Rome Travel Guide

Rome Architecture, History, Art, Museums, Galleries, Fashion, Music, Photos, Walking and Hiking Itineraries, Neighborhoods, News and Social Commentary, Politics, Things to Do in Rome and Environs. Over 900 posts

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

History by Walking Around: the new tourist destination of Quartiere Giuliano Dalmata


As usual with Rome, we find some of the most interesting information - and add to our knowledge of history -  just by walking around. Last year - when we were walking back from our intended destination of the Laurentina 38 housing project (about which Bill wrote in July 2019) we ran across this "monument" (top photo) - with the words "To the fallen, Giuliani Dalmati," placed on a large boulder from the Carso - a rocky region of Italy that was the subject of Italian/Austria-Hungary battles in World War I, and was a focus of competing armies and political interests again in World War II. 

We also saw on a nearby building this plaque, 

which basically reads:

March 1947: The Exodus of Italian Pola: Hospitable Rome welcomes the Istrian, Fiumean [Fiume is now called Rijeka] and Dalmation refugees. President Oscar Sinigaglia [a street in the map below bears his name], with the National Organization of Repatriated Workers and Refugees, gives life to the "Giuliano Dalmation Neighborhood"  The plaque is marked as put up by the National Association of Venezia, Giulia, e Dalmazia (Venezia-Giulia and Dalmatia)

Quite difficult to make sense of this if one is less that fully knowledgeable about Italy's role in World War I, Fascism and World War II, plus some post-World War II history. In giving it a try recently, we ran across an article touting the restoration of the monument at the top of this post, "after years of neglect and degradation" (it didn't look so bad to us in 2019!) only this past October.

And, even more recent, on December 30 of this past year, the "Quartiere Giuliano Dalmata" (map at end of post) was welcomed - with a plaque and Q Code - in the tourist layout of Rome. 

Not exactly readable here, but the plaque relates that the "quartiere" or neighborhood started in 1939 as workers' housing for laborers building Mussolini's E42 expo grounds (now the fully developed EUR zone, which is featured in our books) a few miles further south of Rome. 
When the war brought Mussolini's unfinished international exhibition construction to a halt, the workers abandoned the housing. The Allies occupied the buildings for a while. When they left, in 1947, a nucleus of 12 families - fleeing their homes in Pola, which was ceded to Yugoslavia and is better known as the Istrian Peninsula - were settled here. The dorms were converted to small apartments, and in 1955 another 2,000 people from the ex-Italian Pola region settled here, giving the quarter its name. 

There are still some political joustings and resentments over the "exodus." Apparently (I'm trying to tread lightly here) some of the Italians were settled in the Istrian Peninsula by the Fascist government, which claimed the area and wanted it settled by, and dominated by, Italians.

The boulder monument was put up in 1961, and in 2008 a sculpture (photo below, right) was erected in the nearby Largo Vittime delle Foibe Istriane ("Largo [something like a piazza] Victims of the Istrian Foibe").  Bill commented on the sculpture in a 2011 post here. 

Delving into the foibe (deep sink holes into which victims were thrown, sometimes alive) and their political ramifications is beyond my pay grade at this point - perhaps for a later post.  Because the Day of Remembrance for the victims and those in the exodus that resulted in the neighborhood described here is February 10 - not long ago - we offer a link to an Ansa article describing the reasons for the Day of Remembrance (and a bit of the politics).

No comments: