Palazzo della Civiltà Romana
Designers: P. Aschieri, D. Bernardini, C. Pascoletti, G. Peressutti.
Covered area: 12,500 m2; 250,000 m3.
Start and completion of works: 1939-1952.
It was built to house the Mostra della Romanità (Exhibition of Roman culture). Unlike the other buildings in E42, the Palazzo has an enormous external facing wall, made of rusticated dark tuff, which surrounds almost all the façades of the building. Like the nearby Palazzo dell'Autarchia e del Corporativismo, this building also has a monumental square originally embellished by a rectangular pool and an equestrian monument, forming a backdrop to the portico connecting the two main elements of the building. The complex features two monumental entrances, marked by a gigantic order of columns and a colonnade connecting the two parts of the building. The composition of the façades, as well as the way the internal exhibition areas are laid out, bears witness to the particularly scenic feel that the architect Aschieri wanted to give the building, using themes and iconography that are strongly linked to the Romans.
The Palazzo, which was initially designed in a strongly celebratory spirit, was subjected to substantial changes during its construction, particularly as regards the composition and distribution of the internal rooms. As well as the above mentioned equestrian group, the decorations in the large inner square were to have included opposing sculptures at the two monumental entrances to the inner space. Here again, however, the well-known events of the war caused considerable delays in completion of the building, which was only terminated in 1952 and opened to the public in 1955 as the Museum of Roman Civilisation, exhibiting an enormous collection of plaster reproduction and casts of the great art works of the Greek and Roman world. In the Summer of 2004 the building welcomed Rome's Planetarium, which was previously housed at the Baths of Diocletian, with the Rome Museum of Astronomy. All the structures were closed temporarily in March 2014 for renovation works (Read the articles on closing of the two structures dated 28th March 2014).
POINTS OF INTEREST
The building that houses the "Museum of Roman Civilisation" is owned by EUR SpA, and is the fruit of an agreement between three different entities: what was, at the time, Ente EUR, owners of the land; Giovanni Agnelli's Società Anonima Fiat di Torino, which agreed to build the Palazzo on condition that it was to be used as the Museum of Roman Civilisation for the following 90 years (until 2042); and the Rome Municipal Authorities, who agreed to cover the cost of ordinary and special maintenance of the building, as well as paying Ente EUR (now EUR SpA) a symbolic "ground rent" for use of the building.
The building, which is managed by Roma Capitale, houses the Museum of Roman Civilisation, the Planetarium and the Rome Museum of Astronomy, and is currently closed.
►Leggi il vincolo storico del 2004 (pdf)
♦ Carlo Bertilaccio e Francesco Innamorati (a cura di), EUR SpA e il patrimonio di E42, Palombi Editore 2004 - Roma.
♦ Calvesi, E. Guidoni, S. Lux (a cura di), E42. Utopia e scenario del regime. Urbanistica architettura arte e decorazione, Marsilio Editore 1987 - Venezia.
♦ T. Gregori, A. Tartaro (a cura di), E42. Utopia e scenario del regime. Ideologia e programma per l'«Olimpiade delle civiltà», Marsilio Editore 1987 - Venezia.
♦ EUR, guida degli istituti culturali, Leonardo Arte 1995 - Milano.
♦ E. Valeriani e F. Innamorati, EUR. Quartiere di architetture, De Luca Editori d'Arte 2012 - Roma.
Nome previsto per l'Esposizione Universale di Roma (1942) "Edificio Mostra della Romanità".