In 2005, when Dan Dubowitz and Patrick Duerden set out to look for the abandoned modernist architecture of fascist Italy it was the apparent contradictions between Modernism – the architecture of ‘progress’- and Fascism – the ‘counter- revolution’ – that made the subject of interest to me. Today the international importance of Italian architecture of the Fascist regime (1922-45) is hardly acknowledged. Anti-fascism was written into the 1948 constitution of post-war Italy and remains the founding principle; consequently fascist architecture has been dismissed by a society unable to attribute cultural value to it.
The regime’s building programmes were prodigious and internationally acclaimed, yet now with a few well known exceptions the buildings are generally forgotten; their architects often condemned to obscurity. Key works such as the Stazione Termini railway station in Rome have been altered beyond recognition. Others have become derelict, including a disproportionately large number of colonie di infanzia ‘holiday’ camps constructed for the fascist youth organisations.