Roads and Ruins: The Symbolic Landscape of Fascist Rome (Toronto Italian Studies)

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9780802099952: Roads and Ruins: The Symbolic Landscape of Fascist Rome (Toronto Italian Studies)

In the 1930s, the Italian Fascist regime profoundly changed the landscape of Rome's historic centre, demolishing buildings and displacing thousands of Romans in order to display the ruins of the pre-Christian Roman Empire. This transformation is commonly interpreted as a failed attempt to harmonize urban planning with Fascism's ideological exaltation of the Roman Empire.

Roads and Ruins argues that the chaotic Fascist cityscape, filled with traffic and crumbling ruins, was in fact a reflection of the landscape of the First World War. In the radical interwar transformation of Roman space, Paul Baxa finds the embodiment of the Fascist exaltation of speed and destruction, with both roads and ruins defining the cultural impulses at the heart of the movement. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, including war diaries, memoirs, paintings, films, and government archives, Roads and Ruins is a richly textured study that offers an original perspective on a well known story.

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About the Author:

Paul Baxa is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Ave Maria University.

Review:

'Baxa's mix of history, geography, and urbanism is a pleasure to read. It is well-written, well-structured, concise, rich in detail, and it never bogs down.' (W.P.C. van Gent, Urban Studies Journal: vol 48: June 2011)

‘Baxa’s book is a beautifully written and provocative analysis, and a welcome contribution to the study of fascismo di pietra (fascism of stone) that suggests threads for further study of architecture, spectacle, and cultural ideology in the intersection of fascist politics and Italy’s built environment.’
(Maura E. Hametz, American Historical Review; vol116:04:2011 )

‘A thought-provoking and fascinating read for anyone familiar with the history and topography of the Eternal City, prompting a fresh way of looking at its cityscape.’ (John Pollard The Catholic Historical Review vol98:01:2012)

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