April 5, 2018

Italy's Right-Wing Lega Party Plans to Turn Fascist Headquarters into Museum

COMO, ITALY–Lega, Italy’s right-wing political party—which won nearly 18 percent of the vote in the March 4 general election and could become a part of the coming coalition government—wants to turn Casa del Fascio, the headquarters for the country’s National Fascist Party that was completed in 1936, into Italy’s largest museum on modern art, design, and architecture, writes Hannah McGivern of the Art Newspaper.

The plans for this structure show up in Salvini Premier, the manifesto written by the head of Lega, Matteo Salvini. There is a section of the text that discusses “cultural heritage and Italian identity,” where culture is highlighted as “the strategic asset of our country” and “the industry that can guarantee us primacy compared with the rest of the world.” Salvini also wants to create a central marketing hub to push tourism in conjunction with regional authorities and thirty of the country’s major museums, among other initiatives.

Casa del Fascio, just one of five thousand Fascist buildings throughout Italy, was designed by the architect Giuseppe Terragni. It is located in Como, in the country’s Lombardy region. The structure was created to be a symbol of Benito Mussolini’s power. Terragni worked with the artists Mario Radice and Marcello Nizzoli on the edifice’s decor. At one point a photomontage portrait of the dictator was planned for the building’s facade, but it was turned down by the Fascists because the project was seen as being “insufficiently celebratory.” There is also a marble statue of Mussolini in the conference room.

Since the 1950s, the building has been an outpost for Italy’s financial police. But talk of transforming the space into a museum has been going on for years. The City of Como even signed an agreement with the architect’s grandson, Attilio Terragni, to make the building available to tourists and may even apply for the site to gain UNESCO World Heritage status.

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