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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Modernist Treasure, or Monstrosity? Via Teano 223, Roma

We were somewhere in the Rome countryside, slogging our way toward the new Teano Metro station--our goal was to walk all the new ones in one outing--when we saw a huge, and we would say unique, building rise up before us.  Modernist treasure or monstrosity?  And what was inside?

School entrance
At one entrance, we learned from signage that at least part of the building housed a technical high school.  The IISS Di Vittorio-Lattanzio opened there, we learned later, in 2000.  (Lattanzio is an Italian family name, apparently a revival of the Latin name Lactantius, from Lactans, for the Roman god of vegetation.  Like you really needed to know that.  However,  the building is sometimes referred to as the Palazzo del'ex lattanzio, which strongly suggests that a lattanzio is, indeed, something.  The word isn't in our dictionary, but we're guessing it's an ex-cannery).

The other side of the round part of the building has been visited frequently by graffiti artists. When we walked through a large, open gate to get a better look, a guard indicated we had entered prohibited territory, adding, in response to our query, that parts of the building were used for storage.

That's the guard who told us to leave.

Indeed, the building, constructed between 1958 and 1961, was built for and originally housed a warehouse for the Teatro dell'Opera--that is, space for opera costumes and scenery--complete with a system of ramps.  In the late 1960s, elements of it (likely the square elements) were adapted for use as a school.  In the 1970s, the upper floors housed "sfratti"--that is, people evicted from their homes or apartments.
Iacurci's "Zero Infinito"

The flat, eastern end of the building features an enormous piece of street art by Agostino Iacurci.  It
was completed in 2013 with the permission (and perhaps the financial support) of the local government, Rome's 5th Municipio, and under the auspices of the Wunderkammern gallery, an avant-garde art space located in Tor Pignattara.  It's titled "Zero Infinito."

The Teano metro station is now open, so the l'ex lattanzio is easily accessible.  Don't miss it!  Via Teano 223.

New Teano metro station. Shades of Saarinen.

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