I remember first coming across the building known as Colosseo Quadrato (Square Colosseum) in Rome in the 1990s. Maybe it was Peter Greenaway’s film “Belly of an Architect”? Or a Tony Clark landscapes from around this time?
The building was one of the many architectural projects of socialist turned fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
| Julia Ritson, Roma 1, 1990 |
The number of arches represent Benito’s name – six stories high by nine arches wide. What a concept. Poor architects. Imagine having to deal with a client who is always right.
Mussolini liked a good old platitude, so up the top is engraved:
“A people of poets and artists, of heroes and saints, of thinkers, scientists, navigators and migrants.”
The building is part of a large group of buildings created to celebrate Mussolini’s 20 years in power.
It was derelict for a while and in 2003 was closed for renovation.
I haven’t seen the site in the flesh, but in 2006 we snapped this shot on the way to the airport. Another collage of sorts.
| Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, Signori Guerrini, La Padula, Romano, 1938-1943 |
And here it is featured pre-renovation in Peter Greenaway’s film. White marble everywhere.
Click image to see excerpt.
| Peter Greenaway, Belly of an Architect, 1987 |