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Italy is a country in south-central Europe with a beautiful Mediterranean coastline. The capital of the country is Rome, and other major cities include Florence, Venice and Milan. Perhaps most well-known for its delicious pizza and pasta, olive oil and, of course, wine! In addition to this, its ancient architecture, such as the Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa and St Peter’s Cathedral are frequently adored by many tourists. While these landmarks are both beautiful and fascinating, the modern architecture in Italy is sometimes sadly overlooked. In this blog, we take a look at some of the top modern architecture projects in Italy that are worth visiting and learning about.

The MAXXI (Art Museum of the 21st century)

The MAXXI (Art Museum of the 21st century)
CC by Massimiliano Calamelli (MAXXI)

The name is an acronym for “Art Museum of the 21st century”, and The MAXXI was inaugurated in 2012. The incredible building was designed by the late Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi architect, and it is situated the Flaminio district in Rome. Its site was formally the Montello military barracks and it is approximately 30,000m² in size. The building is divided into two sections; the MAXXI Art and the MAXXI Architecture. As you make your way through the museum, there is no direct route and, instead, the galleries are scattered around, creating an intricate puzzle landscape.

Today, The MAXXI is mostly used to host important exhibits by international artists but is also used for conferences, workshops, shows, projections, and educational projects. The building is a contemporary gem and is adored by many interested in architecture. The dynamic design and incredible use of glass have inspired a new way of thinking for future artists and architects.

Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro

Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro
CC by FaceMePLS (EUR Rome)

Situated in Rome, the Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro, or known more simply as “Colosseo Quadrato” the “Square Colosseum” was built between 1938 and 1943. The magnificent building was designed by architects Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano. The Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro was constructed by Italy’s infamous dictator, Benito Mussolini, and 70 years on; it is an icon of Fascist architecture. The design was inspired by the world-renowned amphitheatre, the Colosseum and was intended as a celebration of the ancient Roman landmark. The four corners of the podium have four equestrian sculptural groups by Publio Morbiducci and Alberto de Felci. These sculptures represent the Dioscuri; the two mythical Greek heroes, sons of Zeus and Leda. At the base of the building are 28 additional statues which were added in 1942, they are approximately 3.4 metres in height and are situated under an arch.

You can spot similarities between the Colosseum and the Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro; the palace has six rows of nine arches and this number supposedly corresponds to the number of letters in Benito Mussolini’s name. “Benito” has six letters and “Mussolini,” has nine. The base of the palace covers 8,400 square meters, and it is 68 metres in height. From 2003 to 2008, the palace was closed to the public due to restoration; then, from 2015, it has housed the headquarters for Fendi (a luxury fashion brand).

The Jubilee Church

The Jubilee Church in Italy
CC by Rory MacLeod (Jubilee Church – Richard Meier)

The Jubilee Church is perhaps one of the most iconic and noticeable buildings in the area because it is so different and unique from those that surround it. It is situated in the Tor Tre Teste area, which is six miles east of Rome. The building is in the shape of a ship that has wind-filled sails, and it is made from white concrete and glass, the magnificent building is an incredible 27,000ft² in size.

American architect Richard Meier was the designer of The Jubilee Church, and this was his first church project. It cost a whopping $10 million, and it was inaugurated in 2003. Inside the building, direct sunlight does not enter. Instead, there are skylights which are lit by sidelights. These create changing patterns of light and shade inside the church.

UniCredit Tower, Milan

UniCredit Tower in Milan
CC by Fred Romero (Milano – Torre UniCredit)

The UniCredit Tower in Milan is a 231-meter-high glass surfaced building that is iconic to the city’s appearance. The curved edge makes the building look unique while also reflecting light from the sky to the ground level fountains. The inauguration of the UniCredit Tower took place in February 2014. The fascinating building was designed by the Argentinian architect, Cesar Pelli. The huge construction, which consists of three separate buildings, house an incredible 4,000 employees. As the name suggests, it is the headquarters for UniCredit (a bank) and is situated in the northern part of Milan’s city centre. The design of the main tower spirals upwards, and all three buildings are clad in reflective glass.

Whether you are looking to visit Italy, or you are merely interested in how different countries interpret architecture in their own way, we hope that you have found this both interesting and informative. While you are here, why not take a look at our previous blog that looks at modern architecture projects in Switzerland, and discover how they incorporate contemporary designs in their country?

Here at ANY Weld, we offer steel fabrication in Devon, along with glasswork. The company was formed in 2012, and we now carry out projects all over the UK and Channel Islands. From individual home installations to large-scale industrial developments, we work on a variety of projects. So, if you are interested in our services or would like to learn more, please do not hesitate to get in contact. Send us an email at [email protected] or head over to our social media channels; tweet us @ANY_weld or visit our Facebook Page.