<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

United Nations Square
Side view of the INPS building (by Sergio D’Afflitto, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)

Side view of the INPS building (by Sergio D’Afflitto, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)

United Nations Square consists of two large buildings called the Social Security and Insurance Buildings, arranged symmetrically opposite each other. Like the Marconi obelisk, these two buildings were not completed until after the end of World War II. They were used as the headquarters of the respective public agencies for which they were intended: the National Social Security Institute (INPS) the one on the right looking at the center of the square, and the National Insurance Institute (INA) the one on the opposite side of the street. 

The two buildings are arranged specularly and together form two large semicircular basins that comprise the extensive United Nations Square. 

The whole complex represents a classic example of the “fascist” style, both in terms of its great monumentalism. Each of the two buildings covers an impressive 7700 square meters and the usual neoclassical and rationalist elements are found especially in the very simple and clean lines and in the extensive use of marble from the Apuan Alps (also known as Carrara marble, one of the most valuable and famous marbles in the world used as early as Roman times). 

The two structures house high reliefs made in 1941 and the sculptures were designed in a precise pattern identical for the two palaces, with a central figure towering over secondary shapes. The two high reliefs in the Palazzo delle Assicurazioni (on the right when looking at the center of the square) are made of Roman travertine and represent The Conquest of the Seas and The Fascist Empire, while the two high reliefs in the Palazzo Della Previdenza, also made of Roman travertine, represent instead the Maritime Republics and Rome versus Carthage. Underneath the large illustrated panels were planned fountains and sculptures with mythological and naturalistic backgrounds. To date, however, only traces of the former can be found, which are used as vases for flowers.


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