In 1922 the Fascist 'March on Rome' brought Benito Mussolini to power. He promised Italians that his fascist revolution would unite them as never before and make Italy a strong and respected nation internationally. In the next two decades, Mussolini set about rebuilding the city of Rome as the site and symbol of the new fascist Italy. Through an ambitious program of demolition and construction he sought to make Rome a modern capital of a nation and an empire worthy of Rome's imperial past. Building the new Rome put people to work, 'liberated' ancient monuments, cleared slums, produced new "cities" for education, sports, and cinema, produced wide new streets, and provided the regime with a setting to showcase fascism's dynamism, power, and greatness. Mussolini's Rome thus embodied the movement, the man and the myth that made up fascist Italy.
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Borden W. Painter Jr. is Professor of History Emeritus of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and lives in West Hartford.
' the best single discussion of the topic available in English.' Stephen L. Dyson, European History Quarterly
'Painter's able study displays what hides in plain sight in the Eternal City.' - Gilbert Taylor, Booklist
'From 1925 to 1940 Italian fascism changed in fundamental ways the urban geography of Rome. Borden Painter's extremely interesting and useful book traces Mussolini's passion for tearing down and rebuilding Rome, but, more than that, Painter uses the Fascist architectural project as a way of analyzing the values and aspiration of the regime. Along the way he studies the architects and planners of the regime who tore down large parts of Medieval Rome to highlight ancient imperial Rome, but who also constructed the sport centers, the buildings for government offices, and the new university city. It is an original and insightful view of Mussolini and his regime.' - Alexander De Grand, North Carolina State University, USA
'In showing how fascist projects changed the look and even the very fabric of Rome, Borden Painter's fascinating study significantly enhances our understanding of Mussolini's regime. Attentive to the unique challenges and opportunities the Roman setting provided, Painter skillfully traces the effort to blend traditional and modern, old and new, within the framework of confident self-assertion that characterized the fascist experiment. His account is based on exhaustive research and an impressive mastery of the growing scholarly literature on fascist culture, yet it is lively and accessible and it will appeal to specialists and general readers alike.' - David D. Roberts, University of Georgia, USA
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