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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

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Remnants of Mussolini

A bundle of sticks with an axe is the only carving left on the bare white wall of the simply designed building called Triennale.

This is because almost every other symbol representative of Mussolini’s fascist era has been completely erased or destroyed from walls throughout the city.

Only decades ago, Milan’s buildings were adorned with carvings reading “Il Duce,” the other name used for Mussolini.

Buildings constructed under the Mussolini regime still stand today, adorned with symbols and meanings that have been forgotten by many.

It is hard to miss the grandiose entrance of the Central Station, located at the heart of the city, but even the Milanese seem to miss the meaning behind the architectural design.

The passageway is guarded by two gigantic Roman soldiers flanked by their winged horses.

This incredible building was commissioned by King Vittorio Emanuele II in 1906, which is why the royal family’s apartment still remains untouched near the first platform.

The project was halted during World War I and abandoned until Benito Mussolini became Prime Minister 20 years later.

Using the style of Art Deco, with the addition of the regime’s self-celebrating program of sculptures and mosaics, Mussolini’s station, which was in part inspired by New York’s Grand Central, remains one of the most impressive railway stations of Europe as well as a memory of fascism in Italy.

Mussolini used his architectural style as a sort of propaganda, illustrating the power and grand presence of his regime through the building’s structure.

Like Central Station, La Borsa, which for many years held Milan’s stock exchange, is built in white limestone, similar to that of IU’s buildings.

The white illuminates in the sunlight, making it stand out among every other building.

The tall columns, high ceilings and detailed Roman carvings give it a presence of power that Mussolini meant to instill into his political ideals.

The fasces symbol, the sticks and axe, remains the symbol of the fascist regime.

The same symbol reappears in an unlikely location: the fountain outside of the Castle Sforzesco. Dating back to the late 1930s, the central basin of the fountain is formed by a series of bundles of sticks.

The fountain was temporarily removed in 1959 during the construction work for the Metro, the underground subway, and the marble components were put into storage in a municipal warehouse.

The connotations associated with the regime meant that it was conveniently forgotten until ten years ago, when it was reinstalled under the direction of the vice mayor, who was sympathetic to Mussolini’s time in power.

From the majestic gods and winged horses of the Central Station to the bare walls of the Triennale, Milan’s architecture inevitably demonstrates its links to Italy’s history, even those its people wish to forget.

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