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Palazzo Varano and the garden with flower decorations displaying the Roman fasces.

Photo: Archive Municipality of Predappio

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The restoration of the facade raised awareness for this dissonant heritage among the inhabitants.

Photo: Archive Municipality of Predappio

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Staircase leading up to Palazzo Varano with view on Mussolini's summer residence.

Photo: Luca Massari

Palazzo Varano

The transformations of Palazzo Varano

Palazzo Varano has been the town hall since 1927. Fascist symbols and references to the myth of Mussolini once characterised the building. Today, it is the seat of a Municipality which promotes a critical reflection on this difficult past.

From farmhouse to town hall

In 1926, the old farmhouse, where Mussolini had grown up, was chosen as the town hall for the new town of Predappio. The architect Florestano Di Fausto transformed the image of a crude fortress-like farmhouse into a more suitable image for a municipal building. With the construction of the clock tower, he gave the Palazzo Varano the rigour and the clear composition favoured by Mussolini. The tower became the characterising element of the entire building, emphasising its representative function.

Symbolic references

The building, situated on a slight elevation, can be reached from the main square. A staircase followed by a winding path through a large sloping garden leads up to Palazzo Varano. From above, the staircase has the appearance of an arrow pointing at the Rocca delle Caminate, the Fascist leader’s summer residence. Another symbolic reference was the garden, whose flower decorations display Roman fasces (fasci littori) – the symbol of strength and unity used by the Fascist regime. Next to the staircase is a large cage: in the Fascist period it contained an eagle recalling imperial Rome for the admiration of visitors.

Restoration of the façade

The original colours (grey, pink and yellow) of the façade were restored in 2013. By means of illustrations on the covering of the façade, the restoration of the building represented a crucial element in raising awareness and involving the citizens in protecting this heritage and reflecting on their dissonant heritage.