Examples of Fascist Architecture
The “Italian Bolzano” in South Tyrol's Capital City
Many streets and squares of “old” Bolzano originated in the 19th century and were characterised by typical elements of the Bavarian Baroque. They reflected the German character of the city. During the fascism of the 1930s, the rulers set themselves the goal of "correcting" this appearance and significantly changing the appearance of the city. In contrast, their goal was to emphasise the Italian character of the city - even in its historical centre. As a result, architects changed city squares and streets like Dominikanerplatz, Sparkassenstraße and Museumstraße.
Fascist architecture, however, is most evident beyond the Talferbrücke bridge. Here, the two high columns with the Lion of St. Mark and the Capitoline Wolf as well as the Victory Monument of the architect Marcello Piacentini can be viewed. Today, the Victory Monument is home to an Underground Museum depicting the history of the structure. From here, visitors can easily access the Victory Square, which is surrounded by buildings with typical fascist architecture, and the Freiheitsstraße street, which, with its high arcades and buildings, continues the medieval arcades of the old town, also with its fascist architecture.
Another important architectural exhibit from the time of fascism is the monumental Palace of Justice by the architect Paolo Rossi de 'Paoli: this forms together with the Palazzo del Littorio (now used as tax office) - with its monumental relief of Hans Piffrader, the "Duce" on horseback - as well as the Christkönigkirche church a sort of “Triad of the Forces." In 2017, in front of the relief on the facade of the tax office, a quote from Hannah Arendt was attached ("No man has the right to obey - Nessuno ha il diritto di obbedire - Degnu n'a l dërt de ulghè") in order to put the work of Piffraders into historical context.
The urban projects planned by the fascists endeavoured to divide Bolzano on a spatial as well as a social level. The old town and parts of the district Gries-Quirein were therefore reserved for the social and political elite. In the blocks of flats of Mailandstraße street, the Matteottiplatz square and Turiner-Straße street lived privileged workers (such as railroad workers), while on the periphery large working-class districts emerged: the Rione Littorio and the Rione Dux, better known as the Semirurali district. From this quarter, only one house has been preserved in which a museum is housed today.
One of the goals of fascism was the development of Bolzano's social structures. For this purpose, sports and leisure facilities were built, such as today's European Academy EURAC, which was built as the seat of the "Fascist Youth of Italy", the Drusus Stadium and the Lido Swimming Pool. These buildings have been preserved over the years and are still in public use today.
BZ ‘18-‘45. One monument, one city, two dictatorships.
Opened in July 2014, this documentary exhibition deals with the history of Bozen’s victory monument and focuses on the period of time between the two World Wars from a regional and supra-regional perspective. Entry is free, so too are guided tours for school and other groups from 10 participants (with prior notice – T: +39 0471 095474).