I talebani del “politically correct” / The Talebans of “politically correct” (ita-eng) – Dr. Eleonora Simi Bonini

Seguo il consiglio di Laura Boldrini “bisogna mettere nero su bianco” frase detta durante l’incontro con i Partigiani a Montecitorio in occasione del 70° anniversario della Liberazione, un po’ di notizie storiche quindi sull’obelisco del Foro Italico per quelli che non le conoscono o non le vogliono conoscere come il partigiano che a viva voce ha chiesto la sua demolizione non capendo forse il significato delle sue parole. Molte sono state le reazioni su quanto accaduto e sulla proposta della Boldrini di cancellare almeno la scritta ‘DUX’.” Anche Veltroni disse un tempo che era assurdo nascondere un ventennio anche se è parte tragica della nostra storia. Vittorio Sgarbi noto critico d’arte ha commentato: “La Boldrini rappresenta l’ignoranza italiana.”

La storia non si cancella!!

Nero su bianco

Nel 1927 una commissione di industriali presentata dal ministro Renato Ricci, nato a Carrara (1896-1956) e appartenente ad una famiglia di cavatori, formulava il desiderio a nome dei cittadini carraresi (noti anarchici) di offrire a Mussolini un grande monolite di marmo che fosse unico al mondo e di farlo erigere a Roma. Ricci era Ministro delle Corporazioni, nel 1919 aveva seguito D’Annunzio nell’impresa a Fiume ed era il creatore dello Stadio dei marmi. Il progetto si attuò, dopo vari studi e sondaggi un grande blocco di marmo bianco senza venature e spaccature di ca. 300 tonnellate fu staccato nella Cava Carbonera delle Alpi Apuane, misurava m. 17,40 di altezza e la base era di m. 2,30 e la cima m. 2, fu lavorato secondo i disegni progettati dell’ingegnere e architetto Costantino Costantini autore anche della piscina coperta del Foro Italico. Si presentarono poi i problemi per il suo trasporto, non avendo esperienze recenti si ricorse alle tecniche usate per il trasporto degli obelischi egizi a Roma. Anche per la erezione dell’obelisco, operazione molto complessa, Costantini consultò le pubblicazioni stampate nel 1590 e nel 1604 da Domenico Fontana architetto di papa Sisto V e si servì delle sue esperienze.

L’operazione durò 4 anni, si iniziò il 25 novembre 1928, il monolite fu ingabbiato in una armatura di legno per essere trasportato con il metodo della lizzatura verso il mare su travi di legno lubrificati di volta in volta da ca. 600 operai e trascinato da 120 buoi: una fatica sovrumana. A testimonianza di tutto questo immenso lavoro rimane un lungo documentario girato dall’Istituto Luce con 165 didascalie che spiegano le varie fasi del lavoro, in una si legge: “gli industriali hanno fatto dono dell’enorme blocco – gli operai fanno dono del loro lavoro”. Giunto al mare il 23 giugno 1929 il blocco fu imbarcato su un grosso zatterone L’Apuano costruito nell’Arsenale della Marina Militare della Spezia, trainato da rimorchiatori fu condotto a Fiumicino alla foce del fiume Tevere e approfittando di una piena del fiume portato nella piana della Farnesina dove fu eretto su una base composta da otto blocchi di marmo raggiungendo così m. 36,60 di altezza a decorazione del Foro in costruzione che fu inaugurato il 4 novembre 1932.

Dal mio modesto punto di vista penso e dico: con tutti i problemi che abbiamo, e sono tanti !! non siamo ridicoli a prendersela con i monumenti, che come dice giustamente Beppe Boni vicedirettore de ‘Resto del Carlino’, non hanno mai fatto male a nessuno.

Documentario muto dell’Istituto Luce sull’obelisco del Foro Italico / Istituto Luce’s silent documentary about the obelisk in Foro Italico (Rome)

I follow Laura Boldrini’s advice (1): “We have to put on paper”, words pronounced during a meeting with Partisans in Montecitorio (2) on the occasion of the 70th° anniversary of Liberation Day (3). So I will give few some historical information on Foro Italico’s obelisk (4) for people, who do not know or do not want to know it like the partisan, who asked aloud for its demolition, maybe not understanding the meaning of his words. There have been many reactions on what happened and on Boldrini’s proposal to cancel at least the sign “DUX”. Even Veltroni (5) said once that it was absurd to hide the Italian fascist’s period, even if it is a tragic moment of our history. Vittorio Sgarbi, a famous Italian art critic, said: “Mrs. Boldrini represents Italian ignorance”.

We cannot cancel history!!

To put on paper

On 1927 an industrialists’ commission presented by Minister Renato Ricci, born in Carrara (1896-1956) from a digger’s’ family, expressed the desire in the name of Carrara citizens (well-known anarchists) to offer to Mussolini a great marble monolith, which had to be unique in the world, and to erect it in Rome. Ricci was Corporations Minister, on 1919 followed D’Annunzio (6) in Fiume (7) and was the creator of Stadio dei Marmi (8). The project was achieved after many studies and surveys and a huge white marble block, without veinings and cracks, of 300 tonnes was quarried in the Cava Carbonera of the Apuan Alps: it was 17.40 m high, with a base of 2.30 m and the top of 2 m. It was worked following the projects of the engineer and architect Costantino Costantini, who also designed the indoor swimming- pool in the Foro Italico. Then there were transportation problems: without recent experiences, they employed the same technique used to transport in Rome the Egyptian obelisks. Also for the erection of the obelisk, a very complicated job, Costantini read books printed in 1590 and in 1604 by Domenico Fontana, architect of Pope Sixtus V and used his experiences.

The entire operation took 4 years. It began on 25 November 1928; the monolith was caged in a wooden scaffold to be transported using the lizzatura (9) method on wooden beams, which were coated with oil each time by 600 workers and pulled by 120 oxen towards the sea: a superhuman effort. A long documentary by Istituto Luce (10) witnesses this huge work with 165 subtitles frames, which explain the many steps of the work. In one of them we can read: “Industrialists gave the huge block as a gift – workers gave their work as a gift”. It arrived at the sea on 23 June 1929, the block was shipped on a big raft, L’Apuano, built in the Arsenale della Marina Militare of La Spezia (11), dragged by tug boats until Fiumicino, at the mouth of the Tiber and, taking advantage of a river flood, was taken in the Farnesina’s plain, where it was erected on a base made by of eight marble blocks, so reaching a height of 36.60 m, to decorate the Foro under construction, which was inaugurated on 4 November 1932.

In my opinion I think and say: with all the problems that we have (and they are many!!), we are ridiculous in attacking monuments, which, as Beppe Boni (Resto del Carlino’s assistant editor) rightly says, never did any evil to nobody.


Translator’s notes:

1) Italian President of the Chamber of Deputies.

2) Seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.

3) Liberation Day, public holiday to celebrate the liberation of Italy from the Nazi occupation on 1945.

4) Sport complex in Rome, built between 1928 and 1938, during the Fascist’s period.

5) Walter Veltroni, Italian writer, journalist and politician, who served as the first leader of the Democratic Party within the centre-left opposition. He served as Mayor of Rome from 2001 to 2008.

6) Italian poet (1863 – 1938).

7) Impresa di Fiume: during World War I (1914–1918), Italy made a pact with the Allies, the Treaty of London (1915), in which it was promised all of the Austrian Littoral, but not the city of Fiume. After the war, at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919, this delineation of territory was confirmed, with Fiume remaining outside of Italian borders, instead joined with adjacent Croatian territories into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Gabriele D’Annunzio was angered by what he considered to be handing over of the city of Fiume. On September 1919, he led troops from the Royal Italian Army, Italian nationalists and irredentists, into a seizure of the city, forcing the withdrawal of the inter-Allied (American, British and French) occupying forces. He announced also that he had annexed the territory to the Kingdom of Italy. He was enthusiastically welcomed by the Italian population of Fiume. This move was opposed by the Italian government and D’Annunzio tried to resist pressure from Italy. The plotters sought to have Italy annex Fiume, but were denied. Instead, Italy initiated a blockade of Fiume while demanding that the plotters surrender.

8) Sport stadium in the Foro Italico.

Lizzatura: il monolite di Mussolini / Mussolini’s monolith

9) Method of transportation of big stone blocks known since ancient Egyptian period; the word comes from lizza, a kind of sleigh.

10) Film and documentary production society opened during Fascist’s period. Today for the exceptional cultural and historical value of its film heritage, the Italian UNESCO Committee has nominated Istituto Luce’s Historical Archive as the only 2011 Italian candidate to the prestigious “UNESCO Memory of the World Register”.

11) Italian Navy Arsenal in La Spezia.


(Translation by Marina Madeddu)

Un pensiero su “I talebani del “politically correct” / The Talebans of “politically correct” (ita-eng) – Dr. Eleonora Simi Bonini

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