Rome Travel Guide

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

RST Top 40. #10: Luigi Moretti's ex-GIL


Ex-GIL?  What's that?  It means ex- (former) GIL, that is former Casa del GIL (Casa della Gioventu' Italiana del Littorio), which translates House of the Italian Fascist Youth.  Today's it's part art gallery, part athletic center, part movie theater.  Some of it's been recently restored, most of it hasn't.  The photo above left, taken for an architectural magazine, shows the building in its Fascist-era glory.  But even in its current condition l'ex GIL is a powerfully evocative example--perhaps the best in Rome--of high rationalist Fascist architecture.  And we dig that stuff.  So it makes our Top 10, albeit just barely.   

The ex-GIL is on Itinerary 3 in Rome the Second Time, and amply described there, so all you cretins who haven't yet bought the book should click on "Buy Book" above.  While you wait for your copy to arrive, here are a few details:

The building was designed by one of Rome's true architectural geniuses, Luigi Moretti, whose work was the subject of a recent exhibition at the MAXXI gallery in the Flaminio district.  It was constructed between 1933 and 1936.  There's some great Fascist sloganeering on the side facing the Largo/movie-theater parking lot (you'll know it when you see it); an enormous, unique permanent map of the rather measly Italian empire on an interior wall; and, around back, toward the small soccer field, one of the most graceful stairways ever designed.  (While you're there, think about all the Italian teenagers who went through the place, trying their best to make their bodies correspond to the Fascist [and Roman] ideal).  There's some other stuff, too.  Poke around.  When you're done, Nuovo Sacher, Nanni Morretti's movie house, next door on Largo Ascianghi, is worth a few minutes; it was built about the same time. 

The theater on via Induno, in a photo from 1983/84.  Notice the
strong horizontal lines.

Getting there: L'ex GIL is sandwiched between viale di Trastevere, via G. Induno, and Largo Ascianghi.  If you're in classic Trastevere, it's just a short walk up viale di Trastevere to via Induno (go left).  The complex is a stone's throw from Porta Portese, away from the Tevere. 


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