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D'Anniballe Williams, Maria (2011) URBAN SPACE IN FASCIST VERONA: CONTESTED GROUNDS FOR MASS SPECTACLE, TOURISM, AND THE ARCHITECTURAL PAST. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation focuses on the refashioning of Verona's urban space and identity during the Fascist regime. Traditionally, Fascist-sponsored restoration projects were interpreted as top-down undertakings decided and directly controlled by central state authority. Only recently have studies begun to test this thesis and show the involvement of local forces in the reshaping of Fascist Italy's urban spaces. My research builds on this recent scholarship by showing the active role played by Verona's socio-political elites in the refashioning of the city's urban fabric. However, my study also extends the current literature on Fascist-sponsored restoration projects by discussing the contribution of international narratives to the debate surrounding the refashioning of Italy's built heritage. In this study I explore the ways in which these narratives—particularly those advanced by tourism and the Hollywood film industry—influenced local and national socio-political groups, forcing them to renegotiate their project of appropriation of the city's historic heritage within a broader framework of international assumptions about Verona's famous history. Far from being a top-down undertaking, the reshaping of the city's urban space emerges as a complex process of mediation between distinct groups, with different interests at stake, each trying to capitalize on Verona's world-wide reputation to further its own agenda. While preservation groups insisted on the importance of maintaining and restoring the city's multiple historical layers, the local socio-political elite pressed for an ideal—although sometimes fictitious— recreation of Verona's built heritage with the intent to foster tourism and support their myth of identity. The central government, on the other hand, fully supported local initiatives in order to build consensus for the regime as long as such projects could be reconciled with Fascism's agenda of nation and empire building. The study of the refashioning of Verona's architectural fabric shows that Mussolini appropriated the city's cultural tradition but left ample freedom of action to local officials and the urban bourgeoisie in their urban renewal efforts. Ultimately, this project contributes to a deeper understanding of Fascism's relationship with the past and provides insight into the culturally constructed nature of urban spaces and identities.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
D'Anniballe Williams,, mariadanniballe@gmail.comMAD13
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairMcCloskey, Barbara
Committee CoChairSavage, Kirk
Committee MemberArmstrong, Christopher Drew
Committee MemberGutschow, Kai K
Date: 31 January 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 16 November 2010
Approval Date: 31 January 2011
Submission Date: 9 December 2010
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: architecture; Fascism; motion pictures; propaganda; tourism
Other ID:, etd-12092010-021326
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:09
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:54


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