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La Nascita di una nuova città

The birth of a new city

The first cell of a small agricultural village, which will become a city, evolves at first around the Quadrato. Benito Mussolini and Orsolini Cencelli (president of the Opera Nazionale Combattenti) visit Littoria. The work of the architect Oriolo Frezzotti in the first urban planning regulations.

On April 5th, 1932, at Cancello di Quadrato, Mussolini commissioned the construction of Littoria. The city was officially born on December 18th, 1932. Littoria’s first urban centre was the Quadrato, where the settlers and hydraulic engineers first established the main core of the city. Today the Quadrato, which name recalls the way of measuring the land used by the romans, is a square that pays homage to the first cell of Littoria.

A lot of progress has been made about this area, especially economically: Littoria was born as a small agricultural village and has changes its appearance along with hundreds of poderi established by the Opera Nazionale Combattenti and given to the settlers living in the reclaimed Agro. It was Valentino Orsolini Cencelli’s idea to build a city in the centre of the reclaimed area. He was the president of the Opera Nazionale Combattenti and thought Cisterna, which already existed, was too outlined from the Agro’s heal territory.

The birth of a new city. Even Mussolini was persuaded by this idea which is why, after visiting the works and workers on April 5th, 1932, with Commissionar Cencelli, entrusted architect Oriolo Frezzotti with the project of Littoria. The work plan and the different projects were elaborated quickly, raising a few disparagements, but Frezzotti made sure the logistic of the viability and the territory’s morphology was something everyone could agree on. At first Littoria was born as an agricultural village indissolubly linked to the productivity of the area whose purpose doesn’t end at its urban perimeter, but it broadens through the whole area. The plan elaborated by Frezzotti, foresees a radial-concentric model, which links Littoria to its small villages, the villages are then linked to the service roads and territorial crossing of the reclaimed area, starting from the trivium at Cancello di Quadrato, to which the Caetani’s buildings referred to before 1918, which then were bought by the Consorzio di Bonifica di Piscinara. Part of the first railroad build by the Caetani’s in the first years of the 20th century, met up with the trivium.

The main feature of the urban plan by Frezzotti is that the city has an octagonal plan with roads branched to rays. It is crossed or brushed against the main reclaimed canals: Acque Medie, Acque Alte (Mussolini Canal) and Rio Martino.

From a simple service village, Littoria became a true rural centre in 1932, municipal centre in 1933 and provincial capital in 1934. In 1945 the name of the city changed from Littoria – which has always been debated – to Latina. The city has kept untouched the features of the time of when it was born in its public building: the municipal building with the tower, the courthouse, the palace of administration and the one in front of the Banca d’Italia in Piazza della Libertà, where there is a marble fountain shaped as a fascio littorio with wheat ears, donated by the cities of Asti and Vasto, S. Marco Cathedral and its omonimous square, the building of the Opera Nazionale Combattenti, the Piazza del Quadrato and the portici of the financial and municipal buildings. Frezzotti paid a lot of attention to the different typos of squares and intersections between rays and rings of the New City’s plan.