ABSTRACT

I found these handwritten pages inside a pamphlet entitled Civiltà Romana, one of several commissioned by the Istituto Nazionale di Cultura Fascista1 from Pietro de Francisci, and it is clear that, in order to cope with an unpalatable subject, the poor schoolboy had looked for inspiration in this pamphlet (from which most of his ideas were lifted). Fascism initially presented itself as a movement which was above political parties, being concerned above all else with promoting national unity and strength. Rome provided a convenient model for organization and combat. Four large marble maps placed on the wall of the Basilica of Maxentius in Rome recalled the progressive conquests of the ancient Roman empire and implied that history might repeat itself. That the two “histories” (the Roman and the contemporary) should mirror each other had been a familiar theme since the 1920s with publications such as Tito Vezio’s “Due marce su Roma” (two marches on Rome): Julius Caesar’s and Benito Mussolini’s.2