Curating Bolzano Fascist Legacies: The Myth of Druso

Dr. Elisabetta Rattalino

After South Tyrol passed to Italy in 1919 and with the establishment of a fascist regime in 1922, the capital city of the region, Bolzano-Bozen, became the object of particular interest by the government. A New Italian Bolzano was entirely constructed during the interwar period, and became one of the cities in Italy with the most extensive accumulation of fascist power representation. Architectural, infrastructural, and morphological traces built or planned during the ventennio persist in Bolzano-Bozen today. The interdisciplinary research project titled Curating Bolzano Fascist Legacies. A Sustainable Approach to a City’s Dissonant Heritage (Faculty of Design and Art, Free University of Bolzano-Bozen, 2022-2025) addresses this material and non-material heritage. 
Curating Bolzano fascist legacies: The Myth of Druso focuses on the relationship between urban planning, archaeology, and the Italianisation of the town. How the myth of the Roman commander Nerone Claudio Druso was integrated into the design of the New Italian Bolzano testifies to this entanglement. Infrastructures and landmarks were named after Druso. They still are today. In addition, examining current curatorial initiatives in Rome, the research also explores how artistic practices could activate and decolonise the controversial cultural meaning of these traces in the context of an exhibition. 

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