Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana

Southern Rome

Known more prosaically as the Square Colosseum, this iconic building in the EUR district is a prime example of rationalist architecture, featuring symmetrical rows of 216 arches and gleaming white travertine marble. For much of its history – it was completed in 1943 – it was unoccupied. Then the Fendi fashion house purchased and renovated the building and transferred the company's global headquarters here. Occasional contemporary-art exhibitions are staged on the ground floor.

The distinct form of the palazzo was designed by Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano; each side of the building consists of six rows of nine arches, rising to a height of 50m. According to some, these numbers are a homage to the project’s fascist patron, with the six rows reflecting the six letters of Benito and the nine arches the nine letters of Mussolini.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Southern Rome attractions

1. Genius of Sport

0.19 MILES

Originally titled 'Genius of Fascism' and erected on this site in 1939 as EUR was taking shape, this statue was given the flimsiest of post-war make-overs…

3. Chiesa Santi Pietro e Paolo

0.35 MILES

Work started on this enormous white travertine and umber brick pile in 1939 for the Esposizione Universale di Roma (Roman Universal Exhibition), but didn…

4. Obelisco di Marconi

0.36 MILES

Done up in faux-Egyptian style, this soaring central EUR obelisk was a favourite of Mussolini's. It features the usual array of buff workers beavering…

5. EUR District

0.37 MILES

This Orwellian quarter of wide boulevards and linear buildings was built for an international exhibition in 1942, and although war intervened and the…

6. Roma Convention Centre

0.49 MILES

Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas’ cutting-edge Roma Convention Centre: La Nuvola (2016) – the largest building to open in Rome in half a century – is a…

7. Palazzo dei Congressi

0.51 MILES

Rome's Congress Palace was constructed for the 1942 Universal Exposition, and hosted the fencing during the 1960 Olympics. The enormous terrace above the…

8. Sea Life Roma

0.57 MILES

Over 5000 sea creatures, 30 tanks with more than one million gallons of water, a 360-degree glass tunnel for viewing sharks and stingrays, the list goes…