Rome at war: urban memories from the death of the regime to the birth of the first republic

Rome at war: urban memories from the death of the regime to the birth of the first republic

Flavia Marcello (BSR; Swinburne)
Flavia Marcello (BSR; Swinburne)

Rome at War uses the fraught of Rome’s transition from capital of a Fascist Monarchy to Capital of a Democratic Republic as a case study to shed light on the social, political, architectural and urban factors that contribute to the relationship between history, memory and identity. Although not as noticeable as Rome’s more famous ancient, Baroque or Fascist eras the five years between the Death of the Regime to the Birth of the First Republic (1943-8) is ‘hidden in plain sight’ within the folds of its architecture, its monuments and its urban constitutions. The luxury hotels of the via Veneto were once lived in by Nazi soldiers, amongst the catacombs there mass reprisal killings, next to the tombs of the English romantic poets were battles between partisans and Nazis and the train from Fiumicino airport travels the very same tracks from which many Jews and political prisoners were deported never to return.

This talk examines plaques, monuments, memorials and palimpsests of graffiti connected with this era as an ongoing political dialogue where past and present merge to open up broader questions like: how can Italy approach the difficult heritage of its Fascist past? and How may this help (or hinder) the process of ‘learning from history’?

This event will be in English.


A limited number of in-person spaces are available for this talk. If you would like to attend in-person at the BSR, please sign up here.

Please note that everyone attending an event in Rome must wear an FFP2 mask, pre-register for limited places ​using Eventbrite, and be required to present a Super Green Pass or equivalent (proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid within the past nine months).


Flavia Marcello is Associate Professor of architectural history at Swinburne’s School of Design and Architecture and member of the Centre for Transformative Media Technologies. She teaches architectural design, history and theory with a particular focus on global and social themes and leads a research team of virtual heritage, user-experience experts and VR artists who recreate embodied experiences of past exhibitions and temporary pavilions. She is a world expert on the urban history of Rome as well as the art and architecture of the Italian Fascist and post-war periods. Her areas of research include: the relationship between space and ritual, the political use of Classicism and the legacy of Fascism in contemporary society. She teaches in the areas of design, history and theory with a particular focus on the inter-relationship between art and architecture. She has published articles in Modern Italy, Rethinking Histories and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. Her monograph on Italian-Istrian architect Giuseppe Pagano-Pogatschnig came out with Intellect Press in 2020 and she is currently working on a monograph that charts the many aspects of the Fascist legacy in Rome.

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