Creating a new cult
During the Fascist period, the St. Apollinaire Church dating from 1044 AD was integrated with an impressive arcade displaying two themes: agriculture and the glorification of war – both important pillars of Mussolini’s propaganda.
Old church, new arcade
When Tresigallo was restyled during the Fascist period (1933-1939), the existing architectural fabric was partially conserved and integrated, as in the case of St. Apollinaire Church, dating back from 1044 AD. In the 1930s, the façade was renovated and an arcade on both sides was added.
Expression of Fascist ideas
On top of the arcade, bas-reliefs display activities related to agriculture on the one hand, and military scenes on the other. The two themes sculpted on the arcade are the material expression of a famous sentence by the Fascist leader: “The plough traces the furrow, but the sword defends it. And both the ploughshare and the sword are made of toughen steel as the faith is in our hearts”. In fact, both the increased production of grain (“Battle of Grain”) aimed at Italy’s economic self-sufficiency and the glorification of war were two important pillars of Mussolini’s propagandist actions.
Real or fake marble?
The design of the arcade is almost unique in the architectural scene of that period. The techniques for producing fake marble to cover surfaces of reinforced concrete were so perfect, that one can tell the difference between real and fake marble only close up.