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Tresigallo, an open-air museum boasting unique examples of Fascist architecture

Photo: Vittorio Rossi

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Former Fascist party building: a material expression of Fascist rhetoric

Photo: Vittorio Rossi

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Former GIL building, sports and cultural centre: a perfect example of rationalist architecture

Photo: Vittorio Rossi

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Republic Square: a stage for mass gahterings of Fascist propaganda

Photo: Vittorio Rossi

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The playful semi-circular arcades offer striking perspective views.

Photo: Vittorio Rossi

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The ancient St. Apollinaire Church was integrated with an impressive arcade during the Fascist period.

Photo: Municipality of Tresigallo Archive

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Night view of the arcade

Photo: Municipality of Tresigallo Archive

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CELNA factory producing cellulose from local agriculture products: an "autarchic experiment"

Photo: Municipality of Tresigallo Archive

Tresignana, Italy

Planned town dedicated to agricultural industry

Corporative and autarchic town

The town of Tresigallo flourished remarkably during the Fascist regime when, in the mid-1930s, the Minister of Agriculture Edmondo Rossoni decided to launch a total restyling (1933-1939). A poor rural village was transformed into a new corporative town, processing agricultural products in a distillery, sugar refinery and cellulose factory. Perfectly in line with Mussolini’s policy of economic self-sufficiency, only local raw materials were employed: thus, a town of autarchy.

Rationalist urban design and architecture

New streets, squares, sports facilities, factories, hospitals and schools were built, all in line with the rationalist urban design. The new town was mainly planned by engineer Carlo Frighi with the help of important 20th-century Italian artists, such as the landscape artist Pietro Porcinai, the marble craftsman Cecchino Guerra, the engineer Giorgio Baroni (who pioneered the use of iron-reinforced concrete) as well as the sculptor Enzo Nenci. Tresigallo is one of the best-preserved examples of rationalist town planning, boasting unique examples of rationalist architecture.

An open-air museum

Still today, Tresigallo appears as if in a “metaphysical” atmosphere, since the urban design and buildings are virtually untouched. In a kind of open-air museum, unique examples of architecture deriving from the Fascist period can be found. They range from industrial architecture like the former CEL.NA cellulose factory to public squares and buildings, such as Piazza Italia with the Saint Apollinaire Church and arcade, Piazza della Repubblica, the former Fascist party building (Casa del Fascio) and the former GIL building (sports and cultural centre of the Fascist youth), today the town library.