This building, the Palazzo della Civilità del Lavoro, even called il Colosseo Quadrato (Square Colosseum) as it is popularly known by roman people, is an icon of the Fascist architecture. It lies in the district of Rome known as the Esposizione Universale Roma (also known as 'E.42' or 'E.U.R.').
The E.U.R. Project was initiated in the 1920's, financed and inspired
by the fascist Mussolini Government of the period. The project was
never completed because the Second World War and the summary execution
of Mussolini put a stop to his plans. Nevertheless, E.U.R. remains one
of the most fascinating areas of Rome and its architecture has
inspired many modern artists, including De Chirico (many of whose
paintings were inspired by this surreal area of Rome). This building
is particularly symbolic of this district, exemplifying its
The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana del Lavoro was constructed as part of the program of the Esposizione Universale Roma, a large business center and suburban complex, initiated in 1935 by Benito Mussolini for the planned 1942 World Exhibition,as a symbol of the fascism for the World. The Palazzo was designed by the architects Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano and builded between 1938 and 1943. It was inaugurated on 30 November 1940 as the centerpiece of the Esposizione and continues to be its most iconic building. The architectural style is technically known as "bombastic modernism" but in everyday language it is a fascist style building... . Inspired by ancient Roman architecture (or Rationalism), its architectural style is often called as 'simplified neoclassicism'. Marcello Piacentini, the coordinator of the commission for E42, based it on the Italian Rationalism of Pagano, Libera and Michelucci.
The design of the "Square Colosseum" was inspired more to celebrate the ancient Colosseum, and the structure was intended by Benito Mussolini as a celebration of the older Roman landmark. Similar to the Colosseum, the palace has a series of superimposed loggias, shown on the façade as six rows of nine arches each. These numbers are said to be an allusion to the name of the Fascist dictator: "Benito", having six letters, and "Mussolini," nine.
The palace is entirely clad in travertine marble (characteristic of buildings in the E.U.R.). It is a parallelepiped on a square base, with six levels rising above a podium. The scale is imposing: the base covers an area of 8,400 square meters, and the building has a volume of 205,000 cubic meters with a height of 68 meters (50 meters from the base).