During the Fascist era several new towns were built in Italy and its colonies, in addition to all the renewal projects that were executed in the cities.
Sabaudia is one of the results of this building activity. According to the fascist propaganda it was built in 253 days, by 6,000 men working day and night.
In fact, it is just one of five towns being built as part of the 'integral reclamation' and resettlement scheme for the Agro Pontino, a project in which these highly infested marshlands were drained and converted into arable land.
The other four towns being:
Littoria (inaugurated in 1932), now Latina (architect Oriolo Frezzotti);
Pontinia (founded December 19, 1934)--Le Corbusier tried to get this assignment, but was turned down) the ingenieur Papalardo got the job);
Aprilia (founded on April 25, 1936), and
Pomezia, (founded on April 25, 1938 and inaugurated in 1939) (both towns: Petrucci, Tufaroli, Paolini and Silenzi).
In addition 17 borghi, and nearly 4,000 farmsteads were laid out.
A group of very young architects from Rome consisting of four earlier members of the "Gruppo urbanisti romani" won the competition for Sabaudia. They are:
Gino Cancellotti (1896-1987) Eugenio Montuori (1907-1982) Luigi Piccinato (1899-1983) Alfredo Scalpelli (1898-1966) Piccinato was the leader of the group.
The competition was organized by the Opera Nazionale Combattenti (ONC), the Military Veterans' Association, and the leader of the jury was Gustavo Giovannoni,
the director of the School of Architecture in Rome.
The architects were given an exceptionally short deadline for the competition, only 21 days. 14 different proposals were made, whereof three competition entries
were accepted for the second phase of the competition.
All the entries were shown in an exhibition in the ONC headquarters on via Ulpiano in Rome in July 1933. Oriolo Frezzotti came in second, and Angelo Vicario third.
Their prize was to construct some of the buildings in Sabaudia.2 Work on Sabaudia was begun on August 5, 1933 (on the same day that the first threshing in Littoria
took place), with a solemn ceremony where Mussolini, the Bishop of Lazio, and count Valentino Orselini Cencelli among others, took part in the laying of the ground stone.
And as I've already mentioned, the town was inaugurated by King Vittorio Emanuele and Queen Elena of Montenegro on April 15, 1934. (Mussolini did not participate in the inauguration, as some sources wrongly state.)
The Fascist government was strongly anti-urbanist in its approach. Influenced by the writings of the French mass-psychologist Gustave Le Bon, Mussolini feared a scenario
where masses of unemployed workers would be crammed together in the big cities. The increasing problem with unemployment in the early 1930s led to the major internal
migration, with people drifting towards the cities in hope of a better life. Italy was not as industrialized as other European countries, though, and there were no jobs.
This text is the result of two years of intense (and expensive) studies of Hanne Storm Ofteland.
That means that this information is not to be used without a written permission from her.
If nothing else is written: Hanne Storm Ofteland © 1999, 2000, 2001, text and layout.
Jan Valentin Saether © 1999, 2000, photographs. All rights reserved.