<p>Guglielmo Marconi Square and the buildings of the Museum of Civilizations (by Andrea Ricci, via Wikimedia Commons)</p>
  • Europe /
  • Italy /
  • Rome

An itinerary meant to discover Italian architecture in the capital during the fascist period

Marconi Obelisk
side view of the Obelisk (by Blackcat, CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)

side view of the Obelisk (by Blackcat, CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikimedia Commons)

In the center of the square of the same name is a large obelisk dedicated to the great Italian physicist who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1909. The work was commissioned in 1939, at the height of the Fascist period, by the Ministry of Popular Culture from the sculptor Arturo Dazzi of Carrara to decorate the Imperial Square placed in the center of the new exhibition district. With Italy’s entry into World War II in 1940, however, work came to an abrupt halt and remained incomplete as Dazzi had concluded only the first two registers. Finally, in 1953, on the occasion of the Agriculture Exhibition held at EUR and in anticipation of the Olympics to be held in Rome in 1960, the sculptor managed to obtain the necessary funding to complete and have it inaugurated on December 12, 1959. 

Despite the obelisk’s post-construction, the design still remained faithful to that conceived during the Fascist period. The structure, in fact, in addition to being in perfect monumental style typical of the regime, has an outstanding height of 45 meters and massive use of Italian marble; it fulfills its original propaganda function: the celebration of the great feats of the Italian physicist, clearly visible in the numerous “Altorilievo” (a sculptural technique for which the molded figures detach themselves with obvious relief) carved on the column.


1. The EUR district

2. Museum of Roman Civilization

3. Guglielmo Marconi Square

4. Marconi Obelisk

5. United Nations Square

6. Palace of Italian Civilization

7. Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul