13 As elsewhere, tutelage of the country’s architectural patrimony was contrasted with the ignorance and indifference of the natives. The Italian government devoted considerable resources to archaeology in Libya, and this activity continued under Fascism. In addition to monumental remains, archaeologists worked to recover traces of ancient farmsteads; these reminders of Roman colonialism were meant to demonstrate “the glorious romanità of these lands, once flowering with olive-trees and grain,” in the same way that modern Italians, in only a few years, were creating “the Tripolitania . . . of technology and culture, of industry and commerce, fertile in active energy, vibrant with potential.”14 Just as towns and farms had flourished in the desert sands under Roman rule, they would once again thanks to the efforts of the empire’s modern descendants. This argument was not only rhetorical, but was frequently employed by colonial officials seeking resources for the development of their areas. For example, the administrator of Gebel Nefusa—a barren plateau in the far west of Tripolitania—produced an archaeological survey of the area in order to put “these lands—currently uncultivated and abandoned—in a more favorable light, lands which in a dis-



tant era were the home of rich and thriving agricultural colonies, and which our Italy, as the heir of Rome, is called to make worthy once again.”15 “It is obvious,” wrote the journal L’Italia Coloniale, that where the agriculture of Roman colonists once prospered, so too can our new venture prosper, given that the conditions of the terrain and climate have not changed. . . . From [the archaeological remains], beyond an eloquent illustration of the past, we should derive useful advice for present-day agriculture, facilitating the task of restoring the fertility and productivity to the Libyan colony that it had in the era of Roman rule.16 If these themes did not depart substantially from the well-trodden paths of colonialist rhetoric, in other respects the regime’s imperial vision was more distinctively Fascist. Chief among these was an obsession with the “universality” of the ancient empire, its mission to transform other peoples and spread “order, discipline [and] absolute subjection to state authority.”17 In antiquity, the phrase civis romanus sum—“I am a Roman citizen”—had denoted a universal legal and civic identity, based not on ethnicity, language, or religion but on the individual’s allegiance to the state.18 Imperial identities had been constitutional rather than racial; the distinction between “civilized” and “barbarian” was more important than any biological difference.19 For the regime, however, it was crucial that universality not to be equated with egalitarianism or civic republicanism in the mold of the French mission civilisatrice.20 Instead, it meant the subjugation of the individual to the collectivity, a hierarchical relationship between government and governed, and a mission of conquest and sacrifice.21 For the jurist Giuseppe Maggiore, Roman imperialism provided an ideal model for Fascist totalitarianism, since it had involved “the irradiation of an eternal idea from the center to the periphery, not the equivalence . . . between center and periphery.”22 The goal was not a horizontal community but a vertical structure binding the metropole and its subjects. This sense of “verticality” was instilled by the severity of the Roman family, governed by the rigid paterfamilias and the cult of the mos maiorum, the “ways of the ancestors”; the rigors of rural life and military education; and the state’s imposition of organic unity on every aspect of public and private life. It was an expression, in the words of the ISR’s Pietro De Francisci, of a mentality that valued clarity and simplicity, based on a linear and precise sense of reality, not only of visible reality but of the invisible as well; the greatness derived from a broad and serene, but concrete, vision of life and the world [and]

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unity . . . which results in a harmonic fusion of these essential elements, gained through a singular force of combination and concentration.23 Notwithstanding the opacity of this language, several key concepts come to the fore: the emphasis of the material over the ideal, and the practical over the abstract; values—both moral and aesthetic—of simplicity, proportion, regularity, and permanence; and, correspondingly, a sociopolitical order governed by hierarchy and assimilation. While these virtues originated in pagan antiquity, they remained timeless attributes of the Italo-Roman psyche. Catholicism, built on the infrastructure and institutions of the empire, shared this ability “to be able to see far and wide, and to see clearly . . . the innate knowledge of the hierarchy of values; the instinctive sense of that which should be united and not divided.”24 As we have seen, the reconciliation between the Italian state and the Vatican had involved a convergence of classical and papal romanità; this relationship intensified with the conquest of empire, which was enthusiastically supported in many quarters of the Catholic hierarchy.25 According to La Civiltà Cattolica, “Roman universalism—assimilating, coordinating, promoting and unifying all people in a common civilization . . . and bearing a certain resemblance and affinity with the universal religion of Christ—was for these reasons ordered by Providence to serve as the soil best suited to sowing the seeds of evangelism.”26 “Universality” also entailed the dissemination of civilization, first to all peoples of the empire and then to future generations of humanity. At the Istituto di Studi Romani, scholars enthusiastically traced this process in a new series of monographs published in the late thirties. The historian Salvatore Riccobono identified Roman law as “a measure of the genius of the race” and a gift to the modern world;27 Gustavo Giovannoni made the case for architecture as “an expression of the constructive will of the Roman and Italian genius.”28 Just as the legionary had a mission to conquer and discipline other civilizations, so too would Roman construction conquer and discipline space. Aqueducts, for example, could be found in the most arid corners of the empire and were often still used by contemporary inhabitants.29 Roads were likewise celebrated as “arteries” coursing through the body of empire. Built in “solid stone” with an “almost always rectilinear route,” linked by “svelte, solid, almost indestructible bridges, ennobled by wide arches,” they were material manifestations of romanità.30 To Pietro Romanelli, the “sense of the road” was distinctively Roman: It is the sense of conquest, not only military but . . . civil; it is the sense of human solidarity and universality, since the road is the means through which one communicates one’s own civilization to peoples



both near and far. . . . No people in antiquity had this sense more than the Romans, and no people left, as they did, the broadest, most organic, most robust network of roads, laid to bind and connect the known world together in one system.31 As these descriptions make clear, archaeologists often emphasized the technological sophistication of Roman engineering, seeing it as an anticipation of the reclamation schemes promised by Mussolini’s regime. The durability of Roman construction could also be contrasted with the absence of a material record for other ancient cultures. All empires prior to Rome had been little more than “passing conquests . . . without any lasting organization which, at the death of the valiant warriors who founded them, crumbled, fell apart and fractured, like an immense clay statue.”32 In Libya, scholars minimized the presence of Carthaginian or Greek remains. The ubiquitous traces of Roman rule testified to its “vigorous” desire to “leave its imprint” on the land, while the lack of Carthaginian structures demonstrated that culture’s “mercantilist” priorities.33 Rome had built roads and aqueducts in the desert, but the merchant sailors of Carthage—more preoccupied with trade than the civilizing mission—remained close to the coastline. And where Roman ruins were conspicuously absent—as was the case, for example, in much of the city of Tripoli—it was due to the barbarism of local Arabs and Berbers, who had pillaged monuments for building materials.34 The situation in East Africa was more dire. The lack of Roman (and even Greek) remains demonstrated the extent to which the Ethiopians had been cut off from Mediterranean civilization, and the primitivism of indigenous material culture—in the past and the present—showed that they were “a people lacking in civilization . . . without the capacity of expressing themselves in the spiritual or cultural domain, or in politics and commerce.”35 Hand in hand with the universality and technological sophistication of Roman construction was an insistence on its ubiquity and uniformity. As Mia Fuller has noted, the Fascist vision of empire also presupposed a standardization of cultures and identities.36 This homogenization was not only aspired to for the future but projected into the past. Scholars persistently downplayed the importance of local or syncretic cultures, casting the ancient empire as “a vast human community, dominated by a uniform civilization” directly transmitted from the center to the periphery.37 As demonstrated at the Mostra Augustea, this notion was reinforced by the repetition of architectural motifs like the arch, the vault, and the colonnade. From the Iberian Peninsula to the Near East, claimed archaeologists, nearly identical

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monuments could be found, reflecting a single and unitary Roman culture across space and time. According to Giuseppe Bottai, In every place that an aqueduct reaches, where a bridge lies, where a military road stretches, where an arch or a vault was raised, there is Rome. And, just like aqueducts, that channel, discipline, direct, just like bridges, which level and unify, just like roads, which connect, just like arches, which draw together, just like vaults, which protect; Roman law disciplined, unified, connected, drew together, and protected the subjugated West under one unified collectivity.38 The Roman past thus provided Mussolini’s regime with a cartography, a vision not only of African and Mediterranean empire but of a new international order irradiating once more from the Eternal City. Even where it did not nurture imperial ambitions, Italy claimed the mantle of civilizational primacy. France, for instance, was presented as little more than a barbarian backwater prior to the arrival of Caesar’s legionaries. As a consequence of centuries of Roman occupation, however, “there is not a single French city or town . . . in which some building, institution, tomb, or other object does not prove the Romanness [romanità] of the country. . . . Anything that it is still strong and vibrant in France today has a Roman origin.”39 This debt created a bond between the two nations, not as fraternal equals but as parent and child. Similarly, Britain (originally home to a race of “cannibals”) had only become part of the civilized world through the Roman conquest.40 Modern London—and many other English cities—grew out of Roman towns; the British rail system supposedly retraced the route of the roads built by Caesar’s legions. Thus, in the words of Giuseppe Maggiore, There is nothing in the patrimony of European civilization that does not bear the stamp of romanità. From the alphabet to language, from ways of thinking and reasoning to ways of building; from materials (carved stone, bricks, lime) to architectural structures (the arch, the column, the bridge, the well, the aqueduct, the road); to tools (the hammer, the saw, the plane, the spade, the plow, the sickle) to domestic funishings, everything originates from Rome: political, social, municipal institutions . . . religious rites and athletics.41 Europe’s common Roman heritage underpinned Italian claims to cultural preeminence and, the regime hoped, would one day provide the foundation for a new international community. This order would not be governed by the liberal democracy of Geneva, nor by the proletarian internationalism of



Moscow. Instead, Fascist Italy would sit at the top of a “complete and totalitarian system that radiates . . . from the Mother country to every land where it must carry out its historic mission.”42 The model of the ancient empire was frequently invoked by propagandists of a “New Order,” particularly in the years following the Rome-Berlin Axis and during the Second World War.43 In the wake of the awaited Axis triumph, the world map would be redrawn to accommodate the victors’ “living space” (German Lebensraum in central and eastern Europe, and Italian spazio vitale in the Mediterranean basin and Africa). Following the example of the Roman legions, the victors would crush their foes, but “with time, would amalgamate them, under the wisest and fairest laws in existence, into a sound and unitary state, in which . . . [the conquerors] would hold all the military, economic and diplomatic power, but otherwise grant equal civil and political rights to be exercised responsibly . . . [so that] victors and vanquished alike would prosper together . . . in peace.”44 The new international order would no longer be a community of equal sovereign nations but a hierarchical network of civilizations bound by conquest and obedience. All fantasies of a “New Order” were extinguished by the defeat of the Axis in World War II. However, one can gain a glimpse of this utopia by looking at the most ambitious project of the regime in its final years: the Esposizione Universale di Roma (EUR, the Universal Exposition of Rome), an international fair scheduled for 1942, in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the March on Rome.45 As its title suggested, the organizing theme of the exposition was “universality . . . in space, time, and subject. All peoples, of all centuries, in all forms of activity should be represented, so as to achieve the synthesis of Italian and universal civilization in Rome.”46 Unlike recent world’s fairs staged by Western democracies, which were too obsessed with “the mirage of material happiness,” EUR would be an “Olympics of civilization, with the motto ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’ . . . representing the historical evolution of human progress.”47 Pavilions would celebrate not the latest scientific and technological innovations, as was typical for such events, but instead the spiritual and creative achievements of mankind over the millennia. While ostensibly a celebration of peace and fellowship during a time of rising international tension, the exposition insisted upon Italian primacy at every turn. The most prominent exhibit was the Mostra della Civiltà Italiana, intended to showcase how Roman and Italian civilization had “always had a dominant character, as the fulcrum and propulsive center of universal civilization. . . . Rome and Italy imposed themselves on the world with arms, law, religion, art and science.”48 Across seven floors of photomontages,

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maps, portaits, and statues, visitors would trace the achievements of the Italian people from prehistory to the present.49 Its organizers explicitly intended for it to have a polemical character. It must show the prerogatives and conquests of Italian civilization which, especially abroad, are little known or worse, misunderstood . . . [and] document the importance that Italian civilization has had in historical events, and the beneficial influence that it has exerted through the ages. . . . The proof of this lively vigor, which has continued up to our times and been strengthened by Fascism, is that Italy has once again conquered an Empire.50 These themes were reiterated in other pavilions, which illustrated subjects ranging from autarchy to corporatism to “health and race.”51 The most notable among these was the Mostra della Romanità, organized by Giulio Quirino Giglioli, Carlo Galassi Paluzzi, and other members of the ISR. This exhibit was little more than an expanded version of the Mostra Augustea, and it preserved the displays and layout of its predecessor. Upon the conclusion of the exposition in 1942, it was destined to become a permanent museum of romanità. As this last case suggests, EUR also differed from previous world’s fairs in that it would survive as a permanent district following the end of the festivities. In part, this decision responded to the need for urban expansion in Rome. As we have seen, the regime had shied away from inserting modern construction into the historic center, and saw the periphery as a blank canvas for new development.52 Urbanistic considerations again dovetailed with imperial rhetoric: EUR was situated between the city and the coast, thus extending Rome to the sea and the regime’s wider Mare Nostrum. A new road, Via Imperiale, would link the city center with the new suburb, and then continue on to Ostia, the ancient port town excavated by the regime. The layout of the district was guided by classical principles of symmetry and rectilinearity, imitating “the scheme of Roman cities which, now more than ever . . . constitute the basis for any good urban plan. . . . The chosen site, destined to be closely connected to the monumental zone of the city, indicates a spiritual, intellectual and historical continuity between ancient and new Rome.”53 EUR would have a “square, severe shape, thus avoiding both radial planning according to the French taste and those plans with a romantic or rustic flavor, which inevitably diminish that sense of stability and solidity that we are trying to achieve.”54 Its architecture was similarly inspired by classical antecedents; architects were called on “follow the criteria of grandiosity and monumentality. . . . The sense of Rome, which is synonymous with the



eternal and universal, will prevail . . . in the inspiration and execution of buildings destined to last, so that in fifty or one hundred years their style will not be dated, or even worse, reviled.”55 These aesthetic principles were evident in many of the exposition’s major buildings. The most visible was the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (Palace of Italian Civilization), designed by the architects Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto La Padula, and Mario Romano to house the exhibit of the same name.56 Nicknamed the “Square Colosseum,” the palazzo was faced in white travertine, adorned with marble statues, and covered on all sides by rows of arches, meant to express “the power and essence of our architecture. Arches, arches, arches repeat and are superimposed across the four faces of the building. . . . [They] have been designed according to a mentality that is classical and modern at the same time.”57 The arch was an important recurring motif throughout EUR, including a two-hundred-meter-high monumental arch proposed by Adalberto Libera.58 More than any other feature, argued planners, it represented “the essence of Italian architecture . . . [which] has resisted all foreign influences and which still characterizes our civilization . . . an element that is constructive and expressive at the same time.”59 Another important project was Piazza della Romanità, a gigantic complex of buildings linked by columned porticoes and home to Giglioli’s new museum.60 As with the arches at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, the insistent repetition of columns created an ensemble that echoed the excavated monuments of the historic center, and whose inspiration was instantly recognizable to the viewer. At the same time, neither building can be characterized as purely classicist or historicist. Rather, in what was perhaps the regime’s final expression of Roman modernity, the abstracted forms of classical geometry were wedded to the functionalism of interwar modernist aesthetics.61 In its totality, the Esposizione Universale di Roma can thus be seen as an attempt to translate Fascism’s conception of Roman modernity and universal empire into architectural form, and to do so without the constraints imposed by the city’s historical environment.62 The exhibits and museums testified to the contribution of Rome—both ancient and modern—to the development of world civilization; the ubiquity of marble, arches, and columns not only distilled Roman construction to its purest essence, but conveyed the ethical values of synthesis and hierarchy that formed the core of romanità. Although the Exposition of 1942 was canceled because of the war, and construction was interrupted, the EUR quarter was completed by the late 1950s. Today it serves as a busy office district and residential area on the Roman periphery, and more profoundly, as a tantalizing intimation of the imperial future to which Fascism aspired.

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The New York of Ancient Times? Race, Cosmopolitanism, and the End of Empire As expressed in the colonies, at EUR, and elsewhere, Rome’s “universal” empire was central to the ideology of late Fascism. However, it also presented a discomforting problem, particularly in the wake of the Racial Laws of 1938. If Romanness was a legal or civilizational identity, rather than a biological fact, what did this mean for the ethnic composition of the ancient Romans (and, by extension, for their modern Italian descendants)? If at its zenith the empire had been a panorama of races, creeds, and cultures, had this led to a dilution or corruption of the native stock? In assessing the question of racial purity, the first issue to be resolved was that of ethnogenesis. The racial origins of the Romans themselves were unclear, and in search of answers, scholars increasingly shifted their attention from classical antiquity to pre- and proto-history. This new orientation was clear at the 1938 national congress of the Istituto di Studi Romani, which established a commission devoted to “understanding the most ancient stocks of Lazio and Italy,” a book series on “Italy from Prehistory to Romanization,” and lectures on “the Civilization of Rome and the Problems of Race.”63 Giulio Quirino Giglioli and his staff at the Mostra Augustea produced a similar set of monographs on “Italian Races” like the Etruscans, Ligurians, and Umbrians.64 Giglioli also served as a consultant for the Mostra della Razza, an unrealized exhibition charting the development of the race from prehistory to the present.65 Fascist theorists were profoundly divided on the question of racial origins.66 On one extreme were Nordicists, who believed that modern Italians were descended from prehistoric Aryan peoples who had invaded the peninsula from the north; on the other were Mediterraneanists, who argued that Italians were derived from an autochthonous stock that remained distinct from the Aryans of northern and central Europe. Nordicists, many of whom aligned themselves with the racial science propounded by the Third Reich, subscribed to a biological conception of race (razza). By contrast, Mediterraneanists tended to use the term stirpe (“lineage” or “stock”), reflecting their belief that race was largely the product of cultural, historical, and spiritual development. No consensus was ever established, and many scholars drew freely from both perspectives in advancing theories of their own. However, Nordicism was the guiding principle behind the Manifesto of Racist Scientists, published in July 1938 as the foundational document of the racial campaigns. Written by a group of anthropologists, zoologists, and physicians in consultation with Mussolini, the manifesto announced that the



concept of race was “purely biological,” and not the product of history or culture.67 While stressing that Italian racism was not just an imitation of Nazi ideology, the authors stated categorically that it should be given an “AryanNordic orientation.”68 Unlike other European nations, whose physiognomies were constantly shifting, Italy’s racial composition was “the same as it was a thousand years ago; the vast majority of the 44 million Italians of today are descended from families that have been living in Italy for a millennium.”69 In the context of this debate, romanità was increasingly relegated to a secondary position in the narrative of national history. Rome now appeared as just one episode (however important) in the evolution of the race over thousands of years. For example, Pericle Ducati, president of the ISR’s Emilian section and a leading Etruscologist, wrote that the Romans were the product of a fusion between different Italic groups (like the Latins and Sabines) during the Iron Age.70 Many of Rome’s foundational myths—like Romulus and Remus, or the Rape of the Sabine Women—were stories of alliance and conquest, testifying to this process of assimilation. Arrigo Solmi, the minister of justice, similarly argued that pre-Roman Italy had been populated by a variety of groups that shared “a spiritual fraternity, a common language, essentially the same customs, and a uniform juridical structure.”71 Rome had imposed “a new power, a new mission, a new structure,” but it had not radically altered the ethnic composition of the peninsula.72 Race therefore had the potential to supplant Rome as the motive force of Italian history. A key feature of romanità had long been its temporal transcendence, but this same timelessness made it less convincing as a myth of primordial origins. The material traces of antiquity—arches, aqueducts, and basilicas—testified to imperial expansion and technological sophistication, but they were less effective than prehistoric remains in evoking a sense of authenticity, ethnic possession, or rootedness.73 As we have seen, for Fascism the importance of Roman monuments lay not in their age or the depth at which they were buried, but in their contemporary vitality and prescient modernity. If, in the words of the ISR’s Ugo Rellini, “under the paving of a Roman road there sometimes lie the traces of a prehistoric footpath,” it might follow that the ancients’ achievements were merely derived from earlier civilizations, and that more important relics might still be buried beneath the remains of classical antiquity.74 Following on from ethnogenesis, many scholars wondered whether the Romans themselves had possessed a racial identity. The infamous journal La Difesa della Razza argued that although the ancients had lacked a scientific conception of race, they had been cultural chauvinists conscious of their duty to subjugate and civilize lesser peoples.75 Instead of a racism based on

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biological difference, the Romans had felt a natural inclination toward discrimination and conquest. The exemplary figure in this regard was Cato the Elder, Rome’s “only genuine and almost natural racist” who had carried an instinctual hatred of Hellenism and other foreign cultures and insisted on a confrontation with Semitic Carthage.76 Julius Caesar was a more problematic case, as he had maintained good relations with Rome’s Jewish community. All the same, argued La Difesa, Caesar remained “what we would call today the advocate of Roman racial primacy,” and if this was not evident in his written legacy it was because “in his time there was no definitive racial question, based on science.”77 Far from a philo-Semite, he had been “the only ruler who, without taking recourse to cruel persecution, knew how to make use of the Jews for what they were worth, without being enslaved to them for an instant.”78 Ancient authors were also conscripted into the racist cause. Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita was recast as an account of racial fusion and conquest that culminated in the Punic Wars, presented as “a national war, conducted by a homogenous racial group . . . against the imperialism of a group of artificially united peoples [that is, the Carthaginian Empire].”79 Tacitus had warned his contemporaries of the moral and demographic weakness of the empire, and his positive portrayal of the barbarian tribes in the Germania demonstrated the value of the purity of the blood and the need for racial homogeneity in the army.80 Horace’s patriotic poetry demonstrated “the desire to take a stand against those forces that tried to weaken Roman power from within and without.”81 La Difesa also racialized the Romans in its highly charged cover art, which often used classical bodies and monuments as metonymic representations of the Italian race. These images were often contrasted against more sinister “Oriental” or “Negroid” types. The journal’s first issue depicts a Roman sword separating a bust of Augustus from Jewish and African figures; the covers of other editions played on similar themes, for example juxtaposing classical statuary (built in white marble) with the nude bodies of African tribeswomen. Still, these attempts at retrospective racialization were not entirely convincing, and the problem remained: How was the inclusiveness of Roman civilization to be reconciled with ethnic exclusivism? La Difesa’s Giorgio Almirante rejected this premise, dismissing the “typically Jewish” notion that the Eternal City had been “the New York of ancient times—an immense crucible of civilizations, of rites, of races.”82 Universality was not to be confused with parasitic cosmopolitanism (Semitic, capitalist, bourgeois) or subversive internationalism (Semitic, Bolshevik, proletarian). Rome had not been—and, he proclaimed, never world be—a melting-pot or a synthesis of foreign influences. This was a distortion of foreign historiogra-



Figure 12. Front cover of La Difesa della Razza 3.4 (1939). Courtesy of the Wolfsonian–Florida International University.

phy, which had long persisted in conflating Rome’s civilizing mission with “a kind of flaccid internationalism.”83 Nevertheless, universality did have the potential to facilitate miscegenation, racial degeneration, and ultimately collapse—topics that had been glossed, avoided, or denied in most narratives of romanità. Either the church was posited as the successor to pagan Rome, or the timelessness of the Roman spirit meant that, for all intents and

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purposes, the fall had never really occurred. Of course, the connection between imperialism and decline had been a common historiographical trope from Tacitus to Edward Gibbon.84 Whether focusing on moral decay engendered by the bounty of the provinces, military overextension and the use of foreign mercenaries, or the adoption of foreign creeds like Christianity, the glory of empire was inexorably bound up with the threats of corruption from within and invasion from without. The fall of Rome therefore became a major preoccupation after the “racial turn.” For many theorists, its main cause was the demographic and moral deterioration of the native race. The rise of large agricultural estates, bought with foreign wealth and governed by absentee landlords, led to the progressive abandonment of the “healthy rural lifestyle” of Rome’s virtuous forefathers, which in turn resulted in “the relaxation of customs, growing sterility [and] the gradual extinction of the ruling classes.”85 Foreign slaves—a “source of racial and moral degeneration”—began to till the fields, instead of the hardy warrior-farmer, the “Cincinnatus-type.”86 Rome’s elites retired from public service, “preferring to enjoy the selfish pleasures of the senses and the spirit in the isolation of their urban palaces or their rustic villas, bestowed upon them by their forefathers with the point of a sword.”87 In the city, the swollen ranks of the urban plebs embraced a variety of imported Oriental cults that caused many to abandon the martial virtues of their ancestors. Conquest caused the exportation of manpower through warfare and colonization, depleting the stocks of Italy’s original races and forcing a dependence on foreign mercenaries. In an echo of the regime’s “Battle for Births,” many emphasized ancient Rome’s declining birthrate, caused by the abandonment of the countryside and the increasing use of birth control. These various elements ultimately converged to deal a fatal blow to the empire, which had become an “organism . . . deprived of the power of internal cohesion, which was the only thing that could ensure its continuity and development.”88 A related aspect of racial degeneration was the declining quality of Roman rulers and their diminishing capacity to maintain control. La Difesa della Razza believed that this process had begun as early as the reign of Vespasian (AD 69–79), who exempted Italians from compulsory military service, thereby alienating them from traditional Roman virtues and filling the army’s ranks with foreigners. Marcus Aurelius (AD 161–180) had been “of an Italic family but drunk on Hellenism” and granted citizenship to many provincials, while Septimius Severus (AD 193–211) was born in Africa, “barely able to speak Latin,” and flooded the imperial bureaucracy with barbarian courtiers.89 The “logical conclusion” of this downward trajectory was the reign of his son, the “semi-barbarian” emperor Caracalla (AD 211–217). Not only



had Caracalla been of dubious ethnic origin—“African by race and Celtic by custom, he was in no way a Roman emperor and cannot be considered as such”—but he opened the floodgates of racial corruption with his Edict of AD 212 extending Roman citizenship to all free men of the empire.90 As a result, Rome was transformed from an imperial metropole into “a crucible in which all peoples could intermix with impunity; and in so doing [Caracalla] accelerated the ruin of ancient civilization, which was the civilization of the Italic race.”91 The Edict of Caracalla was therefore an extreme expression of the tensions inherent in Rome’s universal mission, between inclusion and exclusion, syncretism and purity. With the expansion of citizenship, Italy’s privileged position within the empire was lost and the imperial center of gravity shifted away from the metropole to the provinces, accelerating the dissolution of the western empire. At the same time that wealth was undermining traditional values and causing racial decay from within, Rome was also being infiltrated by hostile external forces. Again, the assimilatory nature of the imperial mission was to blame. Roman power, argued Pietro De Francisci, depended on a constant expansion of the state, a political conception “designed to have an ever larger mass of men participating in the life of the civitas, to discipline them within its structures, and to instill in them an understanding of the function and mission of the Roman state.”92 While this expansion was initially beneficial, it ultimately led to crisis as existing institutions and beliefs were forced to adapt to foreign influences. In the end, as with any aging organism, Rome lost the capacity to assimilate beneficial influences and repel harmful ones. The increasingly multiethnic nature of the empire extinguished patriotic sentiment, so that when “Rome became identical with the world, it no longer had a Fatherland.”93 The most insidious presence in the empire was invariably the Semites. La Difesa della Razza claimed that the conflict between Aryans and Semites went back to Rome’s legendary origins: the doomed romance between the Trojan Aeneas and the Phoenician Dido, described in the Aeneid, had laid the foundations for an eternal antagonism. As this reference suggests, anti-Semitic discourse frequently elided a number of groups, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians.94 Since the Carthaginians—a plutocratic naval empire that contested Rome’s Mare Nostrum—were already identified with contemporary Great Britain, it followed that the Anglo-Italian conflict during the Second World War would be cast as a new Punic war.95 Even more dangerous than the Phoenician threat was the menace of Judaism. Scholars recast the history of Roman-Jewish relations as an eternal struggle between forces of order and disintegration, beginning with the conquest of

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Judaea in the first century AD. The many revolts in the province were taken as evidence that the Jews were by nature a rebellious people, from the Zealots of ancient Masada to the Bolsheviks of modern Russia.96 Titus’s destruction of the Second Temple, while a great military triumph, only exacerbated this tendency since it dispersed an already rootless and “most antisocial people” throughout the empire.97 The Jews also had the pernicious capacity to infiltrate and undermine Rome from within.98 They were particularly adept at seducing Rome’s female population, bringing emperors’ wives under their sway and penetrating the inner recesses of power.99 The historical struggle between Rome and Judaea was not only a matter of imperial politics but a clash of civilizations. Giorgio Almirante believed that the Romans’ “deep-seated aversion” to the Jews resided in the fundamentally different way that the two races conceived of the state: There was an irremediable conflict between the Roman, devoted to the idea of the State and inclined to have the interests of the collectivity prevail over the interests of the individual, and the multitude of Jews who flowed into the richest centers of the Empire, exploiting every occasion to conquer privileges and riches and supporting each other in turn, in order to elude the severe discipline of the State.100 If the distinguishing features of the Roman state were permanence, solidity, and unity, its polar opposite was a diasporic people predisposed to nomadism and commerce. The spirit of the two civilizations could similarly be distinguished by comparing their architectural forms. While Rome’s major monuments were all public buildings like baths, basilicas, and amphitheaters, the complex layout of the Temple of Jerusalem—that “formidable, labyrinthine and obscure seat of Judaism”—embodied the mysticism and secrecy of the Jews.101 Roman architecture was dominated by arches, colonnades, and domes—open, soaring spaces that inspired—while the Temple of Jerusalem was enclosed by walls, fences, and roofs in order to hide its sinister plots. The eternal conflict between Jerusalem and Rome was one between barbarism and civilization, darkness and light, “the inhabitants of the tent” and “the builders of stone and brick.”102 Recasting Roman history in an anti-Semitic light also reignited the controversy over the origins of Christianity and the role of the church in the development of romanità. As articulated by the ISR and others, the conventional narrative posited a seamless transition from the pagan empire to the consolidation of the church, and the precondition for the dissemination of Christianity had been the diversity of the Roman population—including Jews, Christ’s first followers. What did it mean to Roma sacra if the latter



were now recast as eternal antagonists? Many commentators reiterated the arguments originally advanced by Mussolini and other anticlerical Fascists in the 1920s. The influential anti-Semitic journalist Paolo Orano, for example, argued that the true birthplace of Christianity had been Rome and not Palestine.103 Jesus was not a Semite, since the Immaculate Conception severed all genetic ties with Judaism. Trapped by a “restricted racial mentality and enraged nationalism,” the Jews had remained deaf and blind to the arrival of the Messiah.104 Christianity remained an obscure sect until the arrival of the apostle Paul in the Eternal City, whereby “the ecstasy, the joy and revelation, the faith [were] Roman from the first.”105 A related approach drew a distinction between the Judaic radicalism of early Christianity and the moderation of the established Roman Catholic Church. One anti-Semitic Catholic claimed that while Christ’s original followers were Israelites, they had only seen him as a revolutionary against Roman rule; only Gentiles recognized the true importance of the Messiah, making them the first genuine Christians.106 The new faith would have gone the way of other Oriental imports like the cults of Mithra and Isis had it not been for Romanization. Others contrasted the “reformist” spirit of Christianity with the Jews’ unyielding attachment to “Talmudic traditionalism.”107 While Christianity and Greco-Roman paganism quickly reconciled under the shared values of “harmony, serenity, calm, force and grace,” Judaism remained mired in “religious intransigence,” unwilling to adapt itself to the “new civilization born of Christ’s Cross.”108 As these discussions suggest, divergent and even contradictory tendencies were ascribed to the Jews. On the one hand, they were rebellious and rootless; on the other, they were so bound to tradition and ethnic exclusivism that they ostracized themselves from other peoples of the empire. In some instances, they represented the destructive forces of modernity (whether capitalist or Bolshevik), hostile to the fundamental values of the race. In others, they symbolized backwardness and mysticism. While such inconsistencies suggest that Fascism failed to make a convincing historical argument for anti-Semitism, they also demonstrate the opportunism and callousness of the regime’s cultural producers in eagerly accommodating this new ideological directive.

Legionaries and Barbarians: Fascist Romanità and Nazi Germanentum If Jews represented the threat of subversion, what was to be made of the more direct and powerful challenge to Roman authority—namely the Germanic tribes that overwhelmed and ultimately destroyed the western empire? This

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question carried important implications for Italy’s relationship with its new German partner, and challenged an easy concordance between Fascist and National Socialist racial theories.109 In many ways, the two traditions appeared diametrically opposed. Fascist romanità had always emphasized the achievements of civiltà (civilization), rationality and technology. It celebrated the disciplinary power of the state, the subjugation of the individual to the collective, and an assimilatory conception of empire. By contrast, with its roots in romanticism, Nazi Völkisch mythology exalted the purity and primitivism of Kultur over the corruption and sterility of Zivilisation and the heroic individual over the slavish masses. The Dauerwald (Eternal Forest), not the imperial metropolis, was the home of the Germanic race.110 Blood and soil were the key Nazi metaphors, not bridges and aqueducts. The cult of Germanentum was permeated with anti-Roman sentiment, combining northern Protestant hostility toward the Catholic south, the hatred of “Latin” France, and a nativist rejection of foreign influence. When looking to classical antiquity, German intellectuals had long championed the purity and authenticity of Hellenic culture over the corruption and artifice of Rome.111 Following the Nazi seizure of power, Urgeschichte (pre- and proto-history) and the study of ancient Greece were promoted at the expense of Roman archaeology and historiography, tainted by its Catholic, liberal, and Jewish associations.112 Romanità also had the potential to undermine Nazi claims of racial superiority. For those less enamored with Völkisch culture—like Hitler himself—the comparison between Roman and German antiquity was less flattering to the northerners. As the Führer reportedly told Albert Speer, It’s bad enough that the Romans were erecting great buildings when our forefathers were still living in mud huts. . . . All we prove is that we were still throwing stone hatchets and crouching around open fires when Greece and Rome had already reached the highest stage of culture. We really should do our best to keep quiet about this past. . . . The present-day Romans must be having a laugh at these revelations.113 In attempting to project the new Axis relationship into the past and reconcile these two worldviews, theorists were therefore faced with a history more of conflict than cooperation. As recounted in Tacitus’s Germania, the initial encounter between Roman legions and barbarian tribes laid the foundation for a centuries-long confrontation between Latin imperial authority and Teutonic vigor. Centuries later, the barbarian invasions hastened the fall of the empire and inaugurated centuries of foreign rule and division of the Italian peninsula. How could the Fascist cult of Rome be reconciled with Nazism’s celebration of those “invaders [who] roved about our lands, pitiless



towards men and things, in their rage destroying the monuments of romanità and Christianity”?114 Given these tensions, many Fascist commentators presented the ItaloGerman relationship in a framework that both acknowledged essential differences and emphasized common goals. One of the earliest efforts in this regard was Italia e Germania: Maggio XVI, a collection of essays marking Hitler’s visit to Rome in May 1938. The volume’s editor and the director of the regime’s press office, Gherardo Casini, cast relations between the two cultures as a productive dialectic across the centuries. Gothic architecture had flourished on Italian soil, while the Italian Renaissance inspired the development of German science and philosophy. The journalist Alessandro Pavolini, echoing Joseph Goebbels’s claim that Mussolini exemplified “Prussian” virtues, argued that Hitler’s personality possessed “a real Latin accent. . . . The speed of some of his intuitive decisions, political realism, the close connection between political and artistic passion, the raging oratory, shouting and gesticulating, the great understanding of the importance of aesthetic values (and even of color) in political propaganda.”115 Another author minimized the historical antagonism between the two peoples. From Tacitus onward, he argued, Roman observers had always viewed the encroaching barbarians with considerable sympathy, even viewing them as a necessary antidote to their own civilization’s moral decay. Beyond the Alps and the Rhine, there lived a “race of men in whom new blood flowed . . . just as in springtime sap runs in the trunks of young trees. . . . Rome was perfectly conscious that its destiny, and the future of the Empire, and the history of the world, were tied to the way in which they managed to contain, assimilate or attract the Germans.”116 For their part, the Germans recognized that future progress lay not in constant military struggle but in the assumption of imperial authority; thus the “so-called ‘barbarian invasions’” were in fact “a great, violent attempt to appropriate by force some of the dignity of the Empire and Roman political wisdom.”117 The historical relationship between romanità and Germanentum was a “subtle and complex process of comprehensive, attraction, reciprocal admiration,” extended into the present by Hitler and Mussolini.118 This explanation was later elaborated by Giuseppe Bottai, who as minister of national education had been responsible for the promulgation of the Racial Laws in Italian schools. For Bottai, the relationship between Rome and Germany had always been “at the same time a connection and a conflict . . . it is precisely their ‘complementarity’ that brings them into an antagonistic relationship, and their antagonism that integrates them complementarily.”119 This process began with the encounter between legionaries and barbarians at the fringes of the empire. Given the disparity in cultural development

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between the two peoples, it was inevitable that the primitive Germans were attracted to the brilliant light of Roman civilization. At first, they sought to imitate Roman culture; with its decline, they increasingly saw themselves as the rightful inheritors of the imperial mantle. This tendency repeated itself over the centuries: the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the national unification movements of the nineteenth century had all been expressions of the “the constant attempt by the Germans to take Rome’s place, one might say to become Rome themselves, working in all sectors of civil life to appropriate the values [of Rome] and attacking whatever was left of Rome in Italy as not really Italian but belonging to their history.”120 Even the present rapprochement between the two regimes was based on complementarity rather than similarity. This analysis provided a framework for other historical accounts of the Italo-German relationship. For the literary scholar Jolanda De Blasi, “Romans and Germans do not love each other without hating each other, and do not hate each other without loving each other,” and were governed by a “contradictory force of attraction and repulsion, which destroys and regenerates, attacks and penetrates, disassembles and transforms.”121 Another former minister of national education and ISR contributor, Balbino Giuliano, contrasted the Latin devotion to the law, its “holy fear of the disorder that follows its violation” and its unshakeable “sense of earthly reality,” with the German soul, which celebrated the power of the individual, the struggle against constraining institutional forces, and the transcendence of the material world.122 The archetypical Roman hero was Aeneas, a pious son and father guided by a sense of public duty and obedience to the gods; the heroes of Germanic mythology, like those of Homeric epics, were motivated by individual glory on the battlefield. Roman architecture was governed by “clear and harmonic natural form,” while Gothic architecture gave “the impression of trying to negotiate with reality and bend its every line.”123 Notwithstanding these attempts to reconcile romanità and Germanentum, the historical conflict between Romans and Germans still posed problems for Italian racial theorists studying the demographic, political, and cultural impact of the barbarian invasions. Did the Germanic tribes leave a genetic and cultural imprint during their occupation of the peninsula, and if so, did this entail that modern Italians were more Goth or Lombard than Roman? Did the conquerors extinguish the flame of romanità—something that had always been denied by propagandists—or inherit it? Unsurprisingly, Nazi scholars cast the invasions as an injection of vital energies and new blood into a moribund civilization. The historian Ernst Gamillscheg, for example, claimed that the fusion of Germanic and Roman blood resulted in “an



increase in energy, force, the spirit of initiative. . . . That which the invasion destroyed was rebuilt in the long run, but the reinvigoration, caused by the influx of blood and unspent force on the part of the invaders, was lasting.”124 The enduring influence of this influx was clear in the survival of Germanic linguistic forms, place names, and cultural practices across Italy. Italian theorists, on the other hand, insisted that despite the barbarian destruction of Rome as a political entity, its ethnic and cultural foundations remained impervious to foreign influence.125 Many scholars suggested that there had been too few Goths and Lombards to make a meaningful impact on the native population; the primitivism of the barbarians also made them incapable of altering Rome’s superior civilization. The Germanic tribes had been motivated only by rape and pillage, and felt little impulse to establish lasting political or social institutions. Unlike the Romans, they lacked “the will . . . to communicate their essence to their subjects, their language, their civilization, their ‘soul.’”126 After they took possession of the Po Valley, the Gothic overlords—who lived for battle and pillaging—showed little capacity for the sedentary agrarian life, introduced no innovations of their own, and preferred to exact tribute from their tenants. Instead of adopting Roman Catholicism, many invaders persisted in either shamanism or heretical Arianism, causing yet another division between them and their new subjects. The Goths’ dominion in Italy had been short-lived, but even the Lombards, who had arrived in much greater numbers and ruled over parts of Italy for up to six hundred years, had left behind little more than “a few institutions of public and private law, a few place and personal names, a few hundred words in Romance languages . . . no new social order nor religious beliefs, moral concepts, forms of art or culture.”127 Lombard rule lacked all creative impulse and succeeded only in eradicating the last vestiges of Roman civilization through destructive violence. There were therefore no traces of Germanic culture in post-Roman Italy, and all foreign elements had quickly been absorbed into the local population. A more conciliatory approach—typically pursued by theorists more sympathetic to National Socialism—was to emphasize the supposed racial and spiritual ties between Italians and Germans. In one analysis, the occult philosopher Massimo Scaligero (a follower of the anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner and later an important promoter of Eastern mysticism and yoga in Italy) claimed that the Germanic impact on the local population had been harmonious, not a matter of contamination or regression. Furthermore, the invasions had brought the additional benefit of “combating and neutralizing the invasion of the Semitic ethnic element in the Italian peninsula.”128 Far from polluting the blood, they served to purify existing strains and help

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constitute a new type of Italian race out of the “Nordic-Roman racial element, woken for a new life, for its perennial ‘Olympian’ mission.”129 The encounter between romanità and Germanentum provided Italian Fascists with the means both to accommodate and distinguish themselves from National Socialism, particularly in the cultural sphere.130 Whether invoking Italy’s rich history and artistic patrimony, its more receptive attitude toward modern aesthetics, or its supposedly “enlightened” stance on race, the Fascist claim to civilizational and cultural primacy remained a mainstay of ItaloGerman relations until the demise of both regimes. The common thread throughout remained the Italian insistence on the superiority and originality of Latin civilization, as well as defensiveness over the ascendancy of Germanic civilization in the Middle Ages.

Africans in Rome: Defiance and Defeat Just as ideological shifts within late Fascism reshaped the dominant discourse of romanità, so too did the outbreak of the Second World War mark a transition for its institutions. On the one hand, the war intensified the state’s efforts at propagandistic mobilization; the ISR, for example, saw its subsidy from the Ministry of Popular Culture (MinCulPop) nearly double between 1939 and 1942.131 However, few major projects were completed in this period due to austerity measures. In 1942, for example, MinCulPop rejected the ISR’s ambitious proposal for a two-hundred-volume Enciclopedia Romana on the grounds that all nonessential expenses had to be curtailed.132 No large-scale excavations were undertaken after the Augustan bimillenary, bringing an end to the era of sventramenti begun in the late twenties. Indeed, in many instances the city’s ancient monuments—which only a few years earlier had been “liberated” in order to inspire and discipline the future generations of the new Italy—were quickly reburied under sandbags and scaffolding in anticipation of aerial bombardment. The institutional story of “late” romanità is thus one of limited resources and frustrated grand visions, not of great accomplishments. The most dramatic caesura was undoubtedly Mussolini’s removal from power and the collapse of the regime in July 1943, precipitated by the Allied invasion of Sicily. With the flight of the Badoglio government to the South, German troops occupied the capital in September before retreating ahead of the Allied advance the following year. On June 4, 1944, Anglo-American troops entered the Eternal City—the first army to conquer Rome from the south since the Byzantines in AD 536. In his memoirs from this period, Benito Mussolini cast his gaze on Rome and reflected on the ruins of his “New Italy”:



Italy was an Empire, today she is not even a State. Her flag flew from Tripoli to Mogadishu, from Bastia to Rhodes and Tirana; today it has been hauled down everywhere. Enemy flags are flying over our home territory. Italians used to be in Addis Ababa; today, Africans bivouac in Rome. . . . History possesses its debit and credit side or, if you like, active and passive voice. It is only right that every Italian should be proud of belonging to the soil whence sprang such men as Caesar, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci and Napoleon; a ray of light from these stars reflects on every Italian. But the same holds good for shame and dishonor; an element of these reflects on each and every one of us. There is only one way to redeem our disgrace, to re-establish the equilibrium, and that is by the sternest of all ordeals—the ordeal of blood.133 Written in his redoubt in the northern Italian Social Republic (RSI, or Republic of Salò), this passage reflects both the Duce’s disillusionment at the failure of the Fascist project and his unceasing disappointment in the incapacity of the Italian people to reclaim the mantle bestowed upon them by history.134 Strikingly, romanità was not a major element in RSI propaganda, which mainly employed anti-Allied imagery, racism, themes of sacrifice and duty, and pro-German sentiment.135 In part, this reflected the desire to return to the radicalism of Fascism’s early days; Rome was also the site of Mussolini’s defeat and his betrayal by the king and his supporters. When the ancient past did appear in RSI materials, it was presented as heritage under siege, to be defended against the enemy onslaught. According to one Salò pamphlet, the (minimal) bombardment of Rome by Allied forces revealed their enemies to be the twentieth-century reincarnation of Vandals and Huns: “Nothing stopped the Anglo-Americans, not the sacred character of the cradle of Catholicism, nor the city’s historical significance. That which should represent the beacon of a millennial light for European civilization has no significance for the Anglo-Saxons. . . . Every one of its stones is a wound in the heart of every Italian.”136 Another recurring motif—echoing Mussolini’s apocalyptic image of African troops camping in Rome—was the juxtaposition of simian African American soldiers with classical statuary, showing the invaders’ contempt for Latin culture. As ever, Rome’s condition stood metonymically for Italy’s as a whole. In 1919, the city had been a parasitic city of shoe-shine boys and prostitutes, a weak capital for a weak Liberal state. With the Blackshirt revolution of 1922, it was liberated from this detritus and remade into the dynamic, modern capital of the resurgent nation. This act of reclamation continued in the

Figure 13. “How they want us to be.” Propaganda leaflet from the Italian Social Republic. Courtesy of the Wolfsonian–Florida International University.



regime’s latter years, with colonial conquest in Africa and territorial expansion in Europe during the Second World War. With the adoption of racial ideology, it even appeared that romanità would be incorporated into a new, essentialist conception of Italianness. With the fall of Fascism, however, the Eternal City symbolized betrayal, loss, and the innate failures of the Italian race to fulfill its appointed historical mission. The fate of romanità was ultimately the same as the regime’s, and it would be decades before the Eternal City would reemerge from the depths of defeat.


In the August 1943 edition of Roma, the Istituto di Studi Romani responded to recent dramatic events.1 The Allies had landed in Sicily in early July, and soon thereafter Mussolini was deposed and the Fascist regime dissolved. To Carlo Galassi Paluzzi, the Duce’s downfall was due to his failure to live up to romanità: How many times have the words “Rome” and “romanità” been invoked in proclamations, speeches, announcements, articles, notes, columns and footnotes (not to mention books, plays, even films)? How many times have these two words been pronounced, invoked and employed as an opening salvo or a final peroration? . . . [We] have often tried to warn in our writings, and document with facts, of the risk of falling into anti-historical rhetoric by invoking the idea of Rome and speaking of romanità, without fully realizing the value that these two words can and should still bear.2 Galassi Paluzzi’s attempt to distance the ISR from Fascism demonstrates the bind in which its members suddenly found themselves. The stain of collaboration now marked an entire generation of Italian classicists, archaeologists, and ancient historians. For many, the response was a return to the conservative political milieu whence they had originally come, and in particular to traditional Catholicism and monarchism. Galassi Paluzzi argued that the 151



only way forward—for Rome and for Italy—was to close ranks around the king and the pope, and pray for the nation’s salvation. The essence of romanità lay no longer in its revolutionary potential but in “the reverence due to the Throne and the Altar, the exercise of Liberty severely coordinated and subordinated to the supreme exigencies of Authority.”3 The reassertion of Rome’s Catholic character was facilitated by the prominence of Pope Pius XII during the latter stages of the war. As Mussolini’s regime fell apart, the pontiff emerged as a new defensor urbis (defender of the city), protecting Rome against the threat of aerial bombardment and later providing a moral center when it was declared an open city.4 The demise of Fascism and the restored primacy of Roma sacra also forced a reconsideration of romanità. As we have seen, the regime had posited the church largely as a conduit between the eternal values of antiquity and their reassertion in the modern world; after 1943, however, Catholic Rome became the final realization of the Roman spirit. There would be no “Third Rome.”5 This fact was acknowledged even by Giulio Quirino Giglioli, arguably the scholar with the closest ties to Mussolini’s regime. In a contribution to the 1953 volume Roma nobilis (tellingly, edited by Monsignor Igino Cecchetti, a leading figure in the Vatican’s seminary administration), he maintained that there were only two strains of romanità, deriving from classical antiquity and the Holy See. The task of classical studies was no longer to find premonitions or anticipations of modernity, or even to celebrate the glories of the ancients, but “to examine what might have been the virtues of the Latin people before Grace illuminated them, in order to make them worthy of this gift.”6 The monuments of ancient Rome were reinterpreted to emphasize the providential function of the empire. For example, the Ara Pacis—central to the Piazzale Augusto Imperatore, one of the regime’s most ambitious projects—was transformed from a symbol of pagan empire to an expression of the Pax Romana that permitted the birth of Christ, “a most fragile and exquisite monument . . . conserved thanks to a genuine intervention of Divine Providence.”7 With the fall of Fascism, then, Roma sacra definitively triumphed over Roma capitale and Roma Mussolinea. Perhaps because so many scholars quickly turned to conservative Catholicism, the de-Fascistization of their ranks was minimal.8 With the Allied occupation of Rome in 1944, Carlo Galassi Paluzzi resigned as director of the ISR and was replaced by the Christian Democrat and anti-Fascist partisan Quinto Tossati. In his 1947 report to the Ministry of Public Instruction, Tossati wrote that “once all the rhetorical and propagandistic layers of the old regime (in which the Institute was very much conspicuous) have been stripped away,” the ISR would remain a worthy and productive contributor to the



field of classical studies.9 Tosatti’s efforts at “stripping away” the Fascist legacy were minimal; by 1951, the institute’s directing committee still included the likes of Antonio Maria Colini (second-in-command at the Mostra Augustea della Romanità and the director of several excavations in the twenties and thirties) and Carlo Cecchelli, the author of several anti-Semitic tracts during the regime’s latter years. The ISR continued its program of publication and courses throughout the hardships of the early postwar years, though its focus shifted markedly from imperial Rome to the papal era.10 Its new outlook was evident in Tossati’s speech inaugurating the 1944–45 academic year. While acknowledging that the “rhetorical infatuations and imperial exaltations” of the Fascist years had justifiably turned many Italians against the institute and classical studies, he argued that it would be “in poor taste and ungenerous” to reject the discipline altogether. It was essential that scholars undertake a rigorous examination of their consciences, and always remember that “we are not Romans, but Italians; not pagans, but Christians; that we live in a city and not in an Urbs, just as we wear shoes and jackets, not sandals and togas, which might be less solemn but which are certainly more practical.”11 Instead of “wringing the neck of the Roman eagles,” he preferred “to embalm them.”12 Instead of excavating modernity, of actively intervening to bring the past into the present, the ISR would now reestablish temporal distance and re-historicize romanità. While the institute would never regain its former prominence, it remains active today with a few cosmetic changes: it has been renamed the Istituto Nazionale di Studi Romani, and the title of its journal Roma has been changed to Studi Romani—seemingly to confer a more “official” and technical tone. The Mostra Augustea della Romanità underwent a similar trajectory. Giulio Quirino Giglioli was briefly exiled to southern Italy and stripped of his teaching post at the University of Rome, but was reinstated soon thereafter. He founded the journal Archeologia Classica in 1948 and died in 1956. His most lasting legacy remains the exhibition he created. During the Fascist period, the Mostra Augustea had been slated to become a permanent museum in the EUR district. The project was shelved during the war, but was revived in 1950 under the aegis of Fiat. The new institution was envisioned as a “grand Museum of Latin Civilization, in which Italy would be able to see its original contribution to world civilization fully synthesized, and in which the world could rediscover the origins of so many elements of its culture, and recognize its ties with Rome.”13 Renamed the Museo della Civiltà Romana (Museum of Roman Civilization), it was inaugurated in 1952 and completed in 1955 under the direction of Antonio Maria Colini. Although the installations were to some extent expanded and reorganized, the overall format



and tone of the museum hardly departed from the Fascist-era exhibition. There were some attempts to erase the most explicit reminders of its earlier incarnation—the historical rooms no longer culminated in Fascist Italy, and the ubiquitous quotations from Mussolini were gone—but the museum still preserved the basic itinerary of its predecessor. The objects on display were more or less identical, and even the museum’s catalog was little more than a reprint of the catalog of the Mostra Augustea with the most glaringly Fascist phrases excised.14 As the American Journal of Archaeology noted approvingly, “The parts having a temporary or propaganda character, according to the political climate, have disappeared; all the material has been arranged according to more logical, rigorous criteria.”15 Whereas the Mostra Augustea had depicted the Roman world as a disciplined, martial state, Colini preferred to emphasize the artifacts’ ability to evoke the humble details of daily life. While claims to scientificity and didacticism had once been inextricably linked to the “ideological” mission of the exhibition, they now guaranteed objectivity and distanced the museum from its precursor. The Museum of Roman Civilization remains in operation today, providing both an interesting lesson in Roman history and a telling reminder of Italy’s reluctance to come to terms with its Fascist past. The most visible vestige of interwar romanità, of course, is Rome itself. The deep incisions inflicted on the city—Via dell’Impero and Via del Mare (renamed respectively Via dei Fori Imperiali and Via del Teatro di Marcello), Piazzale Augusto Imperatore, and elsewhere—remain, as do the ancient structures they were meant to “liberate.” Indeed, one could argue that the “eternality” of the “Eternal City” today is largely the product of Fascism’s desire to excavate modernity. To countless visitors, and even many locals, Rome’s historic sites have “always” been there, a feeling reinforced by the immediate presence of the distant past; few of them recognize that this experience is largely the result of interventions less than a century old. Furthermore, the regime’s efforts at carving out “breathing space” have proved to be not entirely healthful: as automobile use skyrocketed in Italy in the 1950s, car exhaust began to corrode many monuments. As a result, archaeologists—once meant to see themselves as aggressive surgeons—now approach their task more as embalmers, as preservationists charged with protecting endangered heritage. The early records of the postwar Office for the Conservation of Monuments demonstrate new preoccupations: gaudy billboards and neon advertisements compromising the dignity of historical sites;16 the effects of subway construction on the historical substratum;17 and the safety hazards posed by crumbling ruins.18 Modernity was no longer something to be imposed on Rome, but something to be contained and constrained. After



the Fascist experiment of “de-museumifying” the Eternal City, efforts have turned to “museumifying” it once more. Much of the regime’s new construction remains as well. In many instances, buildings have simply been put to new use: the Foro Italico (né Mussolini) and EUR hosted the Rome Olympics of 1960, while the headquarters of the Fascist Party now houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Beyond a few cosmetic changes, very little has been done to erase the reminders of the Ventennio or dramatically revise the regime’s urban planning. For the Jubilee Year of 2000, tracts of the Via dei Fori Imperiali were altered to expose portions of the imperial fora paved over in the thirties. Piazzale Augusto Imperatore remains a controversial site. In the early 1990s, Rome’s center-left civic government planned a major renovation, and in 1996 commissioned the American architect Richard Meier to redesign the area surrounding the mausoleum and the Ara Pacis.19 In 2001, however, Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition came to power; as a concession to his neo-Fascist government partners, Berlusconi halted the project and went a step further by restoring many of the Fascist icons that had decorated the surrounding buildings. Meier’s design was buried under scaffolding for several years and was only unveiled in April 2006. At one point, the inauguration ceremonies were disrupted by a group of far-right skinheads; to them, the dismantling of the interwar buildings entailed a repudiation of the regime’s aesthetic legacy. As this episode suggests, to some constituencies the residue of “Mussolini’s Rome” remains highly potent—either as a problematic past to erase or as a heritage to embrace.20 Beyond these institutional and infrastructural continuities, arguably the most enduring legacy of romanità stems from the failure of the Fascist project. As we have seen, the regime’s appropriation of classical antiquity was preceded by a centuries-long tradition, stretching from Charlemagne to Robespierre to Mazzini, which looked to Rome as a source of political, aesthetic, and historical legitimation. Fascism’s revolutionary attempt to excavate Roman modernity represents not so much the culmination of this trajectory as its bankrupting. Since the Second World War, classicism has invariably been equated with the excesses of totalitarianism, militarism, and imperialism. This line of critique began as early as Mussolini’s fall from power in 1943. The Ottawa Citizen rejoiced in the demise of the “half-baked spaghetti Caesar”;21 Life recalled that the dictator had used “a bread-and-circus technique, complete with soldiers, slogans, games, flags, tanks—and a conspicuous stage for the Duce . . . [a] clown . . . trying to become a Caesar.”22 The New York Times wrote that the defeat of Fascism was a “story of the decline and fall of the New Roman Empire—an empire that had no reality either in the will of a nation or in the conditions of the modern world.”23 Such responses



laid the foundation for a cartoonish understanding of Mussolini and Fascism that persists to this day in the Anglophone world. In Italy, the discrediting of romanità prompted deeper introspection and a return to the anti-Roman rhetoric of the pre-Fascist period. Postwar commentators like the humorist Giovanni Mosca argued that Rome had provided the regime with the ideal setting for its imperial theatrics: On the wondrous stage of Rome, with the Colosseum as backdrop and the densest forest of arches, columns and towers on the wings, all supporting actors disappear, and a lead actor is required, a screaming tenor. In Rome, every balcony is history, every road bears imprints of famous footsteps, every building still echoes with illustrious voices, the piazzas are too vast to allow sober and humble speeches; one either yells and gesticulates or runs the risk of not being noticed. The tradition of Rome is completely theatrical, made of large gestures and wide rolls of the toga.24 If Italians had suffered a collective delusion or been seduced by Mussolinian theatrics, the symbols and sites of the Eternal City were to blame, despite Fascism’s northern origins. Mosca believed that the love of authoritarianism represented a congenital flaw in the Roman character. Since Romulus, Romans had been “admirers of force. . . . They need to be taken up by a steel-fisted government that gives them, in exchange for the liberty that . . . they do not need, wine festivals, chariot races and Aida. . . . The new men of democracy, with their meek and modest appearance, make them laugh.”25 The capital was thus a “glorious ball” chained to the leg of Italy, a “national tomb” for the “cadavers of empires, kingdoms, republics, communes, statues and revolutions.”26 Mosca’s solution—reminiscent of Marinetti’s proposal, decades earlier, to wall off monuments in order to save Italy from the “cholera” of historical memories—was to prohibit the nation’s youth from visiting Rome’s ancient sites and “surround these monuments with high fences, with large signs bearing the phrase ‘Danger Zone.’”27 In this way, Italians would not be seduced by a grandeur that they could never equal. The postwar rejection of romanità brings this work full circle. The humiliation of Mussolini and Fascism, and indeed of the Italian nation, led many to conclude that Rome was a vacuous, atavistic, and dangerous myth, never to be revived. This sentiment was subsequently enshrined in decades of historical scholarship and popular memory of Fascism. In trying to problematize this characterization, and provide a more nuanced reading of romanità, my purpose has not been to valorize or justify its excesses; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The Fascist revolution left a profound imprint upon Rome—as place, tradition, idea—that has yet to be erased.

N otes


1. Benito Mussolini, Opera Omnia, ed. Edoardo Susmel and Duilio Susmel (Florence: La Fenice, 1951), vol. 27, 269. 2. Romanità (from the Latin romanitas) carries a broad range of meanings. Its main significance during the Fascist period, and its principal meaning in this study, is as a coherent set of moral, aesthetic, and political values transmitted from antiquity and manifested in the material, textual, and intellectual patrimony inherited from Rome. In other contexts, it takes on different resonances. It is used by many Catholics, for example, to stress the “Roman-ness” of the church, in contrast to foreign Protestantism. The romanità of particular places—e.g., Turin or London—refers to the ancient Roman origins or essential Roman character of those cities, without necessarily carrying a Fascist connotation. For the sake of variety, I employ “romanità,” “the idea of Rome,” “the discourse of Roman antiquity,” etc., interchangeably. 3. Used politically, fascio involves considerable semantic conflation. It references not only the Latin fasces but also the etymologically related Italian fascio, meaning “band,” “league,” or “group.” This term was used by many political associations on both the left and the right—for example, the Sicilian Fasci dei Lavoratori in the 1890s and the interventionist Fasci di Azione Rivoluzionaria in the years leading up to World War I. The original incarnation of the Fascist Party—the Fasci di Combattimento or “Combat League,” founded in 1919—harks back to this earlier political connotation, rather than to Roman antiquity. The definitive Fascist version of the fascio littorio was adopted in 1926. See Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi, Fascist Spectacle: The Aesthetics of Power in Mussolini’s Italy (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1997), 95–99. 4. Antonio Cederna, Mussolini urbanista. Lo sventramento di Roma negli anni di consenso (Rome: Laterza, 1981), ix, and Aldo Palazzeschi, Tre imperi . . . mancati (Florence: Vallechi Editore, 1945), 271. 5. For romanità as theater, see Maria Wyke, “Sawdust Caesar: Mussolini, Julius Caesar, and the Drama of Dictatorship,” in The Uses and Abuses of Antiquity, ed. Maria Wyke and Michael Biddiss (New York: Peter Lang, 1999), 167–86, and Luisa Quartermaine, “‘Slouching Towards Rome’: Mussolini’s Imperial Vision,” in Urban Society in Roman Italy, ed. T. J. Cornell and Kathryn Lomas (London: University College London Press, 1995), 203–16. The term “Sawdust Caesar” is frequently tinged with Anglo-Saxon condescension toward Italian and Mediterranean backwardness. For a discussion of such representations of Mussolini, see R. J. B. Bosworth, The Italian Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives in the Interpretation of Mussolini and Fascism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 58–61. 157


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6. Giuseppe Bottai, “Roma e fascismo,” Roma 15.10 (1937): 352. 7. Carlo Cecchelli, “Itinerario imperiale,” Capitolium 13.4 (1938): 168. 8. Quoted in Bosworth, Italian Dictatorship, 155. 9. Paolo Nalli, Roma carcinoma (Milan: Minuziano, 1945), 7–8, 11. 10. Bruno Zevi, The Modern Language of Architecture (New York: Da Capo, 1994), 17. 11. Benedetto Croce, Scritti e discorsi politici (1943–1947) (Bari: Laterza, 1973), 39. 12. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Fascist Modernities: Italy, 1922–1945 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001), 5. 13. Roger Griffin, Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 6. It is important to note that my argument, unlike Griffin’s, is confined to the Italian context. While I believe that there are important connections to draw between Fascism and Nazism (as well as other movements), the present work does not seek to make any broader claims about fascism as a generic ideology, and is historically specific in its examination of romanità. On Nazi Germany’s relationship to romanità, see chapter 5. 14. Emilio Gentile, The Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996) and Falasca-Zamponi, Fascist Spectacle. 15. Claudio Fogu, The Historic Imaginary: Politics of History in Fascist Italy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003), 11. 16. Significantly, Fogu omits romanità from his discussion of the Fascist “historic imaginary” and focuses exclusively on the regime’s commemoration of its own recent past; however, I believe that his argument can be extended to include the appropriation of Roman antiquity. 17. Mabel Berezin, Making the Fascist Self: The Political Culture of Interwar Italy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 149. 18. Mark Antliff, “Fascism, Modernism, and Modernity,” Art Bulletin 84, no. 1 (2002): 162. Antliff ’s argument in turn draws significantly on David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1991). 19. Marla Stone, The Patron State: Culture and Politics in Fascist Italy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998), 194. Elsewhere, Stone characterizes Rome as “an idea, an aesthetic and a location with infinite possibilities and identities”; see “A Flexible Rome: Fascism and the Cult of Romanità,” in Roman Presences: Receptions of Rome in European Culture, 1789–1945, ed. Catherine Edwards (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 220. 20. For this approach, see Luciano Canfora, “Classicismo e fascismo,” Quaderni di Storia 2, no. 3 (1976): 15–48; Romke Visser, “Pax Augustana and Pax Mussoliniana: The Fascist Cult of the Romanità and the Use of the Augustan Conceptions at the Piazza Augusto Imperatore in Rome,” in The Power of Imagery: Essays on Rome, Italy and Imagination, ed. Peter van Kessel (Rome: Apeiron, 1992), 109–30; Romke Visser, “Fascist Doctrine and the Cult of Romanità,” Journal of Contemporary History 27, no. 1 (1992): 5–22; and Philip Cannistraro, “Mussolini’s Cultural Revolution: Fascist or Nationalist?” Journal of Contemporary History 7, no. 3 (1972): 127–54. 21. Pier Giorgio Zunino, L’ideologia del fascismo: Miti, credenze e valori nella stabilizzazione del regime (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1985), 72. 22. For a more apologetic approach, see Vittorio Bracco, L’archeologia del regime (Rome: G. Volpe, 1983).

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23. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), 15. 24. My perspective in this regard has been shaped by works like Nadia Abu ElHaj, Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001); Suzanne L. Marchand, Down from Olympus: Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750–1970 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996); Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (Boston: Beacon Press, 1995); Michael Shanks and Christopher Tilley, Re-Constructing Archaeology: Theory and Practice (New York: Routledge, 1992); and Michael Herzfeld, Ours Once More: Folklore, Ideology, and the Making of Modern Greece (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982). 25. This is the impression one gets from Emilio Gentile, Fascismo di pietra (Rome: Laterza, 2007). 26. In this respect, this book shares much with Marla Stone’s work on artists and the regime; see Stone, Patron State. 1. The Third Rome and Its Discontents, 1848–1922

1. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 3, 190–91. 2. I have explored the strand of anti-Romanism in Italian political culture more fully elsewhere; see Joshua Arthurs, “The Eternal Parasite: Anti-Romanism in Italian Politics and Culture since 1870,” Annali d’Italianistica 28 (2010): 117–36. See also Filippo Mazzonis, “Un problema capitale,” in Stato dell’Italia, ed. Paul Ginsborg (Milan: Il Saggiatore, 1994), 108–14. On the historic opposition between Rome and Milan, see Francesco Bartolini, Rivali d’Italia: Roma e Milano dal settecento a oggi (Rome: Laterza, 2006). 3. For general surveys of the “myth of Rome” across the ages, see Andrea Giardina and André Vauchez, Il mito di Roma da Carlo Magno a Mussolini (Rome: Laterza, 2000); Catharine Edwards, ed., Roman Presences: Receptions of Rome in European Culture, 1789–1945 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999); and Peter Bondanella, The Eternal City: Roman Images in the Modern World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987). 4. On classicism and the American Revolution, see Eran Shalev, Rome Reborn on Western Shores: Historical Imagination and the Creation of the American Republic (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009) and Caroline Winterer, The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780–1910 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002). On the French Revolution, see Raymond Chevallier, La Révolution française et l’antiquité (Tours: Centre de recherches A. Piganiol, 1991) and Claude Mossé, L’Antiquité dans la Révolution française (Paris: Albin Michel, 1989). 5. Valérie Huet, “Napoleon I: A New Augustus?” in Roman Presences: Receptions of Rome in European Culture, 1789–1945, ed. Catherine Edwards (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 53–69. 6. On the French occupation of Rome, and its archaeological projects, see Catherine Brice, “La Roma dei ‘francesi’: Una modernizzazione imposta,” in Roma moderna, ed. Giorgio Ciucci (Rome: Laterza, 2002), 349–70; Ronald T. Ridley, The Eagle and the Spade: Archaeology in Rome during the Napoleonic Era (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992); and Susan Vandiver Nicassio, Imperial City: Rome, Romans and Napoleon, 1796–1815 (Welwyn Garden City, UK: Ravenhall Books, 2005).


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7. On the French revolutionary influence on the early Risorgimento, see Fernando Mazzocca, “L’iconografia della patria tra l’età delle riforme e l’Unità,” in Immagini della nazione nell’Italia del Risorgimento, ed. Alberto Maria Banti and Roberto Bizzocchi (Rome: Carocci, 2002), 89–111. On romanità, see Federico Chabod, Italian Foreign Policy: The Statecraft of the Founders, Giovanni Agnelli Foundation series in Italian history (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), 145–72, and Alberto Caracciolo, Roma capitale: Dal Risorgimento alla crisi dello stato liberale (Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1999), 52–58. It is important to point out that not all Risorgimento patriots embraced romanità. Those influenced by Romanticism often looked to the pre-Roman period as the genesis of a more authentic, rooted Italianness; conversely, federalists emphasized the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, which saw the emergence of powerful city-states and regions. 8. “Ai giovani d’Italia” (1859), in Giuseppe Mazzini, Scritti scelti di Giuseppe Mazzini, ed. Jessie White Mario (G. C. Sansoni, 1901), 264–65. 9. “Italia e Roma” (1860), in ibid., 296. 10. Ibid., 265. 11. Ibid. 12. “Roma o morte” was largely associated with Giuseppe Garibaldi; see Daniel Pick, Rome or Death: The Obsessions of General Garibaldi (London: Jonathan Cape, 2005). 13. Vincenzo Gioberti, Del primato morale e civile degli italiani (Capolago: Tipografia Elvetica, 1846), vol. 1, 61. 14. Ibid. 15. Camera dei deputati italiana, Discussioni intorno all’interpellanza del deputato Audinot al presidente del consiglio dei ministri sulla questione romana (Turin: E. Botta, 1861), 19. 16. In this respect, the function of Rome was very similar to that of Washington, DC (which, ironically, was modeled on an idealized classical Rome); see Kenneth R. Bowling and Ulrike Gerhard, “Siting Federal Capitals: The American and German Debates,” in Berlin-Washington, 1800–2000: Capital Cities, Cultural Representation, and National Identities, ed. Andreas W. Daum (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 31–49. 17. Camera dei deputati italiana, Discussioni intorno all’interpellanza del deputato Audinot al presidente del consiglio dei ministri sulla questione romana, 10. 18. On this debate, see Chabod, Italian Foreign Policy, 262–68. 19. Carlo Alfieri, L’Italia liberale: Ricordi considerazioni avvedimenti di politica e di morale (Florence: Le Monnier, 1872), 225. 20. Massimo d’Azeglio, Questioni urgenti (Florence: Barbera, 1861), 42. 21. Edmondo De Amicis, Impressioni di Roma (Florence: P. Faverio, 1870), 49–50. 22. Ugo Pesci, Come siamo entrati a Roma (Milan: Fratelli Treves, 1895), 148–49. 23. Indeed, it even appears that the celebrations of 1870 might have been contrived by the Italian authorities, masking a lack of enthusiasm among the local populace. See Dora Dumont, “The Nation as Seen from Below: Rome in 1870,” European Review of History: Revue Europeenne d’Histoire 15, no. 5 (2008): 479–96. 24. Reproduced in Giuseppe Bonfanti, Roma capitale e la questione romana (Brescia: Editrice La Scuola, 1977), 99.

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25. For surveys of the Liberal regime’s projects in the capital, see Mario Sanfilippo, La costruzione di una capitale: Roma 1870–1911 (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana, 1992) and Italo Insolera, Roma moderna: Un secolo di storia urbanistica 1870–1970 (Turin: Einaudi, 1993), 10–101. See also chapter 3. On demographic and urban expansion in the years following 1870, see Francesco Bartolini, “Condizioni di vita e identità sociali: Nascita di una metropoli,” in Roma capitale, ed. Vittorio Vidotto (Rome: Laterza, 2002), 3–36, and Anne-Marie Seronde Babonaux, Roma: Dalla città alla metropoli (Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1983), 37–89. 26. On the Liberal regime’s attempts to claim symbolic dominance over Rome’s urban space through the construction of new monuments, see Bruno Tobia, Una patria per gli italiani: Spazi, itinerari, monumenti nell’Italia unita (1870–1900) (Rome: Laterza, 1991) and David Atkinson, Denis Cosgrove, and Anna Notaro, “Empire in Modern Rome: Shaping and Remembering an Imperial City, 1870–1911,” in Imperial Cities: Landscape, Display and Identity, ed. Felix Driver and David Gilbert (Manchester, UK: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), 40–63. On the Vittoriano specifically, see chapter 3, as well as Catherine Brice, Monumentalité publique et politique à Rome: Le Vittoriano (Rome: École française de Rome, 1998) and Bruno Tobia, L’altare della patria (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1998). 27. On archaeology between 1870 and 1911, see Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio and Lorenzo Quilici, L’archeologia in Roma capitale tra sterro e scavo (Venice: Marsilio Editori, 1983) and Italo Insolera and Francesco Perego, Archeologia e città: Storia moderna dei Fori di Roma (Rome: Laterza, 1983), 3–30. On the Colosseum, see Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, “A Perfect Ruin: Nineteenth-Century Views of the Colosseum,” Arion 3, no. 2 (1992): 115–34. 28. On this poem, and its broader implications, see Richard Drake, Byzantium for Rome: The Politics of Nostalgia in Umbertian Italy, 1878–1900 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980). 29. Insolera, Roma moderna, 52–62. 30. Giuseppe Nuvolari, Come la penso: Aneddoti sconosciuti di storia contemporanea (Milan: G. Amrosoli, 1881), 280. 31. Ibid., 295. 32. For a general history of Futurism, particularly as an aesthetic movement, see Claudia Salaris, Storia del futurismo: Libri, giornali, manifesti (Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1992). On its politics and relationship to Fascism, see Emilio Gentile, The Struggle for Modernity: Nationalism, Futurism, and Fascism (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003) and Günther Berghaus, Futurism and Politics: Between Anarchist Rebellion and Fascist Reaction, 1909–1944 (Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1996). 33. F. T. Marinetti, “Fondazione e Manifesto del Futurismo,” reprinted in Luigi Scrivo, Sintesi del futurismo: Storia e documenti (Rome: M. Bulzoni, 1968), 2. 34. Ibid. 35. Ibid. 36. Cicerone translates literally as “tour guide” but was originally used in the days of the grand tour to denote servile, swindling Italian guides for young gentlemen. 37. Scrivo, Sintesi del futurismo, 2. 38. On the South, see Umberto Boccioni, “Manifesto ai pittori meridionali” (1916); on Trieste, see F. T. Marinetti, “Trieste, la nostra bella polveriera” (1909); on


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Venice, see Marinetti, “Contro Venezia passatista” (1910); and on Florence, Marinetti, “Contro Firenze e Roma piaghe purulente della nostra penisola” (1910), all reprinted in Scrivo, Sintesi del futurismo. 39. Marinetti, “Contro Firenze e Roma piaghe purulente della nostra penisola,” in ibid., 23. 40. Ibid. 41. Ibid. 42. Ibid. 43. Seronde Babonaux, Roma, 194–201. 44. Emilio Settimelli, “Il massacro dei Pancioni,” L’Italia Futurista 8 (1917): 1. 45. Volt [Vincenzo Fani Ciotti], “Tradizione antinationale,” Roma Futurista 1.8 (1918): 2. Italics in the original. 46. Roma Futurista 1.4 (1918): 3. 47. Mario Carli, “Si vive in un’epoca futurista,” Roma Futurista 1.4 (1918): 2. 48. Marinetti, “Contro Firenze e Roma.” Cartoon from Roma Futurista 1.1 (1918): 1. 49. Roma Futurista 1.4 (1918): 3. 50. Roma Futurista 1.6 (1918): 1. 51. On the ideas and politics of the Vociani, see Walter Adamson, Avant-Garde Florence: From Modernism to Fascism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993); and Gentile, Struggle for Modernity. 52. Giovanni Papini, “La campagna” (1909), in Giuseppe Prezzolini, La Voce, 1908–1913: Cronaca, antologia e fortuna di una rivista, ed. Vanni Scheiwiller and Emilio Gentile (Milan: Rusconi, 1974), 308. 53. Ibid. 54. Ibid., 310. 55. Giovanni Cena, “Che fare?” (1910), in ibid., 273. 56. Antonio Anzilotti, “Il problema della democrazia,” La Voce 3.44 (1911): 679. 57. Giovanni Papini, “La guerra vittoriosa,” La Voce 3.42 (1911): 669. 58. Giuseppe Prezzolini, “Nel VII° anniversario della nascita del ‘Regno,’ ” La Voce 2.51 (1910): 445. 59. Giuseppe Prezzolini, “I fatti di Romagna, Giovanni Borelli, la rettorica di Roma e il nazionalismo,” La Voce 2.35 (1910): 376. 60. Ibid. 61. Giuseppe Prezzolini, “Abbasso Roma!” La Voce 2.8 (1910): 257. 62. Giovanni Papini, “Contro Roma e contro Benedetto Croce,” in Scrivo, Sintesi del futurismo, 65–66. 63. Ibid., 66. 64. Ibid. 65. Ibid. 66. On Corradini and ANI, see Alexander De Grand, The Italian Nationalist Association and the Rise of Fascism in Italy (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1978); Francesco Perfetti, Il movimento nazionalista in Italia (1903–1914) (Rome: Bonacci, 1984); and Richard Drake, “The Theory and Practice of Italian Nationalism, 1900– 1906,” Journal of Modern History 53, no. 2 (1981): 213–41. 67. “Le nazioni proletarie e il nazionalismo” (1911), in Enrico Corradini, Discorsi politici 1902–1923 (Florence: Vallecchi, 1923), 111–12.

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68. Ibid., 116. 69. “L’emigrazione italiana nell’America del Sud” (1909), in ibid., 85–87. 70. On the Italian occupation of Libya, see Massimiliano Munzi, L’epica del ritorno: Archeologia e politica nella Tripolitania italiana (Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2001) and Stefan Altekamp, Rückkehr nach Afrika: Italienische Kolonialarchäologie in Libyen, 1911–1943 (Köln: Böhlau Verlag, 2000). See also chapter 5. 71. “La vita estetica” (1903), in Corradini, Discorsi politici 1902–1923, 58. 72. “La vita nazionale” (1905), in ibid., 44. 73. “Le nuove dottrine nazionale e il rinnovamento spirituale” (1913), in ibid., 206. 74. Ibid. 75. Alfredo Rocco, “The Politica manifesto” (1918), in Adrian Lyttelton, Italian Fascisms from Pareto to Gentile (London: Jonathan Cape, 1973), 261. 76. “Parla Luigi Federzoni,” in L’Idea Nazionale 4.81 (1914): 1. 77. The advent of Fascism signaled the end of ANI as an independent political force. The Nationalists were not among the “Fascists of the first hour” in 1919, and initially kept their distance from Mussolini’s movement in its original intransigent, “revolutionary” phase. With Fascism’s shift to the right in 1920–21, however, the two groups became increasingly intertwined, and in 1923, after a year of Fascist government, a majority of ANI voted to be absorbed into the PNF. The subsequent careers of its leadership were mixed. While acknowledged as a major influence by Mussolini himself, Enrico Corradini found himself relegated to editing a minor Fascist newspaper. The more conservative Nationalist leaders Luigi Federzoni and Alfredo Rocco, on the other hand, both accepted important cabinet posts under Mussolini (minister of the interior and minister of justice, respectively), and Rocco in particular was responsible for several of the regime’s key legal reforms. 78. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 2, 171. 79. Ibid., vol. 7, 112. 80. Ibid., vol. 11, 288. 81. Ibid., vol. 11, 290. 82. Ibid., vol. 12, 317. 83. Benito Mussolini, Scritti e discorsi (Milan: U. Hoepli, 1934), vol. 2, 163. 84. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 18, 160. 85. Ibid. 86. Ibid. 87. Alexander J. De Grand, Italian Fascism: Its Origins and Development (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000), 36. See also Adrian Lyttelton, The Seizure of Power: Fascism in Italy, 1919–1929 (New York: Scribner, 1973). 88. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 18, 412. 89. Ibid. 90. For a survey of such narratives, see Roberta Suzzi Valli, “The Myth of Squadrismo in the Fascist Regime,” Journal of Contemporary History 35, no. 2 (2000): 131–50. 91. Dario Lischi, La Marcia su Roma con la colonna “Lamarmora” (Florence: Florentia, 1923), 3–4. 92. Pietro Mariani, Le tre giornate di Roma: Il Fascismo al potere (Rome: Studio editoriale romano, 1923), 39 and 9. 93. See also Asvero Gravelli, La Marcia su Roma (Rome: Nuova Europa, 1934).


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94. Giuseppe Bottai, “Roma contro Roma,” Capitolium 17.11 (1942): 332. 95. Ibid., 334. 2. Science and Faith: The Istituto di Studi Romani, 1922–1929

1. Foreword to Roma 1.1 (1923): 1. 2. Ibid., 2. 3. Ibid., 1. 4. Ibid., 1–2. 5. Bollettino Ufficiale of the MPI, March 23, 1926, 988–89, in ISR Aff.Gen., b. 1, fasc. 1. For institutional histories of the ISR, see Paolo Brezzi, “L’Istituto Nazionale di Studi Romani,” in Speculum mundi: Roma centro internazionale di ricerche umanistiche, ed. Paolo Vian (Rome: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 1991), 707–32; Albertina Vittoria, “L’Istituto di Studi Romani e il suo fondatore Carlo Galassi Paluzzi dal 1925 al 1944,” in Il classico nella Roma contemporanea: Mito, modelli, memoria, ed. Fernanda Roscetti (Rome: Istituto Nazionale di Studi Romani, 2000), 507–37; and Antonio La Penna, “La rivista Roma e l’Istituto di Studi Romani: Sul culto della romanità nel periodo fascista,” in Antike und Altertumswissenschaft in der Zeit von Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus, ed. Beat Näf (Mandelbachtal/Cambridge: Cicero, 2001), 89–110. 6. The encyclopedia project faltered from the start and was never completed. As late as 1942, the ISR was still lobbying the Ministry of Popular Culture to support the initiative—see ACR Min.Cul.Pop. Gab. b. 207, fasc. “Istituto Studi Romani.” 7. Bollettino Ufficiale of the MPI, March 23, 1926, 988–89, in ISR Aff.Gen., b. 1, fasc. 1. 8. In actuality, these “regional centers” were not formally constituted institutes in the same sense as the main institute in Rome; rather, they were constituted by individuals—almost exclusively at local universities—with a relationship to the personnel of the central office, and generally served to create a network of comparable projects across the peninsula and to contribute work with a regional flavor to the ISR’s publications. 9. For a recent biography of Galassi Paluzzi, published by the contemporary Istituto Nazionale di Studi Romani, see Benedetto Coccia, Carlo Galassi Paluzzi (Rome: Istituto Nazionale di Studi Romani, 2000). 10. See for example Galassi Paluzzi to Andriulli, October 2, 1934, ISR Aff.Gen., b. 24, fasc. 102, sotto. “Andriulli.” Galassi Paluzzi finally accepted an academic post in 1942, as an instructor of bibliographic methodology at the University of Rome. 11. Lamboglia to Giglioli, June 9, 1938, in MCR MAR b. 27, fasc. “Deputazioni Storia Patria Roma e Bordighera,” sotto. “Bordighera.” 12. ISR Aff.Gen., b. 1, fasc. 4. 13. Galassi Paluzzi to Mezzana, October 7, 1929, ISR, Aff.Gen., b. 1, fasc. 4. 14. Galassi Paluzzi to Medici di Vascello (undated 1937), ISR, Aff.Gen., b. 1, fasc. 4. Significantly, the ISR returned to the original symbol after World War II. 15. Galassi Paluzzi, L’Istituto di Studi Romani, 5th ed. (Rome: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1941), 17. 16. See for example the extensive correspondence in ACS, SPD CO, b. 1062, n. 509217, in which Galassi Paluzzi petitioned to have the annual contribution raised

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to L250,000 for 1936; while Mussolini was favorably disposed, the request was ultimately denied by the Ministry of Finance. Another source of support was the Ministry of Popular Culture (MinCulPop), which funded individual projects; see ACS, MinCulPop Gab., b. 207, fasc. “Istituto Studi Romani,” and b. 71, fasc. 4743, for correspondence between Galassi Paluzzi and Alfieri. In April 1942, the ISR came under royal patronage and was renamed the Reale Istituto di Studi Romani. According to Albertina Vittoria, a 1947 report on the institute’s activities noted that its funding from the Ministry of National Education had reached L800,000; see Vittoria, “L’Istituto di Studi Romani e il suo fondatore Carlo Galassi Paluzzi dal 1925 al 1944,” 511. 17. Galassi Paluzzi to Tricarico, June 23, 1934, in ACS, MPI AABBAA Div. II, 1934–40, b. 36, fasc. 569 “Ricostruzione-Commissione.” 18. Importantly, as Roland Sarti argues, Italian conservatism was not so much a reactionary “Burkean respect for institutions and processes received from the distant past” but rather the desire for modernization and progress to be grounded in traditional values—faith, family, local identities, and hierarchical relationships. See Roland Sarti, “Italian Fascism: Radical Politics and Conservative Goals,” in Fascists and Conservatives: The Radical Right and the Establishment in Twentieth-Century Europe, ed. Martin Blinkhorn (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990), 14. 19. Federzoni was a journalist and part of the ANI leadership. Following ANI’s fusion with the Fascist Party in 1923, he served as minister of colonies (1922–24 and 1926–29), minister of the interior (1924–26) and president of the Senate (1929–39). Fedele was a medieval historian and minister of public instruction from 1925 to 1928. Scialoja was a leading jurist who served in Liberal governments as minister of justice (1909–10) and minister of foreign affairs (1919–20), as well as Italy’s representative at the League of Nations from 1921 to 1932. 20. On nationalism in Rome, see Adriano Roccucci, Roma capitale del nazionalismo (1908–1923) (Rome: Istituto per la Storia del Risorgimento Italiano, 2001). 21. On academic culture in modern Italy, see Antonio Santoni Rugiu, Chiarissimi e magnifici: Il professore nell’università italiana (dal 1700 al 2000) (Florence: La nuova Italia, 1991). 22. The first argument generally comes from associates of the present-day Istituto Nazionale di Studi Romani. See for example Coccia, Carlo Galassi Paluzzi, 22: “The ethical and spiritual direction . . . of [the ISR’s] romanità did not coincide exactly with what the Regime had imagined.” In the second case, see especially Romke Visser, “Da Atene a Roma, da Roma a Berlino: L’Istituto di Studi Romani, il culto fascista della romanità e la ‘difesa dell’umanesimo’ di Giuseppe Bottai (1936–1943),” in Antike und Altertumswissenschaft in der Zeit von Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus, ed. Beat Näf (Mandelbachtal/Cambridge: Cicero, 2001), 111–24, and Cannistraro, “Mussolini’s Cultural Revolution.” To Julius Evola, the leading theorist of Italian neo-fascism, the scholasticism of the “so-called Istituto di Studi Romani, whose activities can be reduced to agnostic exercises in philology and archaeology, mediocre in its erudition, lacking any sense of political, ethical or spiritual efficacy” was symptomatic of the regime’s inability to realize fully the moral imperatives of romanità. See Julius Evola, Il fascismo visto dalla destra / Note sul Terzo Reich (Rome: Volpe, 1970), 27. 23. Galassi Paluzzi, December 2, 1934, in ISR Aff.Gen. b. 20, fasc. “Lavoro Fascista.”


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24. On the regime’s relationship with universities and academies, see Gabriele Turi, Lo stato educatore: Politica e intellettuali nell’Italia fascista (Rome: Laterza, 2002); Francesco Giuseppe Graceffa, La politica scolastica nell’Italia fascista (1922–1943): Tra nazionalizzazione culturale e modernizzazione (Lamezia Terme: Fratelli Gigliotti, 1995); Giuseppe Ricuperati, “Per una storia dell’università italiana da Gentile a Bottai: Appunti e discussioni,” in L’Università tra Otto e Novecento: I modelli europei e il caso italiano, ed. Ilaria Porciani (Naples: Jovene, 1994), 311–77; Mario Isnenghi, Intellettuali militanti e intellettuali funzionari: Appunti sulla cultura fascista (Turin: Einaudi, 1979); as well as Isnenghi, L’educazione dell’italiano: Il fascismo e l’organizzazione della cultura (Bologna: Cappelli, 1979). 25. Turi, Lo stato educatore, 18–21. 26. Ibid., 49–75, 104–20. See also Norberto Bobbio, “La cultura e il fascismo,” in Fascismo e società italiana, ed. Guido Quazza (Turin: Einaudi, 1973), 209–46. 27. Isnenghi, Intellettuali militanti e intellettuali funzionari, 167–69. 28. The signed declarations can be found in ISR Aff.Gen. b. 2, fasc. 1. 29. On this distinction, see Isnenghi, Intellettuali militanti e intellettuali funzionari. Many studies portray scholars as little more than compliant and passive agents of the regime’s agenda, eager to abandon academic rigor in order to curry political favor. See for example Nicola Terrenato, “Ancestor Cults: The Perception of Rome in Modern Italian Culture,” in Images of Rome: Perceptions of Ancient Rome in Europe and the United States in the Modern Age, ed. Richard Hingley (Portsmouth, RI: Journal of Roman Archaeology, 2001), 71–89; Daniele Manacorda and Renato Tamassia, Il piccone del regime (Rome: Armando Curcio, 1985); and Mariella Cagnetta, Antichisti e impero fascista (Bari: Dedalo, 1979). 30. Isnenghi, L’educazione dell’italiano, 66. 31. “Aboliamo l’insegnamento classico!” L’Osservatore Romano, November 22, 1922. 32. “I diritti artistici propugnati dai futuristi italiani: Manifesti al governo fascista,” Il Futurismo, January 3, 1923, 1. 33. Giacomo Lumbroso, “È possibile un Fascismo cattolico?” Critica Fascista 5. 15 (1927): 292. 34. Giuseppe Bottai, “Roma nel MRF,” Roma 12.1 (1934): 6. 35. Giseppe Bottai, “Roma nella scuola italiana,” Roma 17.1 (1939): 4. Emphasis in original. 36. Ibid., 5. 37. ISR Corsi, b. 171, fasc. 3, 1934–35. 38. Enrico Corradini, “La vita di Roma,” Roma 2.1 (1924): 2. 39. Galassi Paluzzi to Giglioli, June 27, 1942, in MCR MAR, b. 9, fasc. “Studi Romani.” 40. Galassi Paluzzi to U. Biscottini, July 4, 1941, ISR Aff.Gen., b. 21, fasc. 97, sotto. “L-Z”/”Romana.” 41. ISR Corsi, b. 171, fasc. 3, 1926–27. 42. Galassi Paluzzi to U. Biscottini, July 4, 1941, ISR Aff.Gen., b. 21, fasc. 97, sotto. “L-Z”/”Romana.” The portion quoted, however, dates from his speech to the ISR’s first national congress of 1928. 43. A full list of its publications to 1938 can be found in Istituto di Studi Romani, Catalogo dei pubblicazioni (Rome: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1938).

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44. On the Mostra Augustea, see chapter 4. 45. See Giuseppe Lugli, Saggi di esplorazione archeologica a mezzo dela fotografia aerea (Rome: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1939). 46. For a biographical sketch, see Bruna Forlati Tamaro, “Aristide Calderini,” in Oblatio: Raccolta di studi di antichità ed arte in onore di Aristide Calderini, ed. Società Archeologica Comense (Como: A. Noseda, 1971), 9–17. 47. Galassi Paluzzi to Giglioli, June 13, 1934, in MCR MAR b. 1, fasc. “Censimento epigrafico dell’impero.” 48. Aristide Calderini, “Contributi dell’epigrafia allo studio etnografico di Roma durante l’Impero,” Atti del I Congresso Nazionale di Studi Romani, vol. 1 (1928), 249. Calderini admitted that this was a difficult task, particularly since (with the exception of military inscriptions), ethnic origins was generally not explicitly indicated on epigraphs. Still, he argued that onomastic data provided a good, though not infallible, indication of ethnicity. 49. “L’ISR per la celebrazione del bimillenario Augusteo,” September 23, 1937, in ISR CCM b. 212, fasc. 21. 50. Calderini, “Contributi dell’epigrafia allo studio etnografico di Roma durante l’Impero,” 250. 51. Carlo Galassi Paluzzi, L’attività dell’Istituto di Studi Romani durante l’anno accademico 1938–39—XVII (Rome: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1939), 18. The card catalog was incorporated into the Mostra Augustea della Romanità of 1937–38, though it continued to operate under the aegis of the ISR. Giulio Quirino Giglioli seems to have had some reservations about the project’s usefulness; see the extensive correspondence in ISR CCM b. 209, fasc. 7. Today the catalog resides in the administrative offices of the Museo della Civiltà Romana, along with the archives of the Mostra Augustea. 52. “I romani nel valle del Po,” in Aristide Calderini, Lombardia romana (Milan: Ceschina, 1937), 59. A similar case is made Aristide Calderini, Lombardia preistorica e protostorica, L’Italia dalla preistoria alla romanizzazione (Rome: Reale Istituto di Studi Romani, 1945). 53. ISR CCM b. 233, fasc. 94. See also Istituto di Studi Romani, Catalogo dei pubblicazioni, 29; Carlo Galassi Paluzzi, L’Istituto di Studi Romani (Rome: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1941), 40. 54. Ibid. 55. Carlo Galassi Paluzzi, I corsi superiori di Studi Romani (Rome: Reale Istituto di Studi Romani, 1943), xv. 56. Ibid., xii. 57. Galassi Paluzzi, L’Istituto di Studi Romani, 8. 58. Ibid., 6. 59. See for example the positive review of the ISR’s plans for the Augustan bimillenary by David M. Robinson of Johns Hopkins, in the American Journal of Archaeology 37.3 (1933): 498. For the institute’s involvement in conferences, see ibid., 54–55. Admittedly, there were occasional indications that the ISR was viewed with suspicion in some quarters of the international scholarly community; for example, its exclusion from the 1936 International Congress of Byzantine Studies prompted its members to speculate as to whether the organizers “did not believe it opportune to involve the ISR . . . created with directives of a political nature, in order not to trouble


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foreign scholars. . . . Must we conclude that this Congress, in the fifteenth year of the Fascist Era, will once again bear witness to Italians groveling before foreigners, with their theories so destructive of romanità?” See Cecchelli to Galassi Paluzzi, May 5, 1936, ISR Aff.Gen., b. 4, fasc. 14, sotto. “Carlo Cecchelli.” 60. In MCR MAR b. 22, fasc. “Mostra e bimillenario.” 61. Galassi Paluzzi, L’Istituto di Studi Romani, 8. 62. Galassi Paluzzi, December 2, 1934, in ISR Aff.Gen., b. 20, fasc. 95, sotto. “Lavoro Fascista.” 63. On Giglioli (organizer of the Mostra Augustea della Romanità), see chapter 4; Aurigemma served as the superintendent of excavations in Tripolitania; Calza presided over the excavation of Ostia, and Maiuri directed the museum of antiquities in Naples and the excavation of Pompeii and Herculaneum. 64. Romanelli presided over the excavations at Leptis Magna and later served as the chief inspector for antiquities at the Ministry of National Education; Riccobono was a noted historian of Roman law at the Universities of Palermo and Rome; De Francisci was also a legal historian who served as the rector of the University of Rome (1930–32 and 1935–43) and the minister of justice (1932–35). 65. Giovannoni and Piacentini were both involved in creating the government’s new plan for Rome in 1931; Piacentini designed several of the regime’s major new constructions, including the new university campus in Rome and the majority of the buildings in the EUR. See chapter 3. 66. Attendance for the decade 1926–36 was estimated at 197,706 for 1,143 courses and 98 on-site visits, featuring 235 different lecturers. See ISR Corsi, b. 173, fasc. 10, sotto. 1. 67. Forges Davanzati, radio address given February 11, 1935, ISR Aff.Gen., b. 23, fasc. 101, sotto. “EIAR—Cronache del Regime/Forges Davanzati.” 68. “L’O.N.D. e gli studi romani,” La Tribuna, July 9, 1939. 69. ISR Corsi, b. 171, fasc. 3, 1931–32. 70. For a long-term view of this debate, see Oliver Logan, “Italian Identity: Catholic Reponses to Secularist Definitions, c.1910–1948,” Modern Italy 2, no. 1–2 (1997): 52–71, as well as Andrea Riccardi, Roma “città sacra”? Dalla Conciliazione all’operazione Sturzo (Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 1979). 71. The historiography on Fascism and the “Roman Question,” and more broadly on Fascism’s relationship with Catholicism, is vast and contentious. For many scholars coming from the Catholic milieu, the church and its social organizations served as one of the few effective refuges from the “totalitarian” aspirations of the regime; organizations like Azione Cattolica and FUCI (the Italian Catholic university students’ federation) were sites of resistance and provided the basis for the postwar generation of the Christian Democratic leadership. For this perspective, see for example John Pollard, The Vatican and Italian Fascism, 1929–32: A Study in Conflict (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985); Renato Moro, La formazione della classe dirigente cattolica (1929–1937) (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1979); and Giuseppe Dalla Torre, Azione cattolica e fascismo (Rome: A.V.E., 1964). Conversely, in the eyes of the church’s critics, Fascism and Catholicism shared fundamental similarities— antiliberalism, antibolshevism, reactionary antimodernism—and enjoyed a mutually advantageous relationship; see for example Sandro Rogari, Santa Sede e Fascismo

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dall’Aventino ai Patti Laterani (Bologna: Arnaldo Forni, 1977); Paolo Ranfagni, I clerico fascisti: Le riviste dell’Università cattolica negli anni del regime (Florence: Cooperativa editrice universitaria, 1975); Giovanni Miccoli, “La Chiesa e il fascismo,” in Fascismo e società italiana, ed. Guido Quazza (Turin: Einaudi, 1973), 183–208; and Luisa Mangoni, “Aspetti della cultura cattolica sotto il fascismo: La rivista ‘Il Frontespizio,’” in Modernismo, fascismo, comunismo: Aspetti e figure della cultura e della politica dei cattolici nel 1900, ed. Giuseppe Rossini (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1972), 363–418. More-recent scholarship has tended to emphasize the diversity of Catholic responses to Fascism, from whole-hearted support to ambivalent coexistence to active resistance; see for example Alice Kelikian, “The Church and Catholicism,” in Liberal and Fascist Italy, ed. Adrian Lyttelton (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 44–61; Maria Bocci, Oltre lo Stato liberale: Ipotesi su politica e società nel dibattito cattolico tra fascismo e democrazia (Rome: Bulzoni, 1999); and Richard J. Wolff, “Italy: Catholics, the Clergy, and the Church—Complex Reactions to Fascism,” in Catholics, the State, and the European Radical Right, 1919–1945, ed. Richard J. Wolff and Jörg K. Hoensch (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), 137–57. Considerably less scholarship has looked at the relationship between Catholicism and Fascist culture; see Emilio Gentile, The Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), 69–75; and Giuseppe Carlo Marino, L’autarchia della cultura: Intelletuali e fascimo negli anni trenta (Rome: Riuniti, 1983), 121–34. 72. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 18, 444. 73. Ibid., 16. 74. “Lateran Treaty,” Ecclesia Diplomatica, 1929, http://www.vaticandiplomacy. org/laterantreaty1929.htm. 75. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 24, 78. 76. Giovanni Gentile, Che cosa è il fascismo: Discorsi e polemiche (Florence: Vallecchi, 1925), 26. 77. From a newspaper article in 1922, reproduced in Pietro Scoppola, La Chiesa e il fascismo: Documenti e interpretazioni (Bari: Laterza, 1971), 55. 78. Ibid. 79. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 24, 45. 80. Ibid. 81. Julius Evola, “Il Fascismo quale volontà d’impero e il cristianesimo,” Critica Fascista 5.24 (1927): 463. It should be noted that Critica Fascista printed an apology for Evola’s article in its subsequent edition. 82. M. Barbera, “Romanità genuina nell’Istituto di Studi Romani,” La Civiltà Cattolica 89.2 (1938): 295–96. 83. Ibid. 84. “Cristianesimo e impero romano,” L’Osservatore Romano, June 17–18, 1927. 85. “Storicismo razionalista,” La Civiltà Cattolica 82.3 (1931): 520. See also “Storicismo socialista e fantasie retoriche e modernistiche,” La Civiltà Cattolica 82.4 (1931). 86. “Storicismo razionalista,” La Civiltà Cattolica 82.3 (1931): 529. 87. “Nel Natale di Roma,” L’Osservatore Romano, April 21, 1926. 88. “La Città cristiana,” L’Osservatore Romano, June 29, 1927. 89. Barbera, “Romanità genuina nell’Istituto di Studi Romani.” 90. Ibid.


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91. “L’universalità di Roma,” L’Osservatore Romano, April 25, 1926. 92. Emilio Gentile, “New Idols: Catholicism in the Face of Fascist Totalitarianism,” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 11, no. 2 (2006): 143–70. 93. Gentile, Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy. 94. Speech at the congress of the Popular Party, April 12, 1923, reprinted in Pietro Scoppola, La Chiesa e il fascismo: Documenti e interpretazioni (Bari: Laterza, 1971), 71. 95. Pollard, Vatican and Italian Fascism, 1929–32. 96. “Pius XI, Non abbiamo bisogno,” Vatican.va, 1931, http://www.vatican. va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_29061931_nonabbiamo-bisogno_en.html. 97. “Dopo l’Enciclica per l’Azione Cattolica,” La Civiltà Cattolica 82.3 (1931): 265. 98. Respectively from Emilio Settimelli’s 1931 article “Preti, adagio!” and Arnaldo Mussolini’s response to the papal encyclical, both reprinted in Scoppola, La Chiesa e il fascismo, 258 and 272. 99. On Scienza e Fede in general, see ISR Aff.Gen., b. 220. Galassi Paluzzi also published a book by the same title in 1972; see the conclusion for further discussion. 100. Galassi Paluzzi to Mother Maria Amedeus Atchinson, May 7, 1932, ISR Aff.Gen., b. 220, fasc. 2, sotto. “Madre Connelly.” 101. “Through [your] prayers,” Galassi Paluzzi wrote to the head of a Roman convent, “the ISR managed to receive a tangible sign of our Duce’s goodwill, and thereby obtained not only a moral recognition, in very flattering terms, but also a fixed annual contribution of L200,000.” He added a request for further prayers “from 5 to 6:30 next Thursday,” when he had his next meeting with Mussolini. Galassi Paluzzi to Madre Amadeus, June 7, 1933, ISR, Aff.Gen., b. 220, fasc. 2. 102. Galassi Paluzzi to Taurisano, December 10, 1936, ISR Aff. Gen., b. 219, fasc. 1, sotto. “Taurisano.” 103. See the polite refusals of in ISR Aff.Gen. b. 220, fasc. 2. 104. On the Fascist appropriation of Dante, see Simona Urso, “L’aquila imperiale e il veltro dantesco: Il fascismo come orizzonte messianico, universalista e cattolico,” in Cattolicesimo e totalitarismo: Chiese e culture religiose tra le due guerre mondiali (Italia, Spagna, Francia) (Brescia: Morcelliana, 2004), 247–74. 105. Alessandro Chiapelli, “Quella Roma onde Cristo è romano,” Atti del I Congresso Nazionale di Studi Romani, vol. 1 (1928), 349. 106. Ibid. 107. Ibid. 108. Galassi Paluzzi, I corsi superiori di Studi Romani, xxiii. 109. Galassi Paluzzi to Balogh, October 4, 1933, ISR Aff.Gen. b. 22, fasc. 98, sotto. “Stranieri.” 110. Piero Misciattelli, “Roma amor,” Roma 1.4 (1924): 135. On the concept of “universal empire” and its role in bridging Fascism and Catholicism, see chapter 5. 111. Barbera, “Romanità genuina nell’Istituto di Studi Romani,” 303. 112. E. Rosa, “Pubblicazioni dell’Istituto di Studi Romani,” La Civiltà Cattolica 85.3 (1934): 157.

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3. History and Hygiene in Mussolini’s Rome, 1925–1938

1. Fogu, Historic Imaginary. 2. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 22, 48. 3. Ibid., vol. 22, 47. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid., vol. 20, 235. 7. Cederna, Mussolini urbanista. 8. Borden W. Painter, Mussolini’s Rome: Rebuilding the Eternal City (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and Gentile, Fascismo di pietra. 9. Paul Baxa, Roads and Ruins: The Symbolic Landscape of Fascist Rome (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009). 10. This distinction should not be confused with the better-known tradition of the “Three Romes”—of the Caesars, the popes, and of united Italy—of Risorgimento and Liberal patriotic rhetoric (though this trope was certainly used in the Fascist period as well, as seen in the previous chapter), not to mention, mutatis mutandis, other “third Romes,” from imperial Russia to the United States. 11. For example Peter Hall, Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century, 3rd ed. (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2002), 189–217. See also Felix Driver and David Gilbert, “Imperial Cities: Overlapping Territories, Intertwined Histories,” in Imperial Cities: Landscape, Display and Identity, ed. Felix Driver and David Gilbert (Manchester, UK: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), 10, and Bruno Zevi, Architecture as Space: How to Look at Architecture, trans. Milton Gendel (New York: Da Capo, 1993), 169. 12. Françoise Choay, The Modern City: Planning in the 19th Century, trans. Marguerite Hugo and George R. Collins (New York: George Braziller, 1970), 15. 13. Donald J. Olsen, The City as a Work of Art: London, Paris,Vienna (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988). 14. Wolfgang Sonne, Representing the State: Capital City Planning in the Early Twentieth Century (Munich: Prestel, 2003), 33. 15. David Harvey, Paris, Capital of Modernity (New York: Routledge, 2000); Claire Hancock, “Capitale du plaisir: The Remaking of Imperial Paris,” in Driver and Gilbert, Imperial Cities, 64–77; and Olsen, City as a Work of Art, 35–57. 16. Péter Hanák, The Garden and the Workshop: Essays on the Cultural History of Vienna and Budapest (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998), 12; see also Olsen, City as a Work of Art, 58–81, and Carl Schorske, Fin-de-siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980). 17. See for example Sonne, Representing the State, 33; and Choay, Modern City, 11. 18. Quoted in Hancock, “Capitale du plaisir,” 65. 19. On classicism and British imperial architecture, both metropolitan and colonial, see Thomas R. Metcalf, An Imperial Vision: Indian Architecture and Britain’s Raj (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 176–210. 20. For this long-term view, see Mario Sanfilippo, La costruzione di una capitale: Roma 1911–1945 (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana, 1993); Insolera, Roma moderna; Spiro Kostof, The Third Rome: Traffic and Glory (Berkeley, CA: University Art Museum, 1973); and Leonardo Benevolo, Roma dal 1870 al 1990 (Rome: Laterza, 1992).


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21. On the Napoleonic plan for Rome and its archaeological dimension, see Brice, “La Roma dei ‘francesi,’” and Ridley, Eagle and the Spade. On the Vatican’s plans for Rome in the nineteenth century, see Insolera, Roma moderna, 3–9. 22. On the city government and the Governatorato, see Alberto Caracciolo, I sindaci di Roma (Rome: Donizelli, 1993); Marco De Nicolò, “Città multipla, città dimezzata: La capitale tra Stato e amministrazione locale, 1870–1944,” Roma moderna e contemporanea 7, no. 1/2 (1999): 57–82; and Marco De Nicolò, “Il Campidoglio liberale, il Governatorato, e la Resistenza,” in Roma capitale, ed. Vittorio Vidotto (Rome: Laterza, 2002), 73–123. 23. From a cabinet meeting, March 1, 1923, in Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 19, 159–60. 24. From a meeting of the Grand Council of Fascism, March 16, 1923, in ibid., vol. 19, 178–79. 25. Ibid. 26. Domenico Delli Santi, “L’opera del governo fascista per Roma,” Capitolium 3.12 (1928): 639. 27. On Muñoz and the AABBAA, see Calogero Bellanca, Antonio Muñoz: La politica di tutela dei monumenti di Roma durante il Governatorato (Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2003) and Claudia Pantanetti, “Il governatorato e la ripartizione antichità e belle arti,” Roma moderna e contemporanea 2, no. 3 (1994): 809–16. 28. Beginning in 1935, Muñoz founded L’Urbe, a new publication that more closely resembled Roma and again involved many of the same contributors. 29. See for example Luciano Morpurgo, Roma Mussolinea (Rome: Luciano Morpurgo, 1932) and Antonio Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini (Milan: Fratelli Treves, 1935). 30. On the “Mussolini Myth,” see especially Falasca-Zamponi, Fascist Spectacle, and Luisa Passerini, Mussolini immaginario: Storia di una biografia 1915–1939 (Rome: Laterza, 1991). 31. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, iv. 32. Alessandro Bacchiani, “Roma nel pensiero di Benito Mussolini,” Capitolium 1.7 (1925): 391–92. 33. Emil Ludwig, Talks with Mussolini (New York: Scribner and Sons, 1932), 198. 34. Falasca-Zamponi, Fascist Spectacle, 11. 35. Bacchiani, “Roma nel pensiero di Benito Mussolini,” 391–92. 36. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 26, 187. 37. Ibid., vol. 20, 235. 38. On Turin, see for example Angelo D’Orsi, La cultura a Torino tra le due guerre (Turin: Einaudi, 2000), 240–83. The difference in approach is striking when comparing initiatives in Rome with those elsewhere. The regime’s most ambitious urban intervention in Turin, Via Roma Nuova (note the name), was planned as an upscale shopping district. While a similar policy of “sanitization” and large-scale guttings was employed, the result was not a monumental site but a space for bourgeois sociability, presented in a Baroque style. See Luciano Re and Giovanni Sessa, “Torino: L’operazione di Via Roma Nuova,” in Urbanistica fascista: Ricerche e saggi sulle città e il territorio e sulle politiche urbane in Italia tra le due guerre, ed. Alberto Mioni (Milan: Franco Angeli, 1980), 105–22. On Milan, see Alice Ingold, Négocier la ville: Projet urbain, société et facisme à Milan (Rome: École française de Rome, 2003). 39. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 24, 269.

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40. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 433. 41. Marcello Piacentini, “La grande Roma,” Capitolium 1.7 (1925): 419. 42. Schorske, Fin-de-siècle Vienna, 33. A similar approach was taken in Athens, where Athinas Street, the principal thoroughfare of the modern city, was curtailed once it reached the old Plaka neighborhood at the foot of the Acropolis; see Eleni Bastéa, “Athens: Etching Images on the Street; Planning and National Aspirations,” in Streets: Critical Perspectives on Public Space, ed. Zeynep Çelik, Diane Favro, and Richard Ingersoll (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994), 111–24. 43. Arturo Bianchi, “Il nuovo Piano Regolatore di Roma,” Emporium 68.466 (1933): 223. 44. Governatorato di Roma, Piano regolatore di Roma (Milan: Treves-TreccaniTumminelli, 1931), 17–18. Emphasis in original. 45. Ibid., 32. 46. Ibid. 47. On modernist architecture in Rome, and related aesthetic controversies, see Richard Etlin, Modernism in Italian Architecture, 1890–1940 (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991); Piero Ostilio Rossi, Roma: Guida all’architettura moderna, 1909–1984 (Rome: Laterza, 1984) and Carlo Cresti, Architettura e fascismo (Florence: Vallecchi, 1986). 48. F. Saverio Palozzi, Il nuovo stile littorio: I progetti per il Palazzo del Littorio e della Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista in Via dell’Impero (Milan: Bertarelli, 1936), vii. 49. Ibid., xvi. 50. Ibid. 51. Marcello Piacentini in ibid., ix. 52. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 220–21. 53. Quoted in Cresti, Architettura e fascismo, 179. 54. Quoted in Etlin, Modernism in Italian Architecture, 1890–1940, 429. 55. Antonio Muñoz, L’isolamento del colle capitolino (Rome: Governatorato di Roma, 1943), 44–45. 56. Report from Governatore Boncompagni Ludovisi to Mussolini, July 20, 1934, in SPD CO b. 1128, fasc. 509429/2.2. These figures were incorporated into Mussolini’s speech inaugurating the excavation of the Mausoleum of Augustus in 1934. 57. Antonio Muñoz, Il Museo di Roma (Rome: Governatorato di Roma, 1930), 48. 58. See Paul Baxa, “Piacentini’s Window: The Modernism of the Fascist Master Plan of Rome,” Contemporary European History 13, no. 1 (2004): 1–20. 59. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 208. 60. Ibid., 206. 61. Ibid., 208. 62. Ibid., v. 63. Governatorato di Roma, Piano regolatore di Roma, 17–18. Emphasis in original. 64. James Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), 4. Indeed, while Scott’s work is primarily devoted to projects in the postcolonial developing world, the case of Mussolini’s Rome neatly fits his typology of “great utopian social engineering schemes.” Their distinguishing traits include the administrative order


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imposed by the modern state; high modernist ideology; authoritarian control; and a “prostrate civil society” (5). 65. See Frank M. Snowden, The Conquest of Malaria: Italy, 1900–1962 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), 149–73, as well as Mauro Stampacchia, “Ruralizzare l’Italia!” Agricoltura e bonifiche tra Mussolini e Serpieri (1928–1943) (Milan: Franco Angeli, 2000). 66. On demographic campaigns, see Carl Ipsen, Dictating Demography: The Problem of Population in Fascist Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). 67. David Horn, Social Bodies: Science, Reproduction, and Italian Modernity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), 95–122. 68. Ibid., 95. 69. See Francesca Rigotti, “Il medico-chirugo dello stato nel linguaggio metaforico di Mussolini,” in Cultura e società negli anni del fascismo, ed. Camillo Brezzi and Luigi Ganapini (Milan: Cordani Editore, 1987), 501–17, and David Forgacs, “Fascism, Violence and Modernity,” in The Violent Muse:Violence and the Artistic Imagination in Europe, 1910–1939, ed. Jana Howlett and Rod Mengham (New York: Manchester University Press, 1994), 5–21. As Forgacs notes, these metaphors also clearly reveal the early influence of Futurism on Fascist rhetoric. 70. Pio Molajoni, “Conservare—Restaurare—Creare,” Atti del II Congresso di Studi Romani, vol. 2, 572. 71. An interesting genealogy of these principles is offered in Spiro Kostof, “His Majesty the Pick: The Aesthetics of Demolition,” in Çelik, Favro, and Ingersoll, Streets, 9–22. According to Kostof, the term sventramento is most likely derived from Haussmann’s term éventrement; yet Kostof sees the Fascist demolitions as part of a longer continuity stretching back to Hellenistic city-states, a conviction held by the regime itself. 72. Antonio Maria Colini, “Una visita di SE il Capo del Governo ai lavori in corso per la grandezza dell’Urbe,” Capitolium 4.8 (1928): 408. 73. Vittorio Morpurgo, “La sistemazione augustea,” Capitolium 12.3 (1937): 147. 74. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 181. 75. On this point, see especially Marcello Barbanera, L’archeologia degli italiani (Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1998), 119–54. 76. Muñoz, L’isolamento del colle capitolino, 44–45. 77. Antonio Muñoz, Campidoglio (Rome: Governatorato di Roma, 1930), 24–25. 78. Arturo Bianchi, “Il centro di Roma: La sistemazione del Foro Italico e le nuove vie del mare e dei monti,” Architettura 12.3 (1933): 149. 79. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 200. 80. Governatorato di Roma, Piano regolatore di Roma, 18. 81. See Elizabeth Marlowe, “‘The Mutability of All Things’: The Rise, Fall and Rise of the Meta Sudans,” in Architecture as Experience: Radical Change in Spatial Practice, ed. Dana Arnold and Andrew Ballantyne (New York: Routledge, 2004). 82. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 218. 83. Ibid. 84. See for example “Roma di Mussolini: Primo decennale della rivoluzione fascista,” in the special edition of Opere Pubbliche (1932). 85. Antonio Muñoz, “Via dell’Impero,” Emporium 78.466 (1933): 238.

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86. Scipione Tadolini, Bonifica e risanamento urbano nel quadro del piano territoriale dell’urbe (Rome: Reale Istituto di Studi Romani, 1942), 3. 87. Domenico Delli Santi, “L’opera del governo fascista per Roma,” Capitolium 3.12 (1928): 653. 88. Antonio Nezi, “La rinascente idealità classica nella composizione monumentale della città,” Emporium 69.409 (1929): 9. 89. Nezi, “La rinascente idealità classica nella composizione monumentale della città,” 10. 90. “Urbanistica della Roma Mussoliniana,” special edition of Architettura, December 1936, 3. 91. Gustavo Giovannoni, “L’espansione di Roma verso i colli e verso il mare,” Roma 12.1 (1934): 13. 92. Ibid. 93. Ibid., 13–14. 94. Ibid. 95. Tadolini, Bonifica e risanamento urbano nel quadro del piano territoriale dell’urbe, 3. 96. Giuseppe Lugli, “Aspetti monumentali della Roma augustea,” Roma 16.9 (1938): 356. 97. Adolfo Ruspini, “Roma moderna,” Rivista del Legno 1 (1939): 99–101. 98. Filippo Clementi, “Il piano regolatore di Roma antica in relazione all’organismo della città attuale,” Capitolium 13.9 (1939): 445. 99. Giuseppe Marchetti-Longhi, “La via dell’Impero nel suo sviluppo storicotopografico e nel suo significato ideale,” Capitolium 10.2 (1934): 54. 100. Ibid., 56. 101. Ibid., 57. 102. Ibid., 62. 103. Ibid., 57. 104. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 73. 105. Ibid., 154–56. 106. Ibid., 153–54. 107. Antonio Muñoz, Via dei Monti e Via del Mare (Rome: Governatorato di Roma, 1933), 30. 108. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 223. 109. Enrico Corradini, “L’immortale vita di Roma,” Capitolium 1.7 (1925): 385. 110. Carlo Magi-Spinetti, “Colore locale,” Capitolium 11.1 (1935): 28. 111. For a full discussion of Piazzale Augusto Imperatore, approached from the perspective of urban planning, see Spiro Kostof, “The Emperor and the Duce: The Planning of Piazzale Augusto Imperatore in Rome,” in Art and Architecture in the Service of Politics, ed. Henry A. Millon and Linda Nochlin (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1978), 270–325. 112. For a history of the Mausoleum of Augustus, see Anna Maria Riccomini, La ruina di sì bella cosa:Vicende e trasformazioni del Mausoleo di Augusto (Milan: Electa, 1996). 113. Giglioli to Cremonesi, April 27, 1926, in ASC Rip. X 1920–53, b. 10, fasc. 12; and “La trasformazione dell’Augusteo,” Capitolium 1.1 (1925), 24. 114. Giglioli to Governatore, September 10, 1928, in ACS Rip. X 1920–53, b. 36, fasc. 9.


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115. Report from Muñoz, compiled by Colini, to the office of the Governatore, undated 1929, in ASC Rip. X 1920–53, b. 35, fasc. 2. 116. On the Augustan bimillenary, see chapter 4. 117. G. Q. Giglioli, “Per il secondo millenario di Augusto,” Atti del II Congresso Nazionale di Studi Romani, vol. 1 (1930), 279. This remained a possibility as late as 1934; see Gigilioli to Mussolini, undated 1934, in ISM CCM b. 209, fasc. 5, sotto. “Udienza di 1934.” 118. Anonymous letter, February 20–21, 1929, in ACS SPD CO, b. 1128, fasc. 509428/2.1. 119. “Augusteo romantico,” Capitolium 12.3 (1937): 175. 120. Despite these attacks, it should be noted that the Fascist Party frequently used the Augusteo in the early 1920s for its congresses in Rome. 121. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 26, 368. 122. These figures are cited in Mussolini’s inaugural speech but are derived from a Governatorato report of July 20, 1934, in ACS SPD CO, b. 1128, fasc. 509428/2.2. 123. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 26, 367–68. 124. See Giornale Luce newsreel B0562, available via the Istituto Luce’s website, www.archivioluce.com. 125. Vittorio Morpurgo, “La sistemazione augustea,” Capitolium 12.3: 146. 126. Antonio Muñoz, “La sistemazione del Mausoleo di Augusto,” Capitolium 13: 493–94. 127. Guglielmo Gatti, “Nuove osservazioni sul Mausoleo di Augusto,” L’Urbe 3.8 (1938): 14. 128. Ugo Ojetti, “Intorno all’Ara Pacis,” Corriere della Sera, October 4, 1938. 129. The design is clearly derived from Libera’s shrine to the fallen of the March on Rome, built for the Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista in 1932. 130. Libera proposal of August 1, 1936, in ASC Rip. X 1920–53, b. 147, fasc. 9. 131. See Muñoz, “La sistemazione del Mausoleo di Augusto.” 132. See the minutes of the Ara Pacis committee meetings of January 20, 1937, and February 4, 1937, in ACS MPI AABBAA Div. II 1934–40, b. 36, fasc. 569 “Ricostruzione-Commissione.” For early reconstruction proposals, see Carlo Cecchelli, “L’ara della pace sul Campidoglio,” Capitolium 1.2 (1925) and Giulio Emanuele Rizzo, “Per la ricostruzione dell’Ara Pacis Augustae,” Capitolium 2.8 (1926). 133. Morpurgo proposal of Februrary 11, 1937, in ACS MPI AABBAA Div. II 1934–40, b. 36, fasc. 569 “Ricostruzione-Commissione.” 134. Alessandro Bacchiani, “L’ara augustea della pace vittoriosa domini nella Roma imperiale di oggi,” Il Giornale d’Italia, March 4, 1937. 135. Bottai in Ara Pacis committee meeting of February 4, 1937, in ACS MPI AABBAA Div. II 1934–40, b. 36, fasc. 569 “Ricostruzione-Commissione.” 136. From the Reale Accademia d’Italia to Bottai, May 9, 1937, in ACS MPI AABBAA Div. II 1934–40, b. 35. For correspondence between the Italian and French governments on the recovery of the original marbles, see ACS MPI AABBAA Div. II 1934–40, b. 36, fasc. 584. The difficulty in negotiations seems ultimately to have been political; the French continually stressed that the return of the originals was to be presented as an art exchange and not as “a reclamation, either in form or spirit” (from a letter from Attilio Rossi of the Institut International de Coopéra-

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tion Intellectuelle to Trincarico of the MPI, February 16, 1934). As late as 1939, it appears that the exchange was to go forward, but this was halted with the outbreak of hostilities. 137. Bottai to Governatore Colonna, May 4, 1937, in ACS MPI AABBAA Div. II 1934–40, b. 36, fasc. 569 “Ricostruzione-Commissione.” 138. Bacchiani, “L’ara augustea della pace vittoriosa domini nella Roma imperiale di oggi.” 139. “Alfa,” “La bacheca dell’Ara Pacis,” L’Osservatore Romano, March 22, 1940. 140. Ugo Ojetti, “Intorno all’Ara Pacis,” Il Corriere della Sera, October 4, 1938. 141. See the correspondence in ASC Rip. X 1920–53, b. 211, fasc. 8. 142. Maccari to Governatore’s office, July 13, 1943, in ASC Rip. X 1920–53, b. 229, fasc. 9. 143. Brasini proposal, April 3, 1943, in ACS SPD CO, b. 2455, fasc. 553717. 144. See the documentation in ASC Rip X 1920–53, b. 250, fasc. 25, and b. 258, fasc. 11. 145. Carlo Magi-Spinetti, “Colore locale,” Capitolium 11.1 (1935): 27. On the Fascist hostility toward local traditions and culture, see Joshua Arthurs, “Roma Sparita: Local Identity, Memory and Modernity in Fascist Rome,” Città e storia 3, no. 1–2 (2009): 189–200. 146. Antonio Muñoz, La Via del Circo Massimo (Rome: Governatorato di Roma, 1934), 28–30. 147. Arturo Bianchi, “Il centro di Roma: La sistemazione del Foro Italico e le nuove vie del mare e dei monti,” Architettura 12.3 (1933): 155–56. 148. Muñoz, Campidoglio, 23. 149. Michael Herzfeld, “Spatial Cleansing: Monumental Vacuity and the Idea of the West,” Journal of Material Culture 11, no. 1–2 (2006): 127–49; and Roxane Caftanzoglou, “The Sacred Rock and the Profane Settlement: Place, Memory and Identity under the Acropolis,” Oral History 28, no. 1 (2000): 43–51. A similar point is made by Benedict Anderson with regard to the museumification of Southeast Asian temples; see Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1991), 182. For a useful point of comparison, see Margaret E. Farrar, “Making the City Beautiful: Aesthetic Reform and the (Dis) placement of Bodies,” in Embodied Utopias: Gender, Social Change, and the Modern Metropolis, ed. Amy Bingaman, Lise Sanders, and Rebecca Zorach (New York: Routledge, 2002), 37–54. Farrar argues that the construction of a monumental capital in Washington, DC, required the elimination of working-class residents, whose presence compromised viewers’ interpretations of the city’s symbolism. In the case of Fascist Rome, however, the archives suggest that life continued unabated. See for example the reports of teenage trespassing and vandalism at the Mausoleum of Augustus and the Ara Pacis in ASC Rip. X 1920–53 b. 199, fasc. 7. 150. See for example Christina M. Jiménez, “From the Lettered City to the Sellers’ City: Vendor Politics and Public Space in Mexico, 1880–1926,” in The Spaces of the Modern City: Imaginaries, Politics, and Everyday Life, ed. Gyan Prakash and Kevin M. Kruse (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), 214–46, and Daniel M. Bluestone, “‘The Pushcart Evil’: Peddlers, Merchants, and New York City’s Streets, 1890–1940,” Journal of Urban History 18, no. 1 (1991): 68–92.


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151. See for example Diane Ghirardo, “City and Suburb in Fascist Italy: Rome, 1922–43,” in Urban Forms, Suburban Dreams, ed. Malcolm Quantrill and Bruce Webb (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1993), 49–64. 152. One important exception, as Paul Baxa notes, is the quarter of San Lorenzo, which had a long history of working-class radicalism; however, this neighborhood was already on the city periphery, far from the monumental center. See Baxa, Roads and Ruins, 44–47. 153. Alberto Caracciolo, “Roma capitale sta in fondo allo stivale,” Limes 4 (1994): 61–64. 154. As Nelson Moe notes, this anti-southern discourse was in turn a displacement of northern Italian anxieties over Italy being “Europe’s South.” See Nelson Moe, The View from Vesuvius: Italian Culture and the Southern Question (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002), 13–36; see also Jane Schneider, ed., Italy’s “Southern Question”: Orientalism in One Country (New York: Berg, 1998). On the Fascist (and especially Mussolini’s) conception of the Italian national character, see Giovanni Aliberti, La resa di Cavour: Il carattere nazionale italiano tra mito e cronaca (1820–1976) (Florence: Le Monnier, 2000), 133–60. As Aliberti demonstrates, Mussolini largely despaired of the Italian character, seeing his compatriots as primitive raw material that could only be shaped through Fascist discipline. Of course, such tropes were deeply rooted in pre-Risorgimento and Risorgimento discourse; see also Silvana Patriarca, “Indolence and Regeneration: Tropes and Tensions of Risorgimento Patriotism,” American Historical Review 110, no. 2 (2005). To this day, Rome occupies an ambiguous position in terms of the North-South divide; the northern separatist slogan “Africa begins at Rome” consigns the capital to the South, while in other contexts it is treated as either a liminal zone or as sui generis. 155. Muñoz, L’isolamento del colle capitolino, 6. 156. Ermanno Ponti, “Le memorie di Piazza Montanara,” Capitolium 7.1 (1931): 21. 157. For an interesting discussion of Via del Mare and the aesthetics of Fascist roads, see Baxa, Roads and Ruins, 85–90. 158. Italo Insolera estimates that around seven thousand persons were dislocated due to the construction of Via dell’Impero alone; see Italo Insolera and Francesco Perego, Archeologia e città: Storia moderna dei Fori di Roma (Rome: Laterza, 1983), 149. On the displacement of working-class residents to the periphery, see Ghirardo, “City and Suburb in Fascist Italy: Rome, 1922–43.” Ghirardo argues that one of the primary motivations for clearing the city center was to prevent the development of an industrial proletariat. 159. Carlo Magi-Spinetti, “Colore locale,” Capitolium 11.1 (1935): 17. 160. Ibid., 23. 161. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 198. 162. Ibid., 431. 163. Alfredo Martuscelli, “Quello che nel ‘Baedeker’ non c’è: come i turisti vedono Roma,” Il Popolo di Roma, September 21, 1937. 164. ENIT pamphlet, Do You Know Italy? 1932. 165. V. Morello, “La Roma del Fascismo,” Capitolium 3.1 (1927): 5. 166. Enrico Corradini, “L’immortale vita di Roma,” Capitolium 1.7 (1925): 383–84.

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167. Muñoz, L’isolamento del colle capitolino, 7–8. 168. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 171. 169. Ibid., 66. 170. Umberto Bozzatti, “Il monumento a Vittorio Emanuele,” Capitolium 7.10 (1931): 492. 171. Tadolini, Bonifica e risanamento urbano nel quadro del piano territoriale dell’urbe, 4. 172. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 96–97. 173. Margherita Sarfatti, “Architettura, arte e simbolo alla Mostra del Fascismo,” Architettura 12.1 (1933): 13–17. 174. Ibid. 175. On Fascism and the Vittoriano, see especially Bruno Tobia, L’altare della patria (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1998); David Atkinson and Denis Cosgrove, “Urban Rhetoric and Embodied Identities: City, Nation, and Empire at the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument in Rome, 1870–1945,” in Annals of the Association of American Geographers 88, no. 1 (1998); and Catherine Brice, Monumentalité publique et politique à Rome: Le Vittoriano (Rome: École française de Rome, 1998). Brice’s work captures Fascism’s ambivalence about the monument’s aesthetics, while Tobia and Atkinson/Cosgrove both concentrate on its successful incorporation into Fascist ritual and spectacle. 176. Umberto Bozzatti, “Il monumento a Vittorio Emanuele,” Capitolium 7.10 (1931): 492. 177. Sarfatti, “Architettura, arte e simbolo alla Mostra del Fascismo,” 13–17. 178. Bozzatti, “Il monumento a Vittorio Emanuele,” 495. 179. Muñoz, Via dei Monti e Via del Mare, 8. 180. Governatorato di Roma, Piano regolatore di Roma, 32. 181. Enrico Corradini, “L’immortale vita di Roma,” Capitolium 1.7 (1925): 383–84. 182. Filippo Cremonesi, “Per la resurrezione della Roma imperiale,” Capitolium 1.7 (1925): 393. 183. Ibid. 184. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 85. 185. Ibid., 36. 186. Muñoz, Campidoglio, 21. 187. A fascinating and innovative study of Romans’ responses to the plans is offered by Baxa, Roads and Ruins, 58–66. 188. Muñoz, Campidoglio, 23. 189. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 73–74. 190. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 26, 367–68. 191. Muñoz, Via dei Monti e Via del Mare, 31. 192. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography (New York: Hill & Wang, 1981), 76–94. 193. Antonio Muñoz, “Roma che sparisce: La Mostra dell’Associazione Aristica a Via Margutta,” Capitolium 3.2 (1927): 64. 194. Luigi de Gregori, “Mostra di Topografia Romana,” Capitolium 5.10 (1929): 520. 195. For institutional histories of the Museo di Roma and overviews of its collections, see Rossella Leone, Il Museo di Roma racconta la città (Rome: Gangemi, 2002) and


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Carlo Pietrangeli, Il Museo di Roma: Documenti e iconografia (Bologna: Cappelli, 1971). Both publications, however, are largely geared toward the museum as it appeared following its relocation and expansion after the Second World War. 196. Muñoz, Il Museo di Roma, 70. 197. Giuseppe Ceccarelli, “Fondazione ed organizzazione del ‘Museo di Roma,’” Atti del I Congresso Nazionale di Studi Romani, vol. 1 (1928), 666. 198. Muñoz, Il Museo di Roma, 8–10. Significantly, Muñoz employs the term romanesco, denoting the indigenous traditions and dialect of post-classical Rome, rather than the more general and historical designation of romano. 199. Pio Molajoni, “Roma capitale,” Capitolium 8.1–2 (1932): 64. 200. Ceccarelli, “Fondazione ed organizzazione del ‘Museo di Roma,’” 668. 201. Muñoz, Via dei Monti e Via del Mare, 35. 202. Antonio Muñoz, “Nuove sale del Museo di Roma,” Capitolium 10.4 (1934): 174. 203. Muñoz, Il Museo di Roma, 50. 204. Ibid., 7. 205. Ibid., 8. 206. Angelo Flavio Guidi, “Ore e momenti della nuova Roma,” Il Progresso ItaloAmericano (New York), April 15, 1938. 207. Pierre Nora, “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire,” Representations 26 (1989): 7–24. 208. Muñoz, Via dei Monti e Via del Mare, 35. 209. Muñoz, L’isolamento del colle capitolino, 6. 210. Vincenzo Morello, “La Roma del Fascismo,” Capitolium 3.1 (1927): 7. On the unfamiliarity of Fascist Rome, see Baxa, Roads and Ruins, 54–75. 211. Arturo Bianchi, “Il centro di Roma: La sistemazione del Foro Italico e le nuove vie del mare e dei monti,” Architettura 12.3 (1933): 137. 212. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 130. 213. Muñoz, Via dei Monti e Via del Mare, 14. 214. Muñoz, Roma di Mussolini, 96. 215. “I lavori di Roma,” Il Messaggero, May 26, 1937. 4. The Totalitarian Museum: The Mostra Augustea della Romanità, 1937–1938

1. Giuseppe Bottai, L’Italia di Augusto e l’Italia di oggi (Rome: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1937). 2. Ibid., 20. 3. Ibid., 2. 4. Other major monuments included the arches of Augustus in Rimini and Fano, Roman amphitheaters in Arezzo, Viterbo, and Lecce, and excavations in the ancient centers of Milan, Brescia, and Aquileia. With the exception of the works in Rome, all excavations were paid for by local authorities. See MCR MAR b. 150, fasc. “Mostra e bimillenario—memorie e documenti.” 5. Interestingly, the organizers of the bimillenary used stringent criteria in assessing the claims of each town; for example, the Campanian town of Ottaviano was denied a statue because it had changed its name from the more etymologically

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suspect Ottaiano in 1933; its request was dismissed as “nothing more than political posturing” by the archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri. See Maiuri to Galassi Paluzzi, October 12, 1935, in MCR MAR b. 22, fasc. “Mostra e bimillenario.” Similar correspondence can be found in the same folder. 6. Massimo Pallottino, “La Mostra Augustea della Romanità,” Capitolium 12.15 (1937): 519. 7. This case has been made most forcefully by Marla Stone, who argues that after a period of “aesthetic pluralism” from the late 1920s to the mid-1930s, the regime’s increasing preoccupation with empire and expansion led to a hegemonic cultural policy that privileged classicism over modernist aesthetics; see Stone, Patron State. 8. Stone, “Flexible Rome, 215. See also Mariella Cagnetta, “Il mito di Augusto e la ‘rivoluzione’ fascista,” Quaderni di Storia 2, no. 3 (1976): 139–82. 9. Friedemann Scriba borrows from all three metaphors. See Friedemann Scriba, Augustus im Schwartzenhemd? Die Mostra Augustea della Romanità (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1995); “The Sacralization of the Roman Past in Mussolini’s Italy: Erudition, Aesthetics, and Religion in the Exhibition of Augustus’ Bimillenary in 1937–38,” Storia della Storiografia 30 (1996): 19–30; and “Il mito di Roma, l’estetica e gli intellettuali negli anni di consenso: La Mostra Augustea della Romanità 1937/38,” Quaderni di Storia 21, no. 41 (1995): 67–84. 10. Abu El-Haj, Facts on the Ground, 7. 11. For long-term assessments of this museological project, from its origins in 1911 to the present, see Joshua Arthurs, “(Re)Presenting Roman History in Italy, 1911–1955,” in Nationalism, Historiography and the (Re)Construction of the Past, ed. Claire Norton (Washington, DC: New Academia Press, 2007), 27–41, and Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio, Dalla mostra al museo: Dalla Mostra Archeologica di 1911 al Museo della Civiltà Romana (Venice: Marsilio, 1983). 12. Catalogo della Mostra Archeologica nelle Terme di Diocleziano (Bergamo: Istituto Italiano d’Arti Grafiche, 1911), 9. 13. Ibid. 14. “Un vernissage archeologico alle Terme,” Il Giornale d’Italia, April 21, 1911. On Bigot and his model, see Manuel Royo, “La mémoire de l’architecte,” in Rome: L’espace urbain et ses représentations, ed. François Hinard and Manuel Royo (Paris: Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 1991), 201–21, and Paola Ciancio Rossetto, “La reconstitution de Rome antique: Du plan-relief de Bigot à celui de Gismondi,” in ibid., 237–56. 15. Catalogo della Mostra Archeologica nelle Terme di Diocleziano, 9–10. 16. Attilio Rossi, “Le Terme Diocleziane e la Mostra archeologica,” La Tribuna, March 7, 1911. 17. On Libya, see chapter 5. 18. Program of the Executive Committee, July 6, 1909, in ACS PCM 1910, fasc. 16. 19. Louis Chatelain, “L’archéologie à l’exposition universelle de Rome,” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 4.7 (1912): 79. 20. “Alle Terme Diocleziane,” Roma—Rassegna Illustrata dell’Esposizione del 1911 2.14 (1911), 14.


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21. Rodolfo Lanciani, “La Mostra Archeologica alle Terme Diocleziane,” Roma— Rassegna Illustrata dell’Esposizione del 1911, 2.5–6 (1911), 11–12. Italics in original. 22. Documentation on the storage and ownership of the collections during this period can be found in ACS MPI AABBAA 1908–24 Div. I, b. 891. 23. Giulio Quirino Giglioli, Museo dell’Impero Romano (Rome: R. Garroni, 1929), x. 24. For a rather hagiographic and apologetic biography of Giglioli written by one of his collaborators, see Marcello Pallottino, Giulio Quirino Giglioli (Rome: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1958). 25. For example, Daniele Manacorda deems Giglioli to be the quintessential “archaeological Fascist”—that is, a Fascist engaging in archaeological activity—as opposed to other “Fascist archaeologists” whose work merely intersected with the exigencies of the regime; see Daniele Manacorda and Renato Tamassia, Il piccone del regime (Rome: Armando Curcio, 1985), 19. 26. Pallottino, Giulio Quirino Giglioli, 9. 27. Giglioli to De Francisci, January 24, 1938, MCR MAR b. 28, fasc. “Università.” Giglioli also appears as an active participant in the Roman wing of ANI; see Roccucci, Roma capitale del nazionalismo (1908–1923). 28. Pallottino, Giulio Quirino Giglioli, 8–9. 29. Giglioli’s favored position within the regime is also clear from his extensive correspondence with Mussolini’s secretariat. In the years and months leading up to the Mostra Augustea, he met frequently with the Duce; other correspondence includes congratulations on his wedding, condolences for the death of his mother, and Giglioli’s volunteering for the armed forces (at age fifty-seven) the day before Mussolini was ousted by the Fascist Grand Council. See ACS SPD CO b. 2285, fasc. 546254. 30. Giglioli to PCM, January 27, 1933, MCR MAR, b. 11, fasc. “Corrispondenza varia.” 31. Giglioli to Medici del Vascello, December 9, 1936, in MCR MAR b. 22, fasc. “Mostra e bimillenario.” 32. Giglioli to Muñoz, June 10, 1935, MCR MAR, b. 11, fasc. “Roma città,” sotto. “Progetti, proposte ed offerte di collaborazione.” Giglioli expresses similar concerns with regard to a 1935 proposal for an international exposition of latinity; see correspondence with Galassi Paluzzi in MCR MAR b. 22, fasc. “Mostra e bimillenario.” See also Giglioli to Galassi Paluzzi, March 26, 1934, ISR CCM b. 209, fasc. 2, sotto. “Giglioli.” 33. Galassi Paluzzi to Giglioli, July 11, 1932, ISR CCM b. 213, fasc. 34, sotto. “Giglioli,” and Galassi Paluzzi to Colini, January 16, 1932, in MCR MAR b. 22, fasc. “Mostra e bimillenario.” 34. These squabbles continued for much of the organizing period; see the extensive correspondence in ISR CCM b. 213, fasc. 34, sotto. “Giglioli.” 35. Giulio Quirino Giglioli, “Il Museo dell’Impero Romano,” Capitolium 3.1 (1927): 8. 36. Speech by Governatore Boncompagni Ludovisi inaugurating the new seat of the Museo dell’Impero Romano, June 20, 1929, in MCR MAR b. 153, fasc. “Museo dell’Impero.” 37. Giulio Quirino Giglioli, “Origine e sviluppo del Museo dell’Impero Romano,” Capitolium 4.6 (1928): 307.

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38. Giulio Quirino Giglioli, “Organizzazione della raccolta dei documenti archeologici della romanità,” Atti del I Congresso Nazionale di Studi Romani, vol. 1 (1928), 71. 39. For this plan, see Giglioli’s proposal to the first national congress of the Istituto di Studi Romani: “Organizzazione della raccolta dei documenti archeologici della romanità,” Atti del I Congresso Nazionale di Studi Romani, vol. 1 (1928), 71. 40. Giglioli, Museo dell’Impero Romano, xi. 41. “Valci,” “Il Museo dell’Impero Romano,” Lo Scandaglio, April 15, 1934, in MCR MAR RS. 42. Giulio Quirino Giglioli, “Per il secondo millenario di Augusto,” Atti del II Congresso Nazionale di Studi Romani, vol. 1 (1930), 279. The original proposal included all the elements of the final program, though notably the Mostra Augustea was not included and only added in 1932. 43. On the Virgilian bimillenary, see Luciano Canfora, “Fascismo e bimillenario della nascita di Virgilio,” ed. Francesco Della Corte, Enciclopedia virgiliana (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1985). On the Horatian bimillenary, see Mariella Cagnetta, L’edera di Orazio: Aspetti politici del bimillenario oraziano (Osanna Venosa: Venosa, 1990). Both authors note a distinction between the bucolic and “pacific” themes of 1930—often explicitly tied back to the regime’s ruralization policy—and the more aggressive rhetoric of 1935, stressing Horace’s dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. 44. Giulio Quirino Giglioli, “Per il secondo millenario di Augusto,” Atti del II Congresso Nazionale di Studi Romani, vol. 1 (1930), 277. 45. There is considerable literature on the MRF; see Gigliola Fioravanti, ed., Mostra della rivoluzione fascista (Rome: Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, 1990); Alessandra Capanna, Roma 1932: Mostra della rivoluzione fascista (Turin: Testo & Immagine, 2004); and Jeffrey Thompson Schnapp, Anno X: La mostra della rivoluzione fascista del 1932 (Pisa: Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali, 2003). On the MRF’s significance for the Fascist historic imaginary, see Fogu, Historic Imaginary, 132–89. 46. On the design and content of the MRF, see Marla Stone, “Staging Fascism: The Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution,” Journal of Contemporary History 28, no. 2 (1993): 215–43; Libero Andreotti, “The Aesthetics of War: The Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution,” Journal of Architectural Education 45, no. 2 (1992): 76–86; and Jeffrey T. Schnapp, “Fascism’s Museum in Motion,” Journal of Architectural Education (1984–) 45, no. 2 (1992): 87–97. 47. Renzo U. Montini, “Continuità imperiale di Roma: Dalla Mostra Augustea della Romanità alla Mostra della Rivoluzione,” Costruire, October 1937, in MCR MAR RS. 48. Giglioli to PCM, July 16, 1932, in MCR MAR b. 8, fasc. “Preparazione MAR 1932.” The ISR and MIR’s monopoly over the bimillenary agenda was reinforced by Mussolini in 1934; see Bianchetti to Galassi Paluzzi, March 23, 1934, ISR CCM b. 209, fasc. 3. 49. According to Giglioli, acquisitions included over 400 objects from Germany, over 300 from France, and 120 from Britian, to name the largest donors. See Bruno D’Agostini, “Roma eternal nel mondo: Il Duce assiste alla cerimonia di chiusura della Mostra Augustea,” Il Messaggero, November 7, 1938, in MCR MAR RS.


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50. Scriba, Augustus im Schwartzenhemd? 17–20. 51. Pallottino, “Mostra Augustea della Romanità,” 526. 52. Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Catalogo (Rome: C. Colombo, 1937), x–xi. The expertise of Italian artists in producing these reproductions was often trumpeted in publicity for the MAR; see for example the newsreel footage from Giornale Luce B1131, July 21, 1937, at www.archivioluce.it. 53. Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Catalogo, xvi. 54. Memmo Padovini, “I ciechi erano venuti a vedere la Mostra Augustea,” Il Tevere (Rome), June 20, 1938, in MCR MAR RS. 55. Ibid. 56. Giulio Quirino Giglioli, “La Mostra Augustea della Romanità,” Architettura 17.11 (1938): 657. 57. On the design of the MAR’s rooms, see Marco Rinaldi, “La Mostra Augustea della Romanità (1937–1938): Architettura, scenografia e propaganda in alcuni progetti inediti di allestimento,” Ricerche di Storia dell’Arte, no. 63 (1997): 91–108. 58. Pallottino, “Mostra Augustea della Romanità,” 521–22. 59. A full account of the advertising campaign can be found in a report by Giglioli, undated, in MCR MAR b. 200, fasc. 1, “Ufficio stampa e propaganda.” 60. In MCR MAR b. 201, fasc. 7, sotto. “Radio.” 61. At least three newsreels were produced—see Luce online archive (www.archivioluce.com), Giornale Luce B1131 (July 21, 1937), B1175 (September 29, 1937), and B1404 (November 9, 1938). 62. Nella luce di Roma can also be viewed in the Luce online archive (www. archivioluce.com). 63. MCR MAR b. “Ricordi,” fasc. 1. 64. Giglioli’s inaugural speech, reprinted in Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Catalogo, vii–viii. 65. Massano to Giglioli, November 26, 1938, in MCR MAR b. “Ricordi,” fasc. 2. 66. See ISR CCM b. 216, fasc. 50. 67. “The Bimillennium of Augutus’ Birth,” Classical Journal 33.3 (1938): 186. 68. Pallottino, “Mostra Augustea della Romanità,” 526. 69. Ibid., 520–21. 70. Ibid., 520. 71. “Come è stata preparata la MAR,” undated report by Giglioli, in MCR MAR b. “Ricordi,” fasc. 4, sotto. 1. 72. Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Catalogo, 10. 73. Ibid., 24. 74. Nicola Turchi, La religione (Rome: C. Colombo, 1939), 7. Turchi’s work is part of the Collana Civiltà Romana, a collection of over twenty short volumes published between 1938 and 1942 under the aegis of the MAR and written by scholars involved in its organization; each volume examines a theme—“Religion,” “Roads,” “The Calendar”—illustrated in the MAR’s collections. Several of these “volumetti” are employed here. 75. Ibid., 8. 76. Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Catalogo, 38.

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77. Alfredo Passerini, Lotte e conquiste della repubblica 135–58 av.Cr (Rome: C. Colombo, 1939), 63. 78. Renzo U. Montini, “Continuità imperiale: Dalla Mostra Augustea della Romanità alla Mostra della Rivoluzione,” Costruire, October 1937, in MCR MAR RS. 79. Francesco Lo Bianco, La costituzione del principato (Rome: C. Colombo, 1942), 5. 80. Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Catalogo, 76. 81. Radio address, September 23, 1938, in MCR MAR b. “Ricordi,” fasc. 3. 82. Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Catalogo, 118. 83. Karl Galinsky, Classical and Modern Interactions: Postmodern Architecture, Multiculturalism, Decline, and Other Issues (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992), 96. 84. Available at http://www.archivioluce.com. 85. Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Catalogo, 245. 86. Salvatore Riccobono, “La politica demografica di Augusto,” Capitolium 12.16 (1937): 574. 87. Ibid. 88. Pallottino, “Mostra Augustea della Romanità,” 522–23. 89. Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Catalogo, 328. 90. Ubaldo Marconi, “La Città Eterna convoca il mondo per il bimillenario Augusteo,” L’Avvenire d’Italia (Bologna), August 18, 1937, in MCR MAR RS. 91. Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Catalogo, 362. 92. Undated (1938), MCR MAR b. 10, “Conferenze radiofoniche.” 93. Ibid. 94. Giulio Quirino Giglioli, “La Mostra Augustea della Romanità,” Palladio 1.6 (1937): 201. 95. Michelangelo Cagiano de Azevedo, Le strade (Rome: C. Colombo, 1939), 31. 96. Pallottino, “Mostra Augustea della Romanità,” 525. 97. Untitled, undated report by Giglioli, in MCR MAR b. “Ricordi,” fasc. 9, sotto. 20. 98. Ibid. 99. Salvatore Puglisi, Le associazioni giovanili (Rome: C. Colombo, 1938), 9. 100. Ibid., 6. 101. Turchi, La religione, 8–9. 102. Mostra Augustea della Romanità: Catalogo, 599. 103. “La famiglia romana,” Cronaca Prealpina (Varese), July 7, 1938, in MCR MAR RS. 104. Ibid. 105. Nella Luce di Roma, in www.archivioluce.it. 106. Emilio Cecchi, “Armi, diritto e famiglia alla Mostra Augustea,” Lettura, December 1, 1937, in MCR MAR RS. 107. See what remains the most authoritative survey of Augustan culture, Paul Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1988), 101. 108. Ronald Syme, The Roman Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1960), 4. It should be noted, though, that Syme’s frame of reference was the Bolshevik Revolution, not the Fascist or Nazi seizures of power.


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109. On the intersection of taxonomy and meaning, see Eilean Hooper-Greenhill, Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge (New York: Routledge, 1992), 1–22. HooperGreenhill argues (by way of Foucault’s Order of Things) that the taxonomy of museological artifacts—while claiming the authority of the “natural” or self-evident—both assigns significance to artifacts and expresses underlying social values. 110. Sùrico to Giglioli, November 30, 1937, MCR MAR b. “Visite collettive.” 111. These extracts are taken from MCR MAR b. “Ricordi,” sotto. 8, and date from between September and December 1937. 112. Mario Meneghini, “Mostra Augustea e pellicole didattiche,” L’Osservatore Romano, October 2, 1937, in MCR MAR RS. 113. A. Ferrua, “La Mostra Augustea della Romanità,” La Civiltà Cattolica, December 18, 1937, 490–91. 114. L’Orto (Bologna), December 1937, 539–40. In MCR MAR, drawer 40, loose documents. 115. Ibid. 116. Van Buren to Giglioli, September 23, 1937, MCR MAR b. “Inaugurazione,” fasc. 2. 117. Rostovtzeff to Galassi Paluzzi, July 31, 1938, in MCR MAR b. 201, fasc. 11, sotto. “Convegno Augusteo.” Rostovtzeff was a Russian emigré, and his antiBolshevism made him sympathetic to Mussolini’s regime; notably, however, the academic value of the Mostra Augustea is stressed here. 118. John Muray, “The Immortality of Rome,” Month (1937), 527, in MCR MAR RS. 119. Ibid. 120. “B.S.,” “L’Exposition d’Auguste et de la Romanité: Esprit latin, culture latine,” Le Nouvelliste (Lyon), August 21, 1938, in MCR MAR RS. 121. Ibid. 122. Ibid. 123. Text of Giglioli’s closing speech, November 7, 1938, in MCR MAR b. “Chiusura.” 124. Undated report by Giglioli (December 1937) in ACS PCM 1937–39 fasc. 14, sotto. 1, no. 918, sotto. 4.1. For the numbers on receipts, see Giglioli to Medici del Vascello, January 27, 1938, in ACS PCM 1937–39 fasc. 14, sotto. 1, no. 918, sotto. 4.2. 125. Report by Giglioli, April 15, 1938, in ACS PCM 1937–1939 fasc. 14, sotto. 1, no. 918, sotto. 4.1. 126. From Giglioli’s closing speech, November 7, 1938, in MCR MAR b. “Chiusura.” On attendance figures, see Massano to Giglioli, November 26, 1938, MCR MAR b. “Ricordi,” fasc. 2. 127. Office of PCM to PNF and OND, December 31, 1937, in ACS PCM 1937–39 fasc. 14, sotto. 1, no. 918, sotto. 4.6. 128. Massano to Giglioli, November 26, 1938, MCR MAR b. “Ricordi,” fasc. 2. 129. Giglioli to Medici del Vascello, June 1938, in MCR MAR b. 10, fasc. “Mostre e congressi,” sotto. “Mostra Dopolavoro.” Marla Stone has observed a similar problem at the MRF—see Stone, “Staging Fascism,” 233–36. 130. See the extensive correspondence between Giglioli and Alfieri, March to July 1938, in MCR MAR b. 8, fasc. “MinCulPop.” Itineraries and details of Hitler’s visit to the MAR can be found in ACS MinCulPop Gab. b. 63, fasc. 4212.

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131. Giglioli to Medici del Vascello, October 5, 1938, in ACS PCM 1937–39 14.1 fasc. 918, sotto. 13. On military attendance figures, see D’Agostini, “Roma eternal nel mondo.” 132. “N.,” “Il Duce al rito di chiusura della Mostra Augustea della Romanità,” Il Corriere della Sera, November 7, 1938, in MCR MAR RS. 133. See for example the correspondence between Giglioli and Bottai over further discounts for school groups; Giglioli insists that “I count on school group attendance considerably, not only to sustain our operating costs . . . but to be able, at the conclusion of the exhibition, to present the Duce with a significant sum . . . reimbursing the costs.” Giglioli to Bottai, October 19, 1937, in MCR MAR b. 8, fasc. “Min.Ed.Naz.” 134. Report to Mussolini, June 1938 in MCR MAR b. 8 fasc. “Corrispondenza 1938.” 135. By contrast, the Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista of 1932 claimed to have seen 3,854,927 visitors, see Jeffrey Schnapp, “Epic Demonstrations: Fascist Modernity and the 1932 Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution,” in Fascism, Aesthetics, and Culture, ed. Richard Golsan (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1992), 5. 136. D’Agostini, “Roma eternal nel mondo.” 137. Ibid. 138. November 7, 1938, MCR MAR b. “Chiusura.” 5. Empire, Race, and the Decline of Romanità, 1936–1945

1. Mussolini, Opera Omnia, vol. 27, 269. 2. This is the argument made by many scholars of Fascist culture, most notably in Stone, Patron State. 3. See Renzo De Felice, Mussolini il duce: Lo stato totalitario 1936–1940 (Turin: Einaudi, 1996), 100. 4. Gentile, Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy, 79. Robert Paxton believes that a phase of radicalization (or, conversely, of entropy) is part of the development of all fascist regimes; he argues that although the Italian regime pursued a more conservative, statist policy than its German counterpart, the late thirties did indeed see a concerted effort to reinvigorate the Fascist agenda. See Robert Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 164–69. 5. The historiography on Fascist racism and anti-Semitism is vast and contentious. For historians like Renzo De Felice and Meir Michaelis, the adoption of racism represented a major departure and was largely a foreign importation, an opportunistic move by Mussolini “to reenergize Fascism, to strengthen the alliance with Nazi Germany, and to regulate the interactions between Italians and natives in the African colonies” ( Joshua D. Zimmerman, “Introduction,” in Jews in Italy under Fascist and Nazi Rule, ed. Joshua D. Zimmerman [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005], 5); in their view, biological racism and anti-Semitism were not endemic to Italian culture. Conversely, later work by scholars like Michele Sarfatti has stressed the long-term roots of racism and anti-Semitism, not only in Fascism before 1938 but more generally in Italian science and culture. For the former perspective, see Renzo De Felice, Storia degli ebrei italiani sotto il fascismo (Turin: Einaudi, 1961) and


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Meir Michaelis, Mussolini and the Jews: German-Italian Relations and the Jewish Question in Italy, 1922–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978). For the latter, see Michele Sarfatti, Gli ebrei nell’Italia fascista: Vicende, identità, persecuzione (Turin: Einaudi, 2000); Roberto Maiocchi, Scienza italiana e razzismo fascista (Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1999); and Alberto Burgio, Nel nome della razza: Il razzismo nella storia d’Italia 1870–1945 (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1999). 6. Cannistraro, “Mussolini’s Cultural Revolution,” 128. For similar arguments, see Maiocchi, Scienza italiana e razzismo fascista; Cagnetta, Antichisti e impero fascista; and Luigi Preti, Impero fascista africani ed ebrei (Milan: U. Mursia, 1968). 7. On Scipione l’Africano, see Maria Wyke, Projecting the Past: Ancient Rome, Cinema and History (New York: Routledge, 1997), 21–22, and Bondanella, Eternal City, 210–13. 8. Norman Vance, The Victorians and Ancient Rome (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997) and Philip Freeman, “British Imperialism and the Roman Empire,” in Roman Imperialism: Post-Colonial Perspectives, ed. Jane Webster and Nicholas J. Cooper, Leicester Archaeology Monographs 3 (Leicester, UK: School of Archaeological Studies, University of Leicester, 1996), 19–34. 9. Said, Orientalism, 3, and Bernard S. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: The British in India (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 10. 10. On Britain, see Richard Hingley, Roman Officers and English Gentlemen: The Imperial Origins of Roman Archaeology (New York: Routledge, 2000); on Germany, see Suzanne L. Marchand, Down from Olympus: Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750–1970 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996); on France, see Patricia Lorcin, “Rome and France in Africa: Recovering Algeria’s Latin Past,” French Historical Studies 25, no. 2 (2002): 295–329, and David J. Mattingly, “From One Colonialism to Another: Imperialism and the Maghreb,” in Webster and Cooper, Roman Imperialism, 49–69. 11. Bruce Trigger, “Alternative Archaeologies: Nationalist, Colonial, Imperialist,” Man 19, no. 3 (1984): 355–70. 12. Nadia Abu El-Haj, “Translating Truths: the Practice of Archaeology, and the Remaking of Past and Present in Contemporary Jerusalem,” American Ethnologist 25, no. 2 (1998): 166–88. As Mia Fuller notes, architecture—whether ancient or modern—was consistently used to juxtapose Italian civilization and native primitiveness, in both North and East Africa; see Mia Fuller, Moderns Abroad: Architecture, Cities and Italian Imperialism (New York: Routledge, 2007). 13. On Italian colonial archaeology in Libya during the Liberal and Fascist eras, see Munzi, L’epica del ritorno, and Altekamp, Rückkehr nach Afrika. For a broader view of Italian archaeology around the Mediterranean, see Marta Petricioli, Archeologia e Mare Nostrum: Le missioni archeologiche nella politica mediterranea dell’Italia, 1898/1943 (Rome: V. Levi, 1990) and Vincenzo La Rosa, L’archeologia italiana nel Mediterraneo fino alla seconda guerra mondiale (Catania: Centro di studi per l’archeologia greca CNR, 1986). 14. Federico Ravagli, Tripolitania nostra (Tripoli: Governo della Tripolitania, Direzione degli Affari Economici e della Colonizzazione, 1929), 2 and ix. 15. Francesco Corò, Vestigia di colonie agricole romane: Gebel nefusa (Rome: Sindicato italiano arti grafiche, 1929), 5.

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16. “Vestigia di colonie agricole romane nel Gebel-Nefusa,” L’Italia Coloniale 8.11 (1930). 17. Giuseppe Maggiore, Imperialismo e impero fascista (Palermo: Arceri & Agate, 1937), 23. 18. For a broader discussion of Roman imperial identities, see Emma Dench, Romulus’ Asylum: Roman Identities from the Age of Alexander to the Age of Hadrian (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005). 19. See Patrick Geary, The Myth of Nations: The Medieval Origins of Europe (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002), 63. 20. On French colonial ideology, see Alice L Conklin, A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895–1930 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997). 21. On the Fascist state’s own ideas of imperial hierarchy, subordination, and coordination, see Davide Rodogno, Fascism’s European Empire: Italian Occupation during the Second World War (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 42–70. Consciously emulating the Roman model, theorists envisioned three concentric circles that reflected cultural hierarchies—the first around a greater Italy (which also included “unredeemed” territories like Corsica and Dalmatia); the second, with various levels of gradation, encompassing subjected and allied European peoples; and the third including the subject peoples of Africa and the Middle East. 22. Maggiore, Imperialismo e impero fascista, 149. 23. Pietro De Francisci, “Civiltà romana,” in Politica fascista della razza (Rome: Istituto Nazionale di Cultura Fascista, 1940), 10–11. 24. Carlo Galassi Paluzzi, “Romanità di Pio XI,” Roma 17.3 (1939): 90. 25. On the convergence of Fascist and Catholic conceptions of empire, see Renato Moro, “Il mito dell’impero in Italia fra universalismo cristiano e totalitarismo,” in Cattolicesimo e totalitarismo: Chiese e culture religiose tra le due guerre mondiali (Italia, Spagna, Francia) (Brescia: Morcelliana, 2004), 311–72. 26. M. Barbera, “Romanità genuina nell’Istituto di Studi Romani,” La Civiltà Cattolica 89.2 (1938): 295–96. 27. Salvatore Riccobono, Il diritto romano indice del genio della stirpe (Rome: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1941), 6. 28. Gustavo Giovannoni, L’architettura come volontà costruttiva del genio romano e italico (Rome: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1939), 17. 29. Vincenzo Varriale, Romani in Tripolitania (Naples: Arte Grafiche F. Cafieri, 1940), 31. 30. Giovanni Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza (Florence: Istituto Nazionale di Cultura Fascista, 1939), 39. 31. Pietro Romanelli, Le grandi strade romane nell’Africa settentrionale (Istituto di Studi Romani, 1938), 4. 32. Francesco Barbacci, “Roma nel mondo,” Gioventù fascista 5.1 (1935): 6. 33. Pietro Romanelli, Le colonie italiane di diretto dominio:Vestigia del passato (monumenti e scavi) (Rome: Ministero delle Colonie, Ufficio Studi e Propaganda, 1930), 9. 34. Ibid., 11. 35. Aristide Calderini, “Documenti per la storia degli etiopi e dei loro rapporti col mondo romano,” Atti del IV Congresso Nazionale dell’Istituto di Studi Romani


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(Rome: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1938), vol. 2, 324. On the absence of architecture in Italian East Africa, see Mia Fuller, “Building Power: Italy’s Colonial Architecture and Urbanism, 1923–1940,” Cultural Anthropology 3, no. 4 (1988): 455–87. 36. Ibid. 37. De Francisci, “Civiltà romana,” 14. 38. Giuseppe Bottai, “Roma e la scuola italiana,” Roma 17.1 (1939): 6. 39. Istituto di Studi Romani, Quel che la Francia deve e non ha dato a Roma e all’Italia (Rome: Armani di M. Courrier, 1940), 9 and 13. 40. Istituto di Studi Romani, I moderni cartaginesi (Rome: Armani di M. Courrier, 1940). 41. Maggiore, Imperialismo e impero fascista, 69. 42. Ibid., 172. 43. Rodogno, Fascism’s European Empire, 42–70. 44. Giorgio Quartara, La futura pace (Milan: Fratelli Bocca, 1942), 487. See also Domenico Soprano, Spazio vitale (Milan: Corbaccio, 1942). 45. On EUR, see Tullio Gregory and Achille Tartaro, eds., E42: Utopia e scenario del regime, vol. 1 (Venice: Marsilio, 1987); Maurizio Calvesi, Enrico Guidoni, and Simonetta Lux, eds., E42: Utopia e scenario del regime, vol. 2 (Venice: Marsilio, 1987); and Luigi Di Majo and Italo Insolera, L’EUR e Roma dagli anni trenta al duemila (Rome: Laterza, 1986). 46. Handbook “E42 Programma di Massima” by the EUR Commissariato Generale, 1937, in MCR MAR loose materials, drawer 40. 47. Ibid. On plans for the “Olympics of civilizations,” see Gigliola Fioravanti, “L’Olimpiade delle civiltà: Programmi, strutture, organizzazione,” in E42: Utopia e scenario del regime, ed. Tullio Gregory and Achille Tartaro, vol. 1 (Rome: Marsilio, 1987), 91–101. 48. “Mostra della Civiltà Italiana: Criteri fondamentali per la presentazione della Mostra,” 2 and 4. Unpublished plan, dated 1939, in MCR MAR loose materials. 49. The organization of the exhibition was clearly indebted to both the Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista and the Mostra Augustea della Romanità, discussed in chapter 4; indeed, Giulio Quirino Giglioli and his colleagues were responsible for the sections on classical antiquity. 50. Untitled, undated plan in MCR MAR b. 160, fasc. 1, 3–4. 51. For a survey of EUR exhibitions, see Gregory and Tartaro, E42: Utopia e scenario del regime, 1:103–40. 52. Maria Luisa Neri, “Note sull’espansione di Roma verso il mare,” Storia Urbana 82–83 (1998): 31–48, and Mia Fuller, “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Fascist Plans for the Colonial City of Addis Ababa and the Colonizing Suburb of EUR ’42,” Journal of Contemporary History 31, no. 2 (1996): 397–418. 53. Commissariato Generale dell’Esposizione Universale di Roma, Esposizione Universale di Roma—MCMXLII—Anno XX EF (Livorno: G. Chiappini, 1939), 26. 54. Pamphlet Esposizione Universale, dated 1939, 4, in MCR MAR RS. 55. Handbook E42 Programma di Massima by the EUR Commissariato Generale, 1937, in MCR MAR loose materials, drawer 40. 56. On the planning of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, see Calvesi, Guidoni, and Lux, E42: Utopia e scenario del regime, 2:353–70. 57. Pamphlet Esposizione Universale, dated 1939, 8, in MCR MAR RS.

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58. On plans for the monumental arch, see Calvesi, Guidoni, and Lux, E42: Utopia e scenario del regime, 2:467–70. 59. Commissariato Generale dell’Esposizione Universale di Roma, Esposizione Universale di Roma—MCMXLII—Anno XX EF, 48–49. 60. On the planning of this building, today the Museo della Civiltà Romana, see Calvesi, Guidoni, and Lux, E42: Utopia e scenario del regime, 2:481–84. 61. On architectural classicism and EUR, see Giorgio Ciucci, “The Classicism of the E42: Between Modernity and Tradition,” Assemblage, no. 8 (1989): 79–87. 62. Fuller, “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” 413. 63. Galassi Paluzzi, L’attività dell’Istituto di Studi Romani durante l’anno accademico 1938–39—XVII, 44. The commission included Galassi Paluzzi, the historian Giuseppe Cardinali, and the anthropologists Ugo Rellini and Sergio Sergi. 64. On this series, see MCR MAR b. 251, fasc. “Varie.” 65. On the Mostra della Razza and Giglioli’s involvement, see MCR MAR b. 170, “Preparazione Mostra della Razza.” 66. The most thorough examination of these debates is Aaron Gillette, Racial Theories in Fascist Italy (New York: Routledge, 2002). 67. The text of the manifesto can be found reprinted in Preti, Impero fascista africani ed ebrei, 250–51. 68. Ibid., 251. 69. Ibid. 70. Pericle Ducati, Italia preromana e stirpe italica: Il concetto di stirpe e civiltà di Roma antica I–II (Rome: Istituto di Studi Romani, 1940), 3. 71. Arrigo Solmi, “L’unità etnica della nazione italiana nella storia,” La Difesa della Razza 1.1 (1938): 8. 72. Ibid. 73. See Anthony D. Smith, “Authenticity, Antiquity and Archaeology,” Nations and Nationalism 7, no. 4 (2001): 441–49. 74. Ugo Rellini, Civiltà mediterranea e civiltà aria (Rome: Istituto Nazionale di Cultura Fascista, 1940), 42. 75. Giovanni Giraldi, “La razza movente della storia,” La Difesa della Razza 3.23 (1940): 25. On La Difesa’s view of the ancient Romans, see Philippe Foro, “Racisme, fascisme et antiquité: L’exemple de la revue La Difesa della Razza (1938–1943),” Vingtième Siècle: Revue d’histoire 78, no. 2 (2003): 121–31. On La Difesa della Razza in general, see Centro Furio Jesi, La menzogna della razza: Documenti e immagini del razzismo e dell’antisemitismo fascista (Bologna: Grafis, 1994); Manfredi Martelli, La propaganda razziale in Italia 1938–1943 (Rimini: Il Cerchio, 2005); and Sandro Servi, “Building a Racial State: Images of the Jew in the Illustrated Fascist Magazine, La Difesa della Razza, 1938–1943,” in Jews in Italy under Fascist and Nazi Rule, ed. Joshua D. Zimmerman (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 114–57. 76. Roberto Bartolozzi, “Razzismo di Catone maggiore,” La Difesa della Razza 2.2 (1938): 30. 77. Roberto Bartolozzi, “Il razzismo di Cesare,” La Difesa della Razza 1.4 (1938): 21. 78. Ibid. 79. Mario Baccigalupi, “La dottrina della razza in Tito Livio,” La Difesa della Razza 4.8 (1941): 30.


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80. Osvaldo Costanzi, “Tacito e il problema della razza,” La Difesa della Razza 2.14 (1939): 15–16. 81. Irma Marimpietri, “Razza e romanità nella poesia di Orazio,” La Difesa della Razza 2.14 (1939): 13. 82. Giorgio Almirante, “Roma antica e i giudei,” La Difesa della Razza 1.3 (1938): 27. Of course, Almirante went on to lead the neo-Fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano after World War II. 83. Almirante, “Roma antica e i giudei,” 27. 84. See Dench, Romulus’ Asylum, 225–32. 85. Arturo Sabatini, “Regresso delle nascite e tramonto d’imperi,” Razza e Civiltà 1.8 (1940): 632. 86. Franco Landogna, “Il problema razziale nell’impero romano,” Razza e Civiltà 1.2 (1940): 196. 87. Ibid., 196–97. 88. Ibid., 198. 89. Giorgio Almirante, “L’editto di Caracalla: Un semibarbaro spiana la via ai barbari,” La Difesa della Razza 1.1 (1938): 29. See also Franco Landogna, “L’unità della razza e della storia d’Italia,” Razza e Civiltà 1.1 (1940): 33–41. 90. Almirante, “L’editto di Caracalla,” 29. 91. Ibid. 92. De Francisci, “Civiltà romana,” 12. 93. Piero Pellicano, Ecco il diavolo: Israele! (Milan: Baldini & Castoldi, 1938), 8. 94. This tendency was by no means novel; for a survey of European attitudes toward the Phoenicians and Carthaginians (both positive and negative), see Martin Bernal, Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, vol. 1 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1987), 337–99, and Timothy Champion, “The Appropriation of the Phoenicians in British Imperial Ideology,” Nations and Nationalism 7, no. 4 (2001): 451–65. 95. See Cagnetta, Antichisti e impero fascista, 89–95. For a contemporary example, see Istituto di Studi Romani, I moderni cartaginesi. 96. See A. Trezzino, “Documentazione: Rivolte e sedizioni di ebrei nell’impero romano,” La Difesa della Razza 2.10 (1939): 23–26. 97. Paolo Guidotti, “Il popolo più antisociale dell’impero romano,” La Difesa della Razza 4.4 (1940): 21. 98. Alfredo De Donno, “L’ebraismo e il mondo latino,” in Inchiesta sulla razza, ed. Paolo Orano (Rome: Pinciana, 1939), 89–104. These claims were largely based on Cicero’s anti-Jewish invective Pro Flacco. 99. A. M. De Giglio, “Il giudaismo e l’impero romano,” La Difesa della Razza 2.23 (1939): 6–9. 100. Almirante, “Roma antica e i giudei,” 27. 101. Ottorino Gurrieri, “Il Tempio contro il Campidoglio,” La Difesa della Razza 5.2 (1942): 6. 102. Ibid., 9. 103. See Paolo Orano, Gli ebrei in Italia (Rome: Pinciana, 1938). 104. Ibid., 45. 105. Ibid.

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106. Catholicus, “Sant’Agostino e i giudei,” in Inchiesta sulla razza, ed. Paolo Orano (Rome: Pinciana, 1939), 71–72. 107. Alfredo De Donno, “L’ebraismo e il mondo latino,” in Orano, Inchiesta sulla razza, 98. 108. Ibid., 104 and 101. 109. On the cultural and ideological relationship between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, see Ruth Ben-Ghiat, “Italian Fascists and National Socialists: The Dynamics of an Uneasy Relationship,” in Art, Culture, and Media under the Third Reich, ed. Richard Etlin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 257–84, and Jens Petersen, “Italia-Germania: Percezioni, stereotipi, pregiudizi, immagini d’inimicizia,” in L’emigrazione tra Italia e Germania, ed. Jens Petersen (Manduria: Piero Lacaita, 1993), 199–219. 110. On the National Socialist cult of Germanentum and its connection to the land, see Bernard Mees, “Hitler and Germanentum,” Journal of Contemporary History 39, no. 2 (2004): 255–70; Michael Imort, “‘Eternal Forest—Eternal Volk’: The Rhetoric and Reality of National Socialist Forest Policy,” in How Green Were the Nazis? Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich, ed. Franz-Josef Brüggemeier, Mark Cioc, and Thomas Zeller (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2005), 43–72; and Mark Bassin, “Blood or Soil? The Völkisch Movement, the Nazis, and the Legacy of Geopolitik,” in Brüggemeier, Cioc, and Zeller, How Green Were the Nazis? 202–42. 111. For a long-term view of German philhellenism, see Marchand, Down from Olympus: Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750–1970. It should be noted that Hitler himself was extremely sympathetic toward Roman antiquity, particularly for its monumental architecture. His new vision for Berlin—to be renamed Germania—was directly inspired by the Pantheon, the Forum, and other classical monuments. See Frederic Spotts, Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 2003), 311–85; and Alex Scobie, Hitler’s State Architecture: The Impact of Classical Antiquity (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990). 112. On Nazi archaeology and the cult of the Germanic past, see Bettina Arnold and Henning Hassmann, “Archaeology in Nazi Germany: The Legacy of the Faustian Bargain,” in Nationalism, Politics, and the Practice of Archaeology, ed. Philip Kohl and Clare Fawcett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 70–81; Henning Hassmann, “Archaeology in the ‘Third Reich,’” in Archaeology, Ideology and Society: the German Experience, ed. Heinrich Härke (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2000), 65–139; Bettina Arnold, “The Past as Propaganda: Totalitarian Archaeology in Nazi Germany,” Antiquity 64, no. 244 (1990): 464–78; Alain Schnapp, “Archéologie e nazisme,” Quaderni di Storia 3, no. 5 (1977): 1–26; and W. J. McCann, “‘Volk und Germanentum’: The Presentation of the Past in Nazi Germany,” in The Politics of the Past, ed. Peter Gathercole and David Lowenthal (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990), 74–88. 113. From Albert Speer’s Inside the Third Reich (1970); quoted in Arnold, “Past as Propaganda,” 469. 114. Ottorino Gurrieri, “Razza di condottieri: Un perenne e prodigioso vivaio,” La Difesa della Razza 2.9 (1939): 8. 115. Alessandro Pavolini, “Capi e popolo,” in Italia e Germania: Maggio XVI, ed. Gherardo Casini (Rome: Libreria Ulpiano, 1938), 15. 116. Giovanni Ansaldo, “Romanità e germanesimo,” in Casini, Italia e Germania, 79.


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117. Ibid., 80. 118. Ibid., 81. 119. Giuseppe Bottai, “Rapporti tra l’Italia e la Germania sul piano spirituale e politico,” in Romanità e germanesimo, ed. Jolanda De Blasi (Florence: G. C. Sansoni, 1941), 3. 120. Giuseppe Bottai, “Latinità e germanesimo,” Primato 2.1 (1941): 2. 121. Jolanda De Blasi, “Romanità e germanesimo,” in De Blasi, Romanità e germanesimo, 397–98. 122. Balbino Giuliano, Latinità e germanesimo (Bologna: Nicola Zanichelli, 1941), 13–14. 123. Ibid., 149. 124. Ernst Gamillscheg, Immigrazioni germaniche in Italia (Leipzig: Verlag Heinrich Keller, 1937), 19. See also Friedrich Bock, Parallelismi fra la storia italiana e tedesca (Vienna: Verlag Anton Schroll, 1940). 125. See for example Marro, Caratteri fisici e spirituali della razza; Arrigo Solmi, “Da Roma a noi: Unità di storia, unità di popolo,” in Politica fascista della razza (Rome: Istituto Nazionale di Cultura Fascista, 1940), 23–36. 126. Franco Landogna, “L’integrità della razza italica attraverso il medio evo IV,” Razza e Civiltà 1.5 (1940): 428. 127. Franco Landogna, “L’integrità della razza italica attraverso il medio evo V,” Razza e Civiltà 1.8 (1940): 613. 128. Massimo Scaligero, “Trapassi storici: dalla razza di Roma alla razza italiana,” La Difesa della Razza 4.22 (1941): 15. 129. Ibid. 130. See Ben-Ghiat, “Italian Fascists and National Socialists,” 258. 131. See the correspondence between Galassi Paluzzi and the MinCulPop ministers in ACS, MinCulPop Gab., b. 207, fasc. “Istituto Studi Romani.” Funds went from L18,000 in 1939 to L32,000 in 1942. 132. Galassi Paluzzi to MinCulPop, June 1, 1942, ACS, MinCulPop Gab., b. 71, fasc. “Istituto Studi Romani,” sotto. 473. The Enciclopedia was intended to “not only illustrate the historical, religious, political, military, archaeological, artistic, juridical, literary, linguistic, and scientific aspects of the bimillennial history of Rome . . . but also document fully the spiritual and practical impact that Rome has had on every century and every nation of the civilized world.” 133. Benito Mussolini, Memoirs 1942–1943, ed. Raymond Klibansky, trans. Frances Lobb (London: George Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1949), 126–27. 134. On this theme, see Emilio Gentile, Fascismo di pietra (Rome: Laterza, 2007), 229–55. 135. Surveys of RSI propaganda and its key themes include Luisa Quartermaine, Mussolini’s Last Republic: Propaganda and Politics in the Italian Social Republic (R.S.I.), 1943–45 (Exeter, UK: Elm Bank, 2000); Bruna Pompei, Proiettile di carta: L’uso dei simboli nella propaganda del regime fascista e della Repubblica Sociale (Rome: Settimo Sigillo, 2004); and Credere, obbedire, convincere: Propaganda e comunicazione 1943/1945 (Milan: M&B, 2003). 136. Pamphlet by Giancarlo Magherini, “Civiltà” Anglo-Americana: Documentazioni sui bombardamenti terroristici operati dagli alleati contro le città italiane. Wolfsonian RSI collection.

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1. Significantly, this edition featured a modified cover, in which the fascio littorio was removed from the ISR emblem, leaving only an imperial eagle and the Savoy cross, symbol of the Italian monarchy. 2. Carlo Galassi Paluzzi, “Romanità,” Roma 21.8 (1943): 276. 3. Galassi Paluzzi, “Romanità,” 279. 4. See for example Pier Silverio Leicht, “Roma pacificatrice,” in Roma nobilis: L’idea, la missione, le memorie, il destino di Roma, ed. Igino Cecchetti (Rome: Edas, 1953), 195–208, and Mario Meneghini, Roma città aperta (Rome: Magi-Spinetti, 1946). 5. Giuseppe Frediani, “Introduzione,” in Cecchetti, Roma nobilis, 11. 6. Giulio Quirino Giglioli, “Le due romanità,” in Cecchetti, Roma nobilis, 29. 7. Giulio Quirino Giglioli, “L’Ara Pacis,” in Cecchetti, Roma nobilis, 265. 8. On the epuration of the academy after Fascism, see Giovanni Montroni, “The Professors in and after the Fascist Regime: The Purges in the Universities of Italy (1944–46),” Journal of Modern Italian Studies 14, no. 3 (2009): 305–28. 9. Tossati to Gonella, March 29, 1947, in ISR Aff.Gen. b. 2, fasc. 3. 10. Information on funding and early postwar activities can be found in ISR Aff.Gen. b. 2. 11. Undated speech in ISR Corsi b. 185, fasc. 9, sotto. 1. 12. Ibid. 13. Colini to dalla Torre, July 3, 1950, in ASC Rip. X, 1920–53, b. 278, fasc. 4. In fact, Fiat had intended to help construct the museum prior to the fall of the regime. 14. See Antonio Maria Colini, Museo della Civiltà Romana: Catalogo (Rome: C. Colombo, 1958). 15. B. M. Felleti Maj, American Journal of Archaeology 65.3 (1961): 327. 16. See for example ACS MPI AABBAA Ufficio Conservazione Monumenti 1952–59 b. 261 posizione 6 “Roma—cartelloni pubblicitari sui muri.” The file includes a list of sites to be kept free of advertising, including the Forum area, historic squares like Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Navona, and Piazza del Pantheon; and streets like the Via Appia Antica. 17. ACS MPI AABBAA Ufficio Conservazione Monumenti 1952–60 b. 61, fasc. 1 “Roma 1960: Metropolitana—salvaguardia archeologica.” 18. For example, the city faced several lawsuits because of unsafe conditions at the Colosseum; tourists would fall into holes in the ground and be pelted with pieces of falling rubble. See for example ACS MPI AABBAA Ufficio Conservazione Monumenti 1952–59 b. 265, fasc. 6. 19. For a useful overview of recent developments, see John Seabrook, “Roman Renovation: Can Richard Meier Undo What Augustus and Mussolini Wrought?” New Yorker, May 2, 2005. 20. On Fascist monuments in contemporary Rome, see Joshua Arthurs, “Fascism as ‘Heritage’ in Contemporary Italy,” in Italy Today: The Sick Man of Europe, ed. Andrea Mammone and Giuseppe A. Veltri (London: Routledge, 2010), 114–27. 21. “Half-Baked Spaghetti Caesar,” Ottawa Citizen, July 8, 1943, 19.


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22. “Mussolini’s End: Rid of the Jackal, the Italian People Have a Chance to Become Themselves Once More,” Life, August 2, 1943. 23. Anne O’Hare McCormick, “The Curtain Falls on the Fascist Drama,” New York Times, July 26, 1943. 24. Giovanni Mosca, La gloriosa palla (Milan: Edizioni Riunite, 1945), 35–36. 25. Ibid., 31. 26. Ibid., 46. 27. Ibid., 25.


Major Periodicals Cited

Architettura Capitolium La Civiltà Cattolica Il Corriere della Sera Critica Fascista La Difesa della Razza Emporium Il Giornale d’Italia L’Idea Nazionale Italia Futurista Il Messaggero Opere Pubbliche L’Osservatore Romano Palladio Il Popolo di Roma Il Popolo d’Italia Primato Razza e Civiltà Roma Roma Futurista Il Tevere La Tribuna L’Urbe La Voce Primary Sources

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Abyssinia. See Ethiopia Aeneas, 107, 110, 140, 145 Agriculture, 61, 103 – 104, 127 – 128, 139 Alighieri, Dante, 47, 114, 119 Almirante, Giorgio, 137, 141, 192n82 American Academy in Rome, 38, 121 American Revolution, 10 Ancient Rome: architecture, 114 – 115, 129 – 131, 134, 141, 193n111; decline and fall, 138 – 142, 143 – 146; empire, 128 – 131; family, 116 – 117, 128; religion, 108, 116; roads, 129 – 130, 131; women, 117 – 118. See also Mostra Augustea della Romanità; Roman Empire; Roman Republic; Romanità; Rome (city); individual figures and sites Anti-Romanism, 9 – 10, 12 – 13, 16 – 23, 25 – 26, 155 – 156 Anti-Semitism. See Race Ara Pacis, 69, 72 – 74, 92, 95, 152, 155, 176 – 177n136. See also Mausoleum of Augustus; Piazzale Augusto Imperatore Archaeology: after 1945, 154 – 155; and colonialism, 126 – 128; in Liberal Italy, 14; methodologies, 62, 63; under Fascism, 60 – 75, 147, 180n4. See also individual monuments Aryans, 135 – 136, 140, 146 – 147. See also Nazism; Race Associazione Nazionalista Italiana (ANI), 23 – 25, 32, 163n77. See also Corradini, Enrico Athens, 173n42. See also Greece Augustus Caesar, 10, 50, 55, 65 – 66, 110 – 112, 126; bimillenary celebrations, 68 – 69, 74, 91 – 92, 106, 180nn4 – 5. See also Ara Pacis; Mausoleum of Augustus; Mostra Augustea della Romanità; Piazzale Augusto Imperatore Axis Alliance, 132, 143 – 145. See also Germany, Nazism, New Order

Barthes, Roland, 85 Benjamin, Walter, 103 Berlin, 52. See also Germany Berlusconi, Silvio, 155 Bolshevism, 34, 137, 141, 142. See also Soviet Union Bonaparte, Napoleon, 10, 55, 126 Boni, Giacomo, 28 Bottai, Giuseppe, 2, 28, 33 – 34, 39, 40, 54, 72, 91 – 92, 131, 144 – 145 British School at Rome, 38 Calderini, Aristide, 36 – 37, 167n48, 167n51 Campo Vaccino. See Roman Forum Capitoline Hill, 14, 19, 50, 62 – 63, 75 – 76, 83, 87, 89 Caracalla, 139 – 140 Carducci, Giosuè, 14, 114 Carthage, 130, 140. See also Libya, Punic Wars Catholicism, 6, 27, 33; early Christianity, 43, 141 – 142; relations with Fascism, 41 – 46, 168 – 169n71; and romanità, 11 – 12, 34, 41 – 49, 112 – 113, 129, 142, 151 – 153 Cavour, Camillo Benso di, 12 Ceccarelli, Giuseppe, 85 – 87. See also Museo di Roma Cecchelli, Carlo, 2, 153. See also Istituto di Studi Romani Charlemagne, 10 Circus Maximus, 75 Colini, Antonio Maria, 54, 61, 63, 68, 85, 102, 153 – 154. See also Mostra Augustea della Romanità; Museo della Civiltà Romana Colonialism (modern), 24, 126 – 127, 140, 189n21 Colosseum, 14, 17, 67, 195n18 Communism. See Bolshevism; Soviet Union




Corporatism, 38, 116, 119 – 120. See also Fascism; Totalitarianism Corradini, Enrico, 23 – 25, 97. See also Associazione Nazionalista Italiana Croce, Benedetto, 4, 20, 22 Cyrenaica. See Libya d’Azeglio, Massimo, 12 De Francisci, Pietro, 39, 128 – 129, 140, 168n64. See also Istituto di Studi Romani Demography, 24, 61, 112, 139 – 140 di Rienzo, Cola, 10, 14, 114 Ducati, Pericle, 136. See also Ethnogenesis Esposizione Universale di Roma (EUR), 58, 124, 132 – 134, 153, 155. See also Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana Ethiopia, 125, 130 Ethnogenesis, 36 – 37, 135 – 136. See also Aryans; Race Etruscans, 22, 37, 108, 135. Evola, Julius, 43 Fascio littorio ( fasces), 2, 10, 28, 31, 157n3. See also Fascism Fascism: and aesthetics, 4; conceptions of the city, 60 – 62; conceptions of time and history, 4 – 5, 60 – 61, 92 – 94, 119 – 120; early movement, 19, 25 – 27, 163n77; and education, 33 – 34; and empire, 127 – 132; ideology, 3 – 5; intellectual influences, 9 – 25; and modernity, 3 – 5, 41, 51 – 61, 76, 84, 89 – 90, 155. See also Mussolini, Benito; Race; Romanità Federzoni, Luigi, 32, 39, 165n19 Florence, 16 Foro Italico. See Foro Mussolini Foro Mussolini, 57, 64, 155 France, 23, 131. See also Bonaparte, Napoleon; French Revolution; Haussmann, Georges-Eugène; Paris French Revolution, 10, 108. See also France Futurism, 15 – 19, 22 – 23, 26, 33, 90. See also Fascism, early movement; Fascism, intellectual influences; Modernism; Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso Galassi Paluzzi, Carlo, 30 – 31, 38, 46 – 49, 54, 72, 85, 99, 102, 133, 151 – 152, 170n101. See also Istituto di Studi Romani Germany, 23, 26, 34, 142 – 147. See also Axis; Hitler, Adolf; Nazism

Giglioli, Giulio Quirino, 39, 40, 54, 68 – 70, 72, 85, 97 – 99, 102, 104, 133, 135, 152, 153, 182n29. See also Mostra Augustea della Romanità Gioberti, Vincenzo, 11 – 12 Giovannoni, Gustavo, 39, 54, 65, 129 Governatorato di Roma, 53 – 54, 62, 69, 81, 83 Great Britain, 126, 131, 140, 147 – 148 Greece, ancient, 22, 99, 108 Haussmann, Georges-Eugène, 52 – 53, 57, 82. See also Paris Historical production, 5 – 6 Hitler, Adolf, 143, 144. See also Germany; Nazism Hygiene, 18, 61 – 62, 64, 69 Istituto di Studi Romani (ISR): administrative structure, 30 – 31, 164n8; after 1943, 151 – 153; and archaeology, 51, 54, 72; and Catholicism, 41, 46 – 49, 113, 141, 151 – 152; congresses, 68 – 69, 85 – 86, 92, 100 – 101, 135; courses, 39; establishment, 29 – 30; intellectual mission, 33 – 41; publications, 36 – 37, 38, 129 – 130, 147, 194n132; and racism, 135 – 136; relationship to Fascist regime, 30 – 33, 147, 164 – 165n16, 165n22; research, 36 – 37, 85; Scienza e Fede project, 46 – 47. See also Galassi Paluzzi, Carlo; Roma ( journal) Italian Social Republic (RSI), 148 – 149 Jerusalem, 99 Jews, 137, 140 – 141. See also Catholicism; Race Julius Caesar, 27, 28, 110, 119, 126, 137 Lanciani, Rodolfo, 94 – 97, 100. See also Mostra Archeologica Lateran Accords, 14, 42. See also Fascism and Catholicism Libera, Adalberto, 72, 100, 134 Libya, 24, 96, 97, 127 – 128, 130. See also Colonialism (modern), Roman Empire Machiavelli, Niccolò, 114 Maiuri, Amedeo, 39 March on Rome, 27 – 28, 33 – 34. See also Fascism, early movement Marcus Aurelius, 139 Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso, 15 – 17. See also Futurism

INDEX Mausoleum of Augustus (Augusteo), 50, 53, 61, 62, 68 – 72, 84 – 85, 89. See also Ara Pacis; Archaeology under Fascism; Piazzale Augusto Imperatore; Rome, urban planning Mazzini, Giuseppe, 10 – 11, 15, 34 Meier, Richard, 74, 155. See also Ara Pacis; Piazzale Augusto Imperatore Memory, 84 – 85, 87 – 90 Meta Sudans, 63, 98. See also Via dell’Impero Milan, 9, 16, 56, 75 Modernism, 3 – 5, 6, 8, 15 – 23. See also Futurism; Vociani Morpurgo, Vittorio, 61, 69 – 70, 72 – 74. See also Piazzale Augusto Imperatore Moscow, 52. See also Bolshevism, Soviet Union Mostra Archeologica, 94 – 97. See also Lanciani, Rodolfo Mostra Augustea della Romanità (MAR): architecture, 104 – 105; attendance, 122 – 124, 187n133; historiography, 93 – 94; installations, 107 – 118; and the Istituto di Studi Romani, 36; museological approach, 103 – 105, 118 – 120; organization, 102, 183n49; publicity, 105 – 106; reception, 120 – 124. See also Augustus Caesar; Colini, Antonio Maria; Giglioli, Giulio Quirino; Mostra Archeologica; Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista; Mostra della Romanità (1942), Museo della Civiltà Italiana; Palazzo delle Esposizioni; Pallottino, Massimo Mostra della Civiltà Italiana, 132 – 133 Mostra della Razza, 135 Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista, 101 Mostra della Romanità (1942), 133, 134 Muñoz, Antonio, 54 – 55, 59, 63, 68, 70, 72, 75, 81, 85 – 86, 89. See also Archaeology under Fascism; Governatorato di Roma; Museo di Roma; Rome, “disappearing”; Rome, urban planning Museo della Civiltà Romana, 153 – 154 Museo dell’Impero Romano, 97 – 100 Museo di Roma, 85 – 88 Mussolini, Benito: early career, 9, 25 – 27; as propaganda figure, 55 – 56, 69, 144, 155 – 156; views on Catholicism, 42 – 43. See also Fascism; Romanità Nationalism, 6. See also Associazione Nazionalista Italiana


Nazism, 132, 142 – 147. See also Axis; Germany; Hitler, Adolf Nero, 64 New Order, 132. See also Axis; World War Two Nietzsche, Friedrich, 20, 43 Nora, Pierre, 88 – 90. See also Memory Ojetti, Ugo, 72, 73 – 74 Olympic Games (1960), 155 Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro, 40, 105, 123 Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, 134. See also Esposizione Universale di Roma Palazzo del Littorio, 58 – 59 Palazzo delle Esposizioni, 101 – 102. See also Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista; Mostra Augustea della Romanità Pallottino, Massimo, 97, 103. See also Mostra Augustea della Romanità Papini, Giovanni, 19, 21 – 23. See also Vociani Paribeni, Roberto, 40, 85. See also Istituto di Studi Romani Paris, 10, 16, 52 – 53, 82. See also France, Haussmann, Georges-Eugène Passeggiata Archeologica, 14. See also Rome as Liberal capital Photography, 36, 84 – 85, 87 Piacentini, Marcello, 39, 54, 58, 74, 168n65. See also Rome, urban planning Piazzale Augusto Imperatore, 69 – 74, 154, 155. See also Ara Pacis; Mausoleum of Augustus Piazza Montanara, 77, 86. See also Theater of Marcellus; Via del Mare Piazza Venezia, 53, 57, 67, 83 Piranesi, Giovanni Battista, 75, 80, 86, 88 Pius XI, 45. See also Catholicism Pius XII, 47, 152. See also Catholicism Pontine Marshes, 61. See also Agriculture Prezzolini, Giuseppe, 19, 21 – 22. See also Vociani Punic Wars, 24, 108, 137, 140. See also Carthage; Roman Empire; Libya Race, 135 – 142, 187 – 188n5; in Antiquity, 136 – 137; La Difesa della Razza, 136 – 142; Manifesto of Racial Scientists, 135; Racial Laws of 1938, 125 – 126, 135; and romanità, 125 – 126, 137 – 142. See also Aryans; Ethnogenesis; Jews; Nazism Regionalism, 23



Rellini, Ugo, 136. See also Ethnogenesis Renaissance, 10, 22, 66, 145 Riccobono, Salvatore, 39, 40, 112, 129, 168n64. See also Istituto di Studi Romani Risorgimento (1848 – 1870), 11 – 13, 28, 34, 108, 160n7 Rocco, Alfredo, 25, 43 Roesler-Franz, Ettore, 86 Roma ( journal), 29 – 30 Romanelli, Pietro, 39, 102, 129 – 130, 168n64. See also Istituto di Studi Romani Roman Empire, 95 – 96, 114 – 115, 128 – 131, 137 – 139 Roman Forum, 14, 19, 28, 75 – 76, 78. See also Archaeology in Liberal Italy; Archaeology under Fascism; Via dell’Impero Romanità: 1 – 3, 9 – 10, 26 – 28, 34 – 36, 41, 157n2; after 1943, 151 – 152, 155 – 156; influence on world civilization, 131 – 132; and time, 113 – 114. See also Ancient Rome; Anti-Romanism; Archaeology; Catholicism; Fascism; Istituto di Studi Romani; Mostra Augustea della Romanità; Race; Risorgimento; Roman Empire; Rome (city) Roman Republic (1849), 11 Roman Republic (ancient), 10, 108 – 110 Romanticism, 67, 69, 77 – 80, 84 Rome (city): demographics, 15, 17 – 18; “disappearing” Rome, 84 – 86; eternality of, 8, 113 – 114; excavations, 60 – 75; as Liberal capital, 13 – 15, 26 – 27, 41, 80 – 83; local traditions and identity, 17, 22, 75 – 80, 178n154; legendary foundation of, 107 – 108; as Papal capital, 12 – 14, 27, 41 – 46, 66, 76, 86; and the Risorgimento, 11 – 13, 28, 34; universality of, 6, 48, 95 – 96, 114 – 115, 128 – 134; urban planning in, 52 – 60, 77, 80, 133 – 134, 154 – 155. See also Ancient Rome; AntiRomanism; Romanità; individual sites Romulus, 10, 64, 107 Rostovzeff, Michael, 38, 121, 186n117 Ruralism, 20 – 21. See also Agriculture Said, Edward, 6 Sarfatti, Margherita, 82 – 83 Scipione l’Africano (film), 98 – 99, 126 Septimius Severus, 139

Sironi, Mario, 101 Soffici, Ardengo, 19 Soviet Union, 26, 141. See also Bolshevism, Moscow Squadrismo, 27 – 28 Syme, Sir Ronald, 118 Tacitus, 137, 139, 143 – 144 Terragni, Giuseppe, 101 Theater of Marcellus, 50, 62, 67, 77, 87, 89. See also Archaeology under Fascism; Piazza Montanara; Via del Mare Tossati, Quinto, 152 – 153. See also Istituto di Studi Romani after 1943 Totalitarianism, 37 – 38, 45 – 46, 93, 106 – 107, 119 – 120, 125. See also Corporatism; Fascism Tourism, 16 – 17, 19, 25 – 26, 77 – 80 Trieste, 16 Tripolitania. See Libya Turin, 9, 16, 56, 76, 172n38 United States of America, 16, 56 – 57, 147 – 148. See also American Revolution Universities, 32 Vatican. See Catholicism Vespasian, 139 Via dei Fori Imperiali. See Via dell’Impero Via dell’Impero, 53, 57, 59 – 60, 63, 66 – 68, 81, 83, 87, 89, 98, 154, 155. See also Piazza Venezia; Roman Forum; Rome, urban planning Via del Mare, 57, 77, 83, 88, 154. See also Piazza Montanara; Rome, urban planning; Theater of Marcellus Via del Teatro di Marcello. See Via del Mare Vienna, 52, 57 Vittoriano Monument, 14, 82 – 83. See also Capitoline Hill; Piazza Venezia Vociani, 19 – 24. See also Modernism; Papini, Giuseppe; Prezzolini, Giuseppe Washington, DC, 10, 13. See also United States of America World War One, 18 – 19, 23, 25 – 26, 32, 108 World War Two, 132, 140, 147 – 150, 151 – 152