An itinerary meant to discover Italian architecture in the capital during the fascist period
Drawing of the original design (by ArchiDiAP, CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)
The plan for the new EUR district was born on the initiative of the governor of Rome, who proposed to Mussolini that the capital city be nominated for the future universal exposition in 1942 and show fascism’s success in front of an international audience. The acronym still used today to identify the urban district means precisely: “Universal Exposition Rome”.
To construct the main buildings of the new exhibition centre, the architects, in line with Fascist ideology and style, drew inspiration from classical Roman town planning but also brought in the latest elements of Italian rationalism. Thus, the architectural structure included a layout with orthogonal axes and majestic and imposing architectural buildings, massive and squared, mostly built with white marble and travertine to recall the ancient buildings of imperial Rome. The original project, however, was never completed, and work was halted for good in 1942 due to Italy’s participation in World War II. Nevertheless, the Exposition favoured the execution of a complex of jobs and services that would later foster the formation of a new neighbourhood. In fact, after the war, the project was redefined and completed with modern buildings, congress buildings and sports architecture. On the occasion of the 1960 Rome Olympics, EUR underwent further urban and architectural development that boosted the district’s public image.