Mussolini and the city of Rome
in The cult of the Duce
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This chapter considers the relationship between the built environment of Rome and the Duce. It seeks to establish how this material relationship was exploited to boost the cult of Benito Mussolini, developing new depths to his persona and fostering important connections with the nation. The Burbera group, headed by Gustavo Giovannoni, proposed a Foro Mussolini created at the axis of two great new arteries cutting across the city, a conscious reprisal of an urban form from antiquity, the cardus and decumanus. Mario Sironi himself executed the mural depictions of Mussolini to have remained in the capital, at Piacentini's Casa Madre dei Mutilati that sits between the Palazzo di Giustizia and Castel Sant'Angelo. Throughout Italy, from the appropriation of the balcony of Palazzo Venezia to the erection of temporary platforms for speeches, it was used to stage the Duce-popolo (people) relationship in its most dramatic, imaginative and enduring manner.

The cult of the Duce

Mussolini and the Italians



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