About the Book
The Esposizione Universale Roma (EUR, originally called E42) is a large complex, now a suburban area and business centre, in Rome, Italy. It was started in 1935 by Benito Mussolini and planned to open in 1942 to celebrate twenty years of Fascism. In urban planning terms, E42 was designed to direct the expansion of the city towards the south-west, connecting it to the sea. The planned exhibition never took place due to World War II.
After a period of controversy over its architectural and urban planning principles, the project to design EUR was commissioned from the leaders of both of the rival factions in Italian architecture: Marcello Piacentini for the "reactionaries" and Giuseppe Pagano for the "progressives". Each of them brought in their own preferred architects to design individual buildings within the complex. EUR offers a large-scale image of how urban Italy might have looked, if the Fascist regime had not fallen; wide axially planned streets and austere buildings of either stile Littorio, inspired by ancient Roman architecture, or Rationalism, modern architecture but built using traditional limestone, tuff and marble.
The most representative building of the "Fascist" style at EUR is Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (1938-1943), an iconic project which has since become known as the "Colosseo Quadrato" (Square Colosseum).
After the war, the Roman authorities found that at EUR they already had the beginnings of an out-of-town business district that other capitals did not begin planning until decades later (London Docklands and La Defense in Paris).
During the 1950s and 1960s the unfinished Fascist-era buildings were completed, and other new buildings were constructed in not dissimilar styles for use as offices and government ministries, set in large gardens and parks. Many Italians consider EUR synonymous with wealthy living and fast money, but many expatriates from North America choose to live there because it is conveniently close to the old city but with newer buildings and infrastructure, is close to the main international airport, and is easily accessible by car. It is also served by Line B of the Rome Metro and Roma-Lido.
Other attractions at EUR include the Museum of Roman Civilization, the Pigorini National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography and the sports arena PalaEUR (now PalaLottomatica), designed by Pier Luigi Nervi and Marcello Piacentini for the 1960 Summer Olympics.
The Fascist architecture of EUR was prominently featured in Michelangelo Antonioni's 1962 film L'Eclisse. The location was also used as the headquarters of Mayflower Industries in the 1991 movie Hudson Hawk and served as a backdrop for scenes from the 1999 film adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus.