<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

Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
Exterior view of the Basilica (by Pufui PcPifpef, CC BY-SA 4.0  Wikimedia Commons)

Exterior view of the Basilica (by Pufui PcPifpef, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)

A final very interesting case of regimented architecture can be identified in a building particular to its function, namely the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. The simplified lines, symmetries, and great monumentality of the building stand out here. 

The church has a Greek cross plan and consists of a central cube and a hemispherical dome with a diameter of 32 meters. The dome is the fourth largest in Rome after the Pantheon, St. Peter’s in the Vatican and St. John Bosco and the third tallest after St. Peter’s and Sant’Andrea Della Valle. On either side of the portico, large statues depicting Rome’s patron saint Peter and Paul dominate the monumental staircase that joins the church’s forecourt to Viale Europa below.

Inside, above the high altar, the figure of Christ Triumphant dominates; to the left, in the chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, is a mosaic depicting the Madonna and Child surrounded by a crown of angels. On the right, however, is the chapel of St. Francis, where there is a mosaic altarpiece featuring the “Poverello” of Assisi together with some Franciscan saints.

The EUR district is undoubtedly a privileged site to be able to delve into the architecture of the Italian Fascist period because of the large urban project designed to host the universal exposition. However, in the city of Rome itself and in much of the Italian Peninsula, much evidence remains of buildings designed during the regime.


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