Foro Italico in Rome: a masterpiece for sport and leisure
Foro Italico is a sports complex result of the Fascist policy, that used to celebrate the athletic training of Italian young men. The first nucleus of the Foro was in fact realized between 1927 and 1933, and completed after the war, with the works going on until 1968.
So, Foro Italico was designed as the ultimate celebration of the importance of physical exercise for the Fascist youth. The Fascist man was first of all a man of action, and his physical-athletic preparation had a leading role.
Sport and physical education became elements of propaganda, and sporting competitions and the results obtained in the field were celebrated as much as great undertakings. Mussolini as well gave an image of himself as a sport enthusiast, and many are the pictures that portray him practicing athletics, ski or swimming.
The realization of a complex like the one of Foro Italico is therefore perfectly in line with this programme of valorization of physical activity and action.
The first part of the complex was inaugurated in 1932, and planned, according to the design of Enrico Del Debbio, the settling of the Fascist Male Academy of Physical Education, of the Satdio dei Marmi and of the current Stadio Olimpico.
Luigi Moretti, another architect of the regime, developed until 1941 some extension projects, which were yet never realized.
Foro Italico still constitute to this day an extremely fascinating complex thanks to its monumental nature. It is decorated with imposing statues representing men in the act of practicing various physical activities (javelin, boxing…); each one came as a gift from a different Italian province.
The statues’ dimensions and their classical style take the visitor back to the imagination of the Greek Olympics, and almost suggest the will to recover the sports and physical exercise culture that was so popular among the Greeks.
Foro Italico still hosts today important sporting events, like for instance the Tennis Italian Open, housed in this wonderful and charming complex since 1949.