EUR Sightseeing Walking Tour, Rome

EUR Sightseeing Walking Tour (Self Guided), Rome

Esposizione Universale Roma (EUR) is a suburban area in Rome established in 1942, it was designed to host an exhibition which didn't take place due to World War II. EUR is popular for the period architecture of Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. The area also contains some very important landmarks of history and culture, including Museo della Civiltà Romana, Pigorini Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico and Museo Nazionale delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari.

Getting to Sight #1. The first tour stop (Basilica dei Santi Pietro e Paolo ) can be reached by Bus: 31, 771; Train: FC2; Metro: B
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EUR Sightseeing Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: EUR Sightseeing Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Rome (See other walking tours in Rome)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Author: audrey
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Basilica dei Santi Pietro e Paolo
  • Palazzo della Civilta Italiana
  • Palazzos dell'INPS e dell'INA
  • Palazzo dei Congressi
  • Museo Nazionale delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari
  • Pigorini Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico
  • Obelisco di Marconi
  • Museo della Civilta Romana
  • Chiesa di San Paolo alle Tre Fontane
Basilica dei Santi Pietro e Paolo

1) Basilica dei Santi Pietro e Paolo

The EUR District in Rome was planned by Mussolini for the 1942 World Fair and the buildings, finished after the Second World War, were either inspired by Ancient Rome or Rationalism art and are mostly built of limestone, marble and tuff. On the highest point of the area is the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. The church was designed by Arnaldo Foschini, Tullio Rossi and Alfredo Energici. Work started in 1939, but the church was finished in 1954. The main building is cube-shaped and its 72 metre-high dome is the third largest in the city.

To reach the church you will have to climb a long flight of shallow steps, which have gardens on each side. The building was originally planned as a mausoleum for Mussolini, who wanted to be buried overlooking what he intended to be a monument to Fascism; but it was dedicated instead to the Saints Peter and Paul in 1956. Outside the church are two fine statues of Peter and Paul by Dominenico and Francesco Ponzi Nagni. Inside the church you will find reliefs depicting the lives of the two saints. On the altar is a huge statue of Christ, sculpted by Attilo Silva. There is also an excellent mosaic of the Madonna and Child by Bruno Saetti.
Palazzo della Civilta Italiana

2) Palazzo della Civilta Italiana

The most imposing and symbolic building in the EUR district of Rome is without doubt the Palazzo della Civilta Italiana, which is also known as the “Square Colosseum”.

This building was commissioned by Benito Mussolini and was intended to be the centerpiece of the 1942 World’s Fair. Work began on it in 1938 and it was finished in 1943. Of course, the Fair didn’t take place because of the Second World War, but the building remains as a symbol of Italian Fascist architecture. Mussolini wanted an edifice that would remind people of the ancient Colosseum, and give them the impression that fascism would last forever. 68 meters high and covering more than 8000 square meters, the palace is composed of six levels of nine arches – a conceit of Mussolini’s to match the numbers of letters in his name. It is built of limestone and tuff (volcanic ash consolidated into rock) and sheathed in marble.

Above the sixth level on each side of the building you can see an inscription, which in English reads: “A nation of poets, of artists, of heroes, of saints, of thinkers, of scientists, of sailors, of transmigrates”. There are many statues around the palazzo, with equestrian statues of Castor and Pollux and twenty-eight figures that highlight Italian supremacy in all fields including agriculture, the arts, astronomy, crafts, philosophy and political genius.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Palazzos dell'INPS e dell'INA

3) Palazzos dell'INPS e dell'INA

Similar to Trajan's Market architecturally, Palazzos dell'INPS e dell'INA are impressive twin circular buildings decorated with Renaissance reliefs. The reliefs depict allegories of the Italian Maritime Republics. Located on Piazza delle Nazioni Unite, Palazzos dell'INPS e dell'INA is an outstanding site in EUR.
Palazzo dei Congressi

4) Palazzo dei Congressi

In the heart of the EUR district you will find the Palazzo dei Congressi, which is worth a visit because there is always something interesting going on there. The palace was designed by Adalberto Libera and is one of his rare buildings that follow the Italian Rationalism School of Architecture. It is an elegant blend of classical and modern architecture, intended to be part of the 1942 World’s Fair. Construction began in 1938 but was interrupted during the World War II and was finished in 1954.

The building is vast; it is the biggest conference complex in Italy, with an enormous Reception Hall of 1444 square meters – big enough to fit the Pantheon inside it! This hall is used for exhibitions, trade fairs and concerts. There are also conference rooms and an amphitheater that can seat up to 1150 people. The magnificent Banquet Room with its round tables can seat 850 diners.

All the rooms are elegantly decorated with marble colonnades and many paintings by 20th century Italian artists. In the Kennedy Hall you can admire a wonderful fresco, executed in 1953 by Achille Funi, depicting scenes of the origins of Rome. In the palazzo’s cafe you will find two mosaics by Angelo Canevari. The main conference room was recently refurbished and has a lovely terrace with bright flowers in hanging baskets. The terrace is used in the summer as an open-air theater.
Museo Nazionale delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari

5) Museo Nazionale delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari

You will find the Museo Nazionale delle Arte e Traditionne Populari in the EUR district and you really should visit this large, fascinating museum, the only one of its kind in Italy. The early collection was exhibited in the 1911 Ethnographic Exhibition, held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Unification of Italy. After the exhibition the collection was housed in its present building which was incorporated into the EUR district in the late nineteen fifties, when the Italian authorities expanded Mussolini’s site intended for the 1942 World Fair into a vast business district outside the main part of Rome.

The museum is dedicated to the “other” side of Italian life: from the point of view of the people who made sure that food and wine arrived on the tables of the rich throughout the city. In the museum’s different sections you will find farm tools, traditional costumes, ceramics and other artefacts from all over Italy. There are fine examples of religious items, including some rather crude paintings of people suffering from various ailments and strange body-parts made from wax. These were made as offerings as thanks to the saints for deliverance from whatever ailment the object represented. The peasants had no money, so they offered whatever they could. The ground floor of the museum houses brightly painted carts that were used to freight goods from the country to market places, and even a gondola, offered to Queen Margaret of Savoy in 1882. Other highlights of the museum are the puppet theatre and the 12 masks of the Procession of San Sosti, the painted masks worn by the dancers during spring and autumn festivals. The 750 or so regional costumes are not only from Italy and its islands, but also from Greece, Albania, Austria, Germany, France, Spain and Northern Africa.
Operation hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 8:30 am - 7:30 pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Pigorini Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico

6) Pigorini Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico

While you are in the EUR district of Rome, don’t miss a visit to the Pigorini Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico, which is housed in the Science Building.

This important museum was established by Luigi Pigorini, a noted palaeontologist, in 1875 and you will find a bust of him in the museum’s entrance hall. The first collection of prehistoric artefacts was founded by Athanasius Kircher, a Jesuit scholar, in 1650. His collection was built up by donations from colleagues visiting Brazil, Canada and China, and from missionaries in Angola and the Congo. Kircher’s collection is on display in the museum.

The museum is used for both educational and research purposes, to evaluate the progression and development of humanity and in the Ethnography section you will find over 60,000 artefacts of Mediterranean culture, as well as objects from Africa, Oceania and the Americas. There is also a fine collection of Neolithic items taken from Lake Bracciano, where the remains of a lake-shore Early Neolithic village have been uncovered.

In the Anthropology section of the museum you will find skeletal remains arranged in chronological order from the VI century BC to the late Middle Ages. There are also some very interesting mosaics and stucco decorations that belong to an ancient Roman necropolis found on Isola Sacra during archaeological excavations.

Operation hours: Monday - Saturday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm; Sunday: 9:00 am 1:30 pm
Obelisco di Marconi

7) Obelisco di Marconi

The city of Rome harbours the most obelisks in the world. Located in the center of the EUR district, the 45 meter tall Marconi Obelisk is dedicated to Guglielmo Marconi, famous for his development of the radio telegraph system. The obelisk was built for the 1960 Summer Olympics. Its 92 white marble panels illustrate the inventor's career and allegorical scenes. Built between 1937 and 1959, designed by Arturo Dazzi, this impressive obelisk stands in front of Pigorini Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico and Museo Nazionale delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Museo della Civilta Romana

8) Museo della Civilta Romana

The EUR district in Rome is rich in culture with its many museums and the best one, that you really shouldn’t miss visiting, is the Museum of Roman Civilisation. This fascinating museum is dedicated to Ancient Rome from its foundation to the 4th century, and is separated into three sections that are full of interesting cultural artefacts and models.

In the Historical Section you will find a history of Roman legends, explaining how the ancient city was founded, you can see items of primitive culture and learn about the conquest of the Mediterranean area and the spread of the empire. There are interesting details about the famous Roman Legions, the emperors and the arrival of Christianity – the first step that made Rome the seat of the Catholic faith. The Thematic Section deals with the daily life of early Romans; their agriculture, literature, medicine, music and schools. There is also a magnificent series of plaster casts of the Trajan Column, showing the frieze in bas-relief that runs from the base of the column to the top. These casts are set out horizontally on eye-level for easier viewing. The third section of the museum is by far the best. Here you will find an amazing plaster model of 4th century Rome. This scale model has incredible details and took Italo Gismondi, its creator over 35 years to complete.
Editor's note: The museum is temporarily closed for renovation.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Chiesa di San Paolo alle Tre Fontane

9) Chiesa di San Paolo alle Tre Fontane

The Chiesa di San Paolo alle Tre Fontane is one of the three churches in the Trappist Tre Fontane Abbey and is well worth a visit. The church is built on the site of what was once called Acquas Silvias, where St Paul was executed in around 67AD. Because St Paul was a Roman citizen he was accorded the somewhat dubious privilege of being beheaded rather than crucified. This was considered to be humane, as it was a quicker way to die and crucifixion was usually reserved for foreigners and criminals.

According to legend, when St Paul was decapitated, his head fell to the ground and bounced three times, whereby three fountains sprung up – hence the name of the church. Actually, as you will see, the fountains are about 20 ft apart, so the bouncing theory is somewhat impractical. Nevertheless, the first church was erected on this spot in the 5th century and was later rebuilt in 1599 by Giacomo della Porta. You will find the three fountains in the Sanctuary, but these days they are covered by altars to stop people drinking from them, as the water is polluted. In the nave you will see the perfectly preserved remains of the original mosaic floor.

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