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Fascism, Architecture, and the Claiming of Modern Milan, 1922-1943

Fascism, Architecture, and the Claiming of Modern Milan, 1922-1943

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Fascism, Architecture, and the Claiming of Modern Milan, 1922-1943
    Book Description:

    Fascism, Architecture, and the Claiming of Modern Milanchronicles the dramatic architectural and urban transformation of Milan during the nearly twenty years of fascist rule.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6525-5
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-11)

    Milan today epitomizes the modern Italian city. An important but relatively modest city in the nineteenth century, by the turn of the century it had become a vibrant commercial and industrial centre and a force in the cultural life of the nation. In the first decades of the twentieth century, however, Milan’s reputation and prosperity were threatened by multiple failures to meet the challenges brought about by rapid social and economic change. In an effort to address these challenges and as part of a larger program to transform Italy, Mussolini’s fascist government initiated a building campaign in Milan that, as...

  7. CHAPTER ONE Milan in Context
    (pp. 12-37)

    Milan’s position on the broad plains that extend south from the snow-capped Alps has shaped its modern history as a pivotal link between northern Europe and the Italian peninsula, and is closely tied to her status as a centre of trade, industry, and finance. Napoleon, aware of her strategic importance, made Milan the capital of the Kingdom of Italy (Regno Italico) in 1796 and proposed a series of urban initiatives commensurate with that official distinction, including the organization of the primary points of entry into the city, a grand government complex around Sforza Castle, and the formation of a building...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Respectable Fascism: Fascist Party Headquarters, 1922–1931
    (pp. 38-63)

    The dramatic reworking of the city included the construction of a variety of buildings and public spaces – schools, hospitals, transportation hubs, recreational facilities, and parks, among others – intended to shape the character, habits, and attitudes of Italian citizens.² The strategic placement of Fascist Party headquarters (case del fascio) represented the party’s first coordinated effort to control the activities of its members and to use architecture to insinuate itself into the urban fabric.³ In large population centres such as Milan, there was a provincial headquarters in the city’s centre in addition to numerous neighbourhood outposts, somewhat like the hierarchy of a...

  9. CHAPTER THREE The Commercial City: The Trading Exchange and Piazza degli Affari, 1928–1939
    (pp. 64-85)

    Organized industry, though wary of the revolutionary potential of fascism, saw Mussolini and the National Fascist Party as the best means to reform outmoded government institutions and policies and to bring order and discipline to Italy. This sector offered funds and tacit support to the regime after Mussolini’s March on Rome in 1922 and benefited from many of his new economic initiatives. An air of optimism among local business leaders surrounded a host of new initiatives. The Milan Fair (Fiera di Milano, 1920) established permanent exhibition grounds on the site of the former Piazza d’Armi west of the city’s centre...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Fascist Authority: The Palace of Justice, 1932–1940
    (pp. 86-105)

    After Mussolini formed a dictatorship in 1925, he aggressively employed established instruments of state control – the police, army, and legislature – to reinforce and secure his command. Force and punishment served as a method to control and direct the population, even if the kinds of terror unleashed in Italy never reached the extremes of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. In the same years that Mussolini approved a series of new legal codes authored by a conservative fascist theorist, Minister of Justice Alfredo Rocco (1925–32), the municipal government began construction of a massive new Palace of Justice (Palazzo di Giustizia, 1932...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Urban Networks: Fascist Party Headquarters, 1931–1940
    (pp. 106-134)

    Located in Como, about an hour north of Milan, Giuseppe Terragni’s celebrated glass-and-stone Casa del Fascio (1932–6; figure 5.1) contributed to the growing consensus about the appropriate form and character ofcase del fascioamong architects and fascist officials.² His design suggested how party buildings could function both as a backdrop for large gatherings – a balcony on the second storey provided an appropriate platform for party leaders addressing crowds below – and as a carefully mediated extension of the urban stage. Terragni’s modern design evoked the medieval town hall (broletto) – specifically, the one nearby, with its blank surface along the...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Museum, Monument, and Memorial: The Palazzo del Popolo d’Italia, 1938–1942
    (pp. 135-160)

    On 15 November 1938, the twenty-fourth anniversary of the founding in Milan ofIl Popolo d’Italia, Mussolini’s mouthpiece, the newspaper’s publishers triumphantly announced that they would soon have new headquarters.² Its front page exuberantly praised the proposedmodernissimabuilding designed by Milanese architect Giovanni Muzio,³ and directly below the headline it included a perspective drawing of a commanding six-storey structure on the eastern side of Piazza Cavour (figure 6.1). Together, the image and text made clear the newspaper’s intent to create a modern home for the press, to establish a permanent memorial to the “paper of the Fascist revolution,”⁴ and,...

  13. Epilogue
    (pp. 161-166)

    Speaking at the First National Urban Planning Conference (I Congresso Nazionale di Urbanistica) held in Rome in the spring of 1937, Giuseppe Bottai, the former governor of Rome and recently appointed minister of education, asserted that public buildings functioned as the generative force in the formation of cities and of urban centres in Italy. Bottai declared that “the modern Italian city, the fascist city,” would be created from two kinds of urban planning elements: new fascist institutions, such ascase del fascio, and traditional public buildings, such as the Town Hall and Palace of Justice.¹ The dedication of the regime’s...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 167-216)
  15. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 217-230)
  16. Index
    (pp. 231-247)