Wednesday, 4 April 2012

COPPEDE a neighbourhood in Rome outside the walls.

Rome has many little neighbourhoods, some like the ancient Suburbia stands just outside the area of the Roman Forum, other quartiere were built to mark an event, like the Afrika neighbourhood, all the streets are named after cities in the former Italian colonies of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Lybia, other still like Coppede at the corner of Piazza Buenos Aires and Via Tagliamento were built in a style to indicate a re-birth of Rome as the Capital of Unified Italy. The Coppede quartiere is sandwiched between the neighbourhood of Trieste and Salario. In 1913 Gino Coppede was asked to design a series of buildings that would be unique in their architecture and a symbol of the new Capital of Italy. He chose to use a mixture of Art Nouveau and Eclectic style with elements recalling ancient Rome. In all 18 apartment blocks and 11 large villas and several smaller buildings where built. Gino Coppede died in 1927 and his work was completed by a fellow architect. Today this residential neighbourhood is much visited and admired for its uniqueness in design.

I always thought that it would be fun to live in such buildings, they are the stuff of fantasy and dreams. The apartments are large and formal with high ceilings, reminiscent of an era long gone. The years of the building of this project was also one of vast ambitions in Italy, the First World War saw Italy emerge victorious over Austria and Northern Italy was liberated from Austrian occupation. Italy also gained much territory on the Eastern Side of the Adriatic, all in the former Austrian Empire. Though the 1920's saw much political gridlock and economic difficulties culminating with the coup d'état which propelled Benito Mussolini to power with his Fascist party.

These buildings stand in stark contrast to the Fascist architecture in other areas of the City for their whimsical style if compared to the severe Fascist style. The buildings are in constant need of repair and cleaning. They are well worth it and once cleaned of the soot and grime, they are quite beautiful to look at.

Villa delle Fate, a large private house.

Piazza with the fountain of the Frogs
Palazzo degli ambasciatori newly cleaned


  1. It must not be that nice to look at builfings with fascist architecture. When I travelled to Argentina, the buildings´ design also called my attention and people there told me that the architecture I was looking at in the apartment rental in Buenos Aires I was stayin in was from the era of Peron (beloved former president of Argentina) and in contrast to Italy, people love him and like everything about him!

    1. Carla, architecture is just that, an expression of time and history, I like it all.