A vast 1:250 scale model depicting the splendor of ancient Rome is hidden amid the suburban Roman area of EUR. The plaster replica, known as the Plastico di Roma Imperiale, was ordered by Mussolini in 1933 and shows Rome during the reign of Constantine I in the fourth century AD. It is currently shown in the Museum of Roman Civilization, which was established in the 1930s to present the history of ancient Rome.
Italo Gismondi, an archaeologist, spent his entire life working on the plaster model, which is a masterpiece. For a sizable display honoring the 2,000th anniversary of Augustus’ passing, the scale model’s basic core, which was based in part on Rodolfo Lanciani’s 1901 map Forma Urbis, was finished. Gismondi continued to add to the model up until 1971 when it was permanently placed at the Museum of Roman Civilization in the 1950s.
Gismondi, who is now regarded as one of the most significant sources for the appearance of ancient Rome, employed detailed maps for well-known structures like the Pantheon and Colosseum. Models that were indicative of ancient building were used to design the residential housing as well as other places lacking archeological remnants. Ironically, despite the fact that he ordered the demolition of many of Rome’s historic homes to make room for expansive thoroughfares like the via dei Fori Imperiali, which leads to the Colosseum, Mussolini is to blame for the model’s lack of references.
Victor Plahte Tschudi, a professor of architectural history at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, claims that the model “gave Fascist modernism an apparent imperial foundation.” It also supported, even encouraged, the regime’s ruthless renovation program to restore Rome’s historic sites.
Regardless of its original intent as propaganda, the Plastico still draws visitors and schoolchildren who now use it as an educational tool to imagine how the old ruins they can presently see once blended into a greater metropolitan scene. Filmmakers, including Ridley Scott, who used a few images from the Plastico in his 2000 film The Gladiator, have also benefited from the enormous scale and intricacy of the 55 feet by 55 feet structure.
h/t: [Open Culture]