A place of contradictions
Castrocaro Terme e Terra del Sole, Italy
The architecture of the spa buildings glorified the figure of Mussolini, while its decorations celebrated the healing waters of Castrocaro. Today, this may create contradictory feelings: the celebration of a violent Fascist dictator on the one hand, and on the hand the celebration of water, the elixir of life.
The construction of the spa building integrated the existing thermal structure built in the 19th century (Bagni Conti) and comprised 47 rooms for spa treatments. The M-shaped design is probably due to functional as well as celebrative reasons (“M” symbolising Mussolini). In fact, in the 1930s, the complex was referred to as the “spa of the Mussolini family”.
Celebrating water, health and joy
The most significant architectural and decorative elements of the spa building are the entrance and the entrance hall, accessed from the park. An imposing portico in modernist style leads into the two-floor entrance hall. Splendid metopes (rectangular stone reliefs) dedicated to the motif of healing waters decorate the door framings. It was Tito Chini who decorated the spacious foyer with great attention to detail, harmoniously combining floor mosaics, skylights, balustrades, furniture and two decorative wooden panels. The two panels possibly display the Islands of the Blessed (Isola della Felicità), conveying the motif of joy and health through the image of a paradise on earth.