Monday, November 11, 2013

rome, 2013 (stadio dei marmi e i mosaichi di foro italico)

"molti nemici, molto onore" = "many enemies, much honor." a mussolini-ism.

foro mussolini, renamed foro italico after his death, was mussolini's monument to the glory of italian (male) athleticism. i find it to be one of the most fascinating places in rome, as you can still see both the politics and the emotions of an era via art and architecture. not many places are able to achieve this--to convey something as abstract as a belief through a structure or a sculpture is incredibly difficult--but if it is done well, as it is here, it appears effortless and sensible.

mussolini was no hero, by any measure, but he raided the italian coffers in the early 1930s to create this site--one of several physical legacies to his utter conviction of the renewed golden age of rome. it is not being conserved; it has declined greatly in a mere 18 months (when i last saw it). rome suffers from a plethora of monuments that all require conserving--how do you select which ones to save?--and anything related to the fascists is pretty much at the bottom of the list of concerns for maintenance. still, i love it here, and i'm glad my kids got the chance to run around the stadium and jump in the long jump pit.

the first half of the pictures are from the stadio dei marmi (the stadium of marble), which features 59 monuments to different italian regions using idealized mostly-nude males sporting ancient greek olympic implements (i have no idea what half of them represent); the second half are of the mosaics outside the foro italico, which is used for soccer matches. the mosaics are declining rapidly. if you have any interest in fascist art and/or architecture, this is a must-visit site.

not many comments here, as i think the pictures speak for themselves, but there will be still more rome photos to come later!

to give a sense of the scale of the sculptures surrounding the stadio, see the man standing next to one in the red oval

gus and sophie, instantly competitive amidst the monument to sport

gus and sophie trying out the long jump sand pit (we had sand in our apartment for a week afterwards)

my sweet husband has never realized he's got the "much honor" without the "many enemies"...i think!

ugh. this pains me.

i do understand that there are just too many sites to preserve in rome, but this one would be so easy to fix...

beautiful mosaics in the swimming pool next door (that have been wonderfully conserved, as the pool serves for national and international events), but we couldn't get inside to properly see them!

the "mussolini dux" obelisk still stands out front of the stadium complex...there seems to be a serious white-washing of history as far as he's concerned in italy, but whatever. i still love the site.

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