This post is a collaboration with the local Rome experts of Hotel Area.
Wanted by Benito Mussolini in 1936, to celebrate the twenty years anniversary of the March on Rome (1922). Named after the World’s fair that was supposed to happen in Rome in 1942 (due to the beginning of the World War II), the EUR district was build by a few architects headed by Marcello Piacentini, who took inspiration from the classical roman urbanity. The district has been expanded in 1960 for the Olympic Games: an artificial lake and the sport’s building have been added after 1960.
Must see in EUR, the modernist district of Rome
Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana
This massive building is the main attraction of the area. Constructed between 1938 and 1943, was inaugurated in 1940. The palace is also considered one of the biggest examples of the Fascist architecture in Italy.
In 2015 the label Fendi started renting the building as one of their main headquarters.
The ground floor though is still open to the public for exhibitions. It’s designed as a “Square Colosseum” to celebrate and remember the original one and also to recall the roman landmark.
The building has appeared in many movies as Fellini’s Boccaccio ’70 and Julie Taymor’s Titus.
Sts Peter and Paul Basilica
Located on the highest point of the Eur district, at the very top of a beautiful staircase, this Basilica named after two Saints, Peter and Paul, was build by six architects between September 1943 and July 1955, when it was officially finished. Its plan it’s based on a Greek cross, but apparently the original function of the building was to be the mausoleum of Mussolini.
The overlooking view on the Tiber valley, from the site, is absolutely stunning, in fact the intention of the planners was that the building could be visible from afar.
Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography Luigi Pigorini
Opened by Luigi Pigorini in 1876, this beautiful museum is divided in two main areas: the Paleontology one and the Ethnography one.
The ethnography collection, situated in multiples permanent exhibition rooms, includes pieces coming from Oceania, Asia, America and Africa.
The paleontological one instead is mostly Italian: in fact the first group of materials was collected by Giuseppe Fiorelli, the general director of Monuments and Excavations at the Ministry of Education in 1875.
Over the years many Italian Collections have been included in the museum, as the collection of Concezio Rosa and the Lanciani’s collection.
Designed by four architects for the 1942 World’s Fair, this complex is made up of two imposing structures connected in a symmetrical arrangement.
The long portico that delimits the piazza gives to the structure a scenographic depth. Located right next the Museum of Roman Civilization, this Planetarium offers a lot of temporary events and exhibitions. Reservations are strongly recommended as you can visit both the planetarium and the astrological museum.
The observatory is definitely the main attraction of the building: this room tries to recreate the “habitat” where many astrologers have been studied the sky , the cosmos, all the planets and the solar system. The telescope in the room can help you see all these things in a different way and definitely a little bit closer than what they usually are.
As you might know, there are a lot of places hidden under Rome’s ground, but not all of them are well known.
For example, in the Eur district you can find one of the three antiaircraft bunkers that Benito Mussolini has built under the Palazzo Degli Uffici.
Done between 1937 and 1939, this bunker was made to protect the “Duce” in case of aircrafts attacks. It’s 475mq and it can lodges up to 300 people for a maximum of 4 months.
Dedicated to the famous inventor Guglielmo Marconi, this massive obelisk was put in the middle of the EUR district around 1959 for the occasion of the upcoming Olympics.
Made by Arturo Dazzi, under the request of Mussolini it has 92 panels made with Carrara’s white marble. Each of these panels shows a scene from Marconi’s life. It’s approximately 45 meters tall.
Last but not least I highly recommend checking out the “Cloud” made by Fuksas at the Centro Congressi Italia (the building is not finished yet but you can definitely see it from the outside).