Rome – Foro Italico


In the north-west of Rome is the sports complex Foro Italico. This complex was built between 1928 and 1938 and was built with the 1944 Summer Olympics in mind that Rome intended to seek. The complex came to consist of several different facilities of varying sizes. The largest was the intended Olympic Stadium, which began to be built in 1937. Other spectacular arenas were the Stadio dei Marmi, surrounded by sculptures of athletic men. Until 1945 Foro Italico was called Foro Mussolini as a tribute to the Italian fascist leader.

Current status: Preserved (2018).

Address: Via Capoprati, 00135 Rom.

Get there: Tram to Mancini stop.

My comment:

Any olympic games were never held in 1944, instead Rome had to wait until 1960. Olympic Stadium is currently used for various major sporting events and is also the home of football teams Roma and Lazio. The facilities around are also used for events and training.

Italy has a pretty relaxed relationship with Mussolini and his fascism and it really shows at Foro Italico. Just outside the entrance to the Olympic Stadium stands an obelisk with Mussolini’s name clearly engraved. Similarly, in the former Olympic area, both Mussolini and fascism are constantly present in the form of sculptures, monuments, reliefs and buildings. Above all, the surface between the obelisk and the stadium is full of marble monuments and mosaic reliefs with tributes to fascism/Mussolini and the ancient. The purpose is to show that there is a connection with the new (fascism) and the old (antique). All with strong influences from futurism whose art runs like a red thread through fascism. Other things that are hard to miss are the hundreds of sculptures of athletic men that are placed throughout the Olympic area and that radiate a message of power and strength.

Follow up in books: Hibbert, Christopher: Mussolini: The Rise and Fall of Il Duce (2008).