Rome's Via Dei Fori Imperiali

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Via dei Fori Imperiali

Millions of tourists flock to the eternal city every year to look at the many beautiful and grandiose sites of Rome. What many might not realize is that in the 18th century Mussolini had a plan to restructure, and tear down many of important monuments that define Roman heritage, and he did just this. Benito Mussolini built the road known as Via dei Fori Imperiali in 1931-1933. Mussolini wanted a way to brand Rome with his distinct Fascist ideals.

Via dei Fori Imperiali was first built with the idea that it would house many triumphal marches or parades. Mussolini also wanted to form a physical and symbolic link between Piazza Venezia, the headquarters of the fascist movement to the Roman Forum, the epitome of Roman power and strength, and all the way to the Colosseum. Many obstacles lay in Mussolini’s way, to start with many important and historic monuments but also little villages and houses that housed 746 of Rome’s poorest families. The dense amount of poor Romans living in the once- Alessandrino neighborhood, could not argue or protest against the tearing down of there homes precisely because they had no political power or even money to make any objection at the time.

Apart from kicking thousands of people out of their homes, Mussolini also managed to destroy many millennia- old structures. To name a few Mussolini demolished the churches of San Lorenzo ai Monti and Santa Maria degli Angeli in Macello Martyrum. He also partially eradicated the forums of Caesar, Augustus, Trajan, Vespasian and Nerva. By building this road Mussolini completely changed the landscape of Rome, cutting completely the Forum area in two.

Like many overbearing leaders Mussolini had the vision of creating a “new” Rome, one that had rid itself of the domineering aura of history. Mussolini wanted to make new open spaces that were not cluttered by history. He wanted to leave his own mark on the Country, and in his opinion the only way to do this was...
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