Between rationalism and Roman inspiration
Bertinoro and Fratta Terme, Italy
In 1936, the Fascist National Institute for Social Security (INFPS) commissioned the engineer Giambattista Giocoli to design the bathing facilities and hotel. Once a place of Fascist consensus building, today the unique spa resort offers both relax and historical insights.
Fusion of ”rationalised“ and classical elements
The façade of the imposing building forms an 80m convex curve. Its huge dimension is divided by pairs of semi-columns, devoid of any decorative element, and is thus highly “rationalised“. A massive classical cornice and the overall monumentality of the building celebrate the Roman origins of the thermal town. Roman-inspired decorations embellish the hot springs, which are immersed in a lush park.
Mussolini’s political programmes
The valorisation of the spa resort of Fratta Terme was part of Mussolini’s tourism programme aimed at promoting the development of tourism in the art and spa towns in the province of his origins. Urban design and architecture served as powerful instruments to construct the Mussolini myth in and around Forlì.
Moreover, the thermal complex was part of the social and health programme, supposed to regenerate the Italian population. Offering thermal treatments to the lower classes was a way to build consensus among the masses.
The spa resort today
In 2008, after five years of restoration work, the spa resort reopened to the public. Seven different thermal waters (iodic, arsenic, sulphur, sodium chloride, magnesium) indulge the visitors in a relaxing atmosphere.