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Italian architecture from Mussolini era

October 18, 2009

Regarding "Monsters or Masterpieces?" by Susan Spano [Oct. 11]. What a fantastic article. I lived in Rome from 2007 to '08 while attending St. John's University for graduate school. What a city. I love the architecture enough to make a special trip to see all of the things I didn't have time for when I was studying. I have been curious about EUR but never went there. Thank Spano for writing about these often-overlooked places.

Christina Brandli

Irvine

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Spano missed several important memorials to the architecture of Benito Mussolini, who was labeled "a visionary leader." These include Bolzano, Fossoli and La Risiera di San Sabba, and Ferramonti di Tarsia concentration camps, where 6,000 Italian, German and Austrian Jews were passed to the Germans. Perhaps Spano should include Yad Vashem in Jerusalem as well. Shame on Spano for not mentioning the darker side of his historical impact, which is his real memorial.

Joel Foss

Lakewood

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading Spano's article. It reminded me of the continued "presence" of Il Duce not just in Rome, but throughout Italy, and not just architecturally. One can still purchase Mussolini's speeches from any book or record store, something that doesn't apply to his contemporaries Hitler, Franco, Stalin etc.

Although the stark and sleek lines of the Foro Italico may have a monumental quality, I personally consider that in the entire history of 20th century totalitarian art, including Italy, Germany and the USSR, not one truly beautiful creation emerged in any aesthetic field.

Willy Schwarz

Bremen, Germany

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