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The plan of Littoria ( Arch. Oriolo Frezzotti, 1888-1965)

The idea of building a town in the middle of the reclamation, was given by Orsolini Cencelli, the president of O.N.C., who thought the near and pre-existent Cisterna to be too far and decentralised in comparison with the reclaimed territories. The view of the just deforested area, from an high tower placed in Quadrato and now demolished, persuaded Mussolini about the importance of this project, which was ordered to the architect O.Frezzotti, with whom the engineer Caio Savoia, manager of the Ufficio Tecnico of O.N.C., worked.
Because of the urgence of achieving Littoria, the plan and the projects were carried out very soon; this gave rise to a lot of complaints, which, however, were without foundation at all, because the Plan imposed for its clear relationship between architecture and town-planning: the consistence of the ground was carefully valued, the wide peaty areas, which would have caused too high costs for the foundations, were discarded, the location of the town was decided according to the road conditions of the territory and finally, the adopted morphology followed important territorial, historical and cultural values.
According to the planners'idea, in fact, Littoria could not be considered "town" but agricultural municipal centre, strictly connected to the surrounding productive area: so, its aim did not end in the perimeter of the urban centre but it spreads through all the territory, and just to this guide-idea of the Plan it was connected the ordered circular form, which extended to the villages throughout its triangular sectors and created, therefore, a radial road system open to the territory.
The plan of Littoria, which is a synthesis between the radial system and the one with concentric links, takes place in the european debate of 30's about the development of the modern city; from the Renaissance studies on the importance of the radial-concentric city, to the "kinematic" pattern, the cobweb one, used in the morphologycal plans realised, p.e., for Milano or Colonia.
From simple service village of the reclamation ( Cancello di Quadrato ), Littoria became rural centre in 1932, municipal centre in 1933, provincial capital in 1934, when the foundation of other four new towns had been decided, and in 1935 it had its first widening plan, which appears, however, as the natural development of the plan of 1932, thanks to the radial-concentric model of the original project which had elected as Central Square the area of Cancello di Quadrato, linked to the territory by three existing roads, to whom other two will be added to complete the radial system; a series of link will create, in the intersection of the radius, a system of squares, different in shape and function.
The plan was considered to be too simple, with elementary symmetries and scenographic and empty perspectives, but at a more careful reading, the relation-ships between radius and links, between these and the squares, town and territory, architecture and road system, appear less common than the conventional project could show. The place where these relationships are more clearly shown is Piazza del Popolo: along the shorter sides of the pre-existent rectangle ( Cancello di Quadrato ) there are two back-drops and the link with the territory is signaled by four roads which converge to the corners and an avenue, crossing the town from north to south without diversions, which goes through the square. It is just the presence of this avenue that allows to correct the visible effect of the four road's different corners without creating a common symmetry because it divides the square into two irregular parts, leaving the municipio a bit decentralized as regards the centre line, as its town tower, which, in this way, diminishes the effect of the geometric pattern. This crossing of the town, going through Piazza del Popolo, links directly Piazza Roma and Piazza della Chiesa di S.Marco, whereas the centre-line east-west links, through a more various distance, Piazza del Quadrato ( where there is the ex O.N.C. ) and Piazza B. Buozzi, crossing Piazza del Popolo through a series of discontinuos "portici", not all along the same axis, which create a various effect of alternation and combination. The direction Borgo Piave-Borgo S.Michele crosses diagonally Piazza del Popolo, and then continues going through Piazza della libertà ( delimited by the Government building and the bank of Italy on the longer sides and the shorter ones ) until another open space, not delimited by buildings but natural: the Public Gardens.
Also the development of the circular roads is not continuos, but it stops in connection with the squares. Outside, Littoria was surrounded by the irregular course of the ring road, Viale Mussolini, that is the point from which the successive widenings began, because of the change of the town ( from municipal centre into province ) which, in 1935, imposed an adjustement of the plan to receive the 50000 inhabitants estimated. The course of this project was more difficult, and only after various proposals, it go to a definite solution, which thought the widening of the town as an expansion of the original plan, starting from a new system of squares. Other "buildings d'autore" were included in the original core of the town: from the widening of the Poste by A. Mazzoni to the INA buildings by M. Paniconi and G. Pediconi: around the town were located the Market, the Barracks, the Area for the Artigianato, the Military Zone, the Stadium, the Fair, the Slaughter-house and the Hospital area; the wide quarter of Case Popolari with its Church completed the plan.
The new squares, opening on the crossing between the radial lines and the recent ring roads seem to show the features of the italian historical squares, as to create an ideal link between the "new town" and the old tradition.