NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

If you not change browser settings, you agree to it.

I understand
Slide item 1

The new urban complex built in Forlì under the Fascist regime

Photo: Giorgio Sabatini

Slide item 2

Former Viale Mussolini: once a showcase of modernity, today witness of a difficult past

Photo: Giorgio Sabatini

Slide item 3

Train Station, 1924-1924, Ezio Bianchi

Photo: Municipality of Forlì Archive

Slide item 4

Former Technical Industrial School, 1937-1941, Arnaldo Fuzzi

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 5

Monument to the Fallen, 1925-1932, Cesare Bazzani

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 6

Bas-relief on the Monument to the Fallen (Bernardino Boifava)

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 7

Former GIL building, 1933-1935, Cesare Valle

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 8

Former College of Military Aeronautics, 1934-1941, Cesare Valle

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 9

Icarus statue by Francesco Saverio Paolozzi (1940)

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 10

Wall mosaics by Angelo Canevari (1938-41) in the former College of Military Aeronautics

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 11

Post office building in Piazza Saffi, 1931-1932, Cesare Bazzani

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 12

Skylight of the post office building

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 13

Former Santarelli preschool, 1934-1937, Giudo Savini

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 14

Roof terrace of the former Santarelli preschool

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 15

Interior of the former House of the War Wounded (Casa del Mutilato), 1930-1933, Cesare Bazzani

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 16

Former SITA / ATR factory for public transport vehicles, 1935, Alberto Flamigni

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 17

Interior of the former SITA / ATR factory

Photo: Luca Massari

Slide item 18

Vecchiazzano Sanatorium Centre – the Airplane, 1932-1939, Cesare Valle

Luca Massari

Slide item 19

Vecchiazzano Sanatrorium Centre, today the Padiglione Valsalvia

Luca Massari

Forlì, Italy

Showcase of modernity – a story of contradictions

Once the expression of Fascist propaganda, today the architectural heritage left on the streets of Forlì challenges local citizens and visitors to reflect on a difficult and contradictory past.

Forlì: a showcase of modernity

During Italy’s Fascist period (1922-1943), Benito Mussolini carried out a vast political project in the region of his origins. The territory of Romagna was supposed to become the cradle of Fascism with various pilgrimage sites celebrating the Fascist leader. Mussolini transformed the town of Forlì into a showcase of modernity, a kind of prototype of the Fascist town, with the aim of demonstrating the power of the regime and building consensus among the population. Much of the town centre was demolished and reconstructed. Outside the old town, a whole new urban centre was built along an imposing new boulevard, the Viale Benito Mussolini (today Viale della Libertà).

Town of contradictions: propaganda vs. reality

One of Forlì’s most important buildings was dedicated to the training of future pilots, the College of Military Aeronautics. A new “brand” was invented to promote Forlì as the town with a vocation for flying. However, the whole situation was highly contradictory. Contradictory because Forlì was a showcase of the Fascist regime, but among its inhabitants there were strong signs of dissent. Contradictory because the modern city of Forlì coexisted alongside a situation of underdevelopment. Contradictory because Forlì as a modern centre for aviation was more myth than reality.

Architecture and Fascism – the entire history in one town

Today, Forlì is an open-air museum, able to tell the entire history of architecture during the twenty years of Italy’s Fascist period. Along the streets, public and private buildings display the various architectural styles of that time: from eclecticism to the monumental stile littorio and rationalism. Outstanding Roman architects, such as Gustavo Giovannoni, Cesare Bazzani and Cesare Valle were the creators of this highly diversified built heritage. The pervasive eclectic monumentality (e.g. the Post Office Building) introduced by Cesare Bazzani stands in contrast to the former GIL building (sports and cultural centre) in rationalist style by the young architect Cesare Valle.

Architectural heritage: new uses and meanings

Today, the citizens of Forlì are trying to come to terms with their dissonant heritage. Various restoration projects involve finding of new meanings and new uses for some of these buildings. An ongoing project focuses on the former Santarelli preschool as a cultural hub. Three new functions are foreseen: an innovation lab, a public library and an interpretation centre for Forlì’s open-air museum focusing on the architectural history of the 20th century.