The Post Office
The beautiful and very special Post office a building covered with Savoy-blue tesserae and red Siena marble--
was designed by Angiolo Mazzoni.
As Michael McNamara writes in an article published on the WWW, Mazzoni emphazises "assymetry, motion, curving masses and planes and an inventive use of bold colors and material palettes simultaneously ancient and modern."
Chiesa SS. Annunziata
The church was inaugurated on the 24 February, 1935. Its measures are: height 22 meters,
length 55 meters, and width 29 meters.
The facade is covered with travertine slabs in two different shades.
The external sides are covered with red bricks.
There are three side chapels on each side of the aisle.
From the outside these are strongly reminiscent of the storage magazines of a grain elevator,
- surely a connotation that was intended. In the fascist propaganda, the rural aspect of Sabaudia is emphasized.
It but a "rural center." was not to be called a town or a city, And if we look at the motif on the mosaic,
we get even more of this symbolism:
THE MOSAIC (1935)
The mosaic over the main entrance shows the Annunciation scene.
In the background you can see the harvest going on, il Duce, and the city of Sabaudia. All in the simple, somewhat naivistic style of the 1930s.
The colours used are bright and clear. The artist is Ferruccio Ferrazzi (1882-1978) from Rome.
(No picture of it available on this page at the moment.)
The church has one nave bay, with six semi-circular chapels along the sides. There are two symmetrical pulpits, one on each side of the main altar, situated in the center of the presbytery.
On the left side of the church is the campanile, or bell tower (not visible in this picture). It is 45 meters high, and covered with the same strips of dark and light travertine as the church facade.
The baptistery is a freestanding mass,
situated on the right side of the church.
Like the church, the baptistry is also covered
with light and dark strips of travertine. It is cylindrical,
its door -- as is the door of the church --
is lined with bronze sheeting.
On top, a row of low rectangular windows go all the way round.
The structure is extremely simple,
and it is based on centrally-planned precedents.
The building is aligned on the longitudinal axis
of the front porch of the church (as can bee seen in the
picture to the left).
(Today, unfortunately, the baptistry is used as a magazine for storing gardening tools.)
The Town Hall
This is a glimpse of the Town Hall seen from the sea side.
It was designed by the Gruppo Urbanisti Romani, and is kept in a purely rationalistic style.
The big windows and the clean geometrical shapes gives a certain metaphysical air to it.
The Town Hall is built in travertine and brick.
It is a peaceful majestic building. Seen from the front, it is more "fascist" looking, with its big, semi-detached tower,
and an external pulpit from where speeches could be given during party rallies.
In addition (over the main entrance on the
front facade) there used to be a relief with a Victory, the year XII (Sabaudia was inaugurated in the year 12 in the Fascist era,
or 1934 according to our calendar), fasces, and the city's coat of arms.
The relief was designed by
the sculptors F. Nagni and A. Vecchi.
To the left in the background you can see the Fascist party headquarters with its tower.
ONC - Azienda Agraria
This is a view of what is today the Biblioteca Comunale
"F. Ianella" and the local museum on Piazza Verbania, Sabaudia. It used to be part of the Azienda Agraria complex,
designed by Angelo Vicario.
The two buildings in the end of the picture used to be the stable and the storage
for crops. You can also see a big drinking basin for the horses in the right part of the picture.
Other buildings that made up the Azienda Agraria complex contained the offices of the ONC, and some residences
for the ONC officials (and other internal immigrants that still had not gotten a place on their own).
From here the ONC controlled Sabaudia and its surrounding territory.
From the 1920s and onward, the fascist youth organization of the Opera Nazionale Balilla (from 1937
onwards the Gioventł Italiana del Littorio) offered after-school activites to children and young people.
The goal of the ONB was to provide physical and moral/spiritual training.
The young members of the ONB were trained in the fascist doctrine and history, they were given fencing
classes, and other kinds of physical activities. The young girls were brought up to be good, caring mothers
and wifes in the future. There were film showings, library services, and the possibility to listen to the radio
in the ONB buildings. In addition, being a member was an advantage when children were picked out for stays
in the summer colonies. Eva Nodin writes that children from poor backgrounds were served a daily meal,
and could get free school books and health care from the Balilla.
The Balilla Building
Oriolo Frezzotti is often considered a minor architect.
He was the designer of the first Pontine town, Littoria, and was given assigments in all the other towns as well.
It has been argued that the reason for him getting these commissions was that he was easy to mould, and that he would
do as the regime said.
This may be so, but I am not sure whether I agree that he was a "minor" architect. The buildings he designed for Sabaudia
are some of the town's more interesting ones, and especially his Balilla building should not be neglected when the
architectural history is being written. It is a small, elegant building, drawing on both classicizing and rationalist
features, situated in the south-east part of town.
Today the building is owned by the Military and it is therefore closed to the public (like many other buildings in Sabaudia).
While the houses in the new towns at least were given
modern covers (the structure did not always adhere to the new principles of form follows function, e.g.
classicizing features such as symmetry and axiality would be preferred to more "functional" solutions1),
the farmsteads were constructed according to traditional ways of building.
To the right you see two of the farm buildings the ONC erected on the outskirts of Sabaudia.
The external staircase is a traditional building feature, as is the span roof.
If you look at the upper photo, you can see the letters "ONC" in relief, plus the farm's number:
"2998" to the left of the staircase, underneath the window.
These photos were taken in July 2000, and we saw several other farmsteads that have kept this souvenir
from the fascist era. The farm buildings were simple brick constructions, with stucco covered walls.
According to Diane Ghirardo who has written an excellent book on the new towns in fascist Italy and
New Deal America, 18 different farmhouse models were designed, and these could have either flat or
span roof - that is, a total of 36 different looks, to avoid monotony.
She describes the buildings: "The new dwellings were one- or two-story single-family residences whose
indoor floor areas were from 128 to 213 square meters, with four or five bedrooms upstairs, and kitchen,
storeroom, and stables for cows and horses downstairs..."
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.