Planned communities

When the land reclamation project was finished, numerous new towns and villages sprang up in the reclaimed areas. It was an important phenomenon that saw the foundation of 70 communities, including towns, hamlets and villages in 28 different provinces. Historians of architecture and urban planning coined the term “città di fondazione” or “planned communities” to underline the special features, in an Italian urban context of these types of constructions featuring Fascist architecture, rationalist elements and squares inspired by Giorgio De Chirico’s metaphysical art.

The first new towns mainly had a rural function, as centres to support increased grain production and draining malarial swamps. The central nucleus was in the Pontina area, which in a few years saw the building of Littoria (1932, today Latina), Sabaudia (1933-1934), Pontinia (1934-1935), Aprilia (1936-1937) and Pomezia (1938-1939) in the province of Rome. Other towns that supported the ideology of the Battle for Grain were Mussolinia in Sardinia (1928, which was part of the bonifica integrale plan for the Terralba plain), Fertilia (1936-1943, the Nurra land reclamation), Segezia (1939-1942), Incoronata (1939-1943) and other minor villages. A second group that can be called “autarky towns” and industrial centres include Arsia (1936/1937, now Raša) in Istria, Carbonia (1938) in the Sulcis Plain in Sardinia, Torviscosa (1938/1940) and Colleferro (1934/1935) in the province of Rome. Guidonia, the town “of the air” can also be counted as an autarkic town, designed to promote industrial or tertiary sector economies.

New towns also include Tresigallo (1935-1938) in the province of Ferrara, Predappio (1925-1934) in the province of Forlì and the “social town” of Valdagno (1928-1935) in the province of Vicenza, which although a pre-existing settlement underwent radical architectural transformation and took on modern urban features.