The following dissertation looks into the town planning carried out by the Fascist regime in Italy during the 1930s, using the village of Sabaudia as its case study. Italian Fascist cultural policy was from the beginning marked by a strong dualism, a pluralistic hegemony. Thus both the past and the future were embraced by a regime eager to position itself as a system that suited everybody both the old bourgoisie and the brutes of the Fascist revolution.
According to the propaganda, Sabaudia together with the other new towns, hamlets and farms in the Pontine Marshes was an important brick in the government s internal recolonization project. After World War I, the country was very much in need of new, hygienic dwellings for the people. The older housing was decaying, the population booming, and internal migrations from the countryside to the large cities was becoming an ever more pressuring problem that needed to be dealt with. The regime strongly promoted anti-urbanism as the way to go, wanting to move people back to the countryside, out of the enormous, polluted cities where too large crowds of unemployed workers were considered a menace to society and order.
Sabaudia was intended as an example of how living should be in the stato nuovo that the Fascists were constructing. The new town would be a rural town, or really a rural center, co-dependent on other structures (hamlets and farms) within its own closed economic and social system. To inhabit the area, the Fascists wanted war veterans, but very many of the new colonists were in reality troublesome anti-fascists, nominated to be sent south to a new destiny in the Pontine Marshes by local authorities in the north, grasping the opportunity to get rid of unwanted elements in their own society.
The main problems discussed here are: First, the negotiation between an avant-garde group of architects (representants of the Rationalist style, an Italian version of functionalism), eager to test out new ideas regarding town planning, buildings, dwellings, etc., and a more complex patron, the Fascist state, here represented by the Opera Nazionale dei Combattenti, in search of an expression that at the same time would emanate tradition (Italianità and Romanità), be a modern town of the 20th century, as well as fullfill all the functions demanded of it within its own socio-economic system. The Fascists also meant for Sabaudia to be a show case, both for the Italian people, as well as for foreign countries. Even though the architects gave the town a modern appearance, a closer look at the system reveals many similarities with the latifundium and colonia systems of Ancient Rome. Secondly, the dissertation looks into the question of how the town was received by the public, both at home and abroad, and by the government.