Rome - Italian Architecture Between The Wars

3 nights starting from

  • Rome’s little known but fascinating EUR district

  • Planned towns of Latina, Pontina and Sabaudia

  • Lake Nemi and the Museo delle Navi de Nemi

  • Two lectures from architectural historian, Mike Hope

From Novecento Italiano to Gruppo 7, Italian Fascism and Italian Rationalism in and around Rome.

In Italy during the 1920’s and 1930’s, there developed a particular strand of architecture, which would be called Rationalism. At its core it looked back to neoclassicism and in turn classical architecture as a source from which to deliver an architectural style that at once was both a reaction to historicism and a contrast to Art Nouveau and Expressionism. It can be seen as a response to the stripped classicism of Scandinavia, the Totalitarian responses of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and part of a greater return, around the world, by architecture to the classical tradition. 

This tour offers a unique opportunity to see a remarkable collection of buildings and planned towns from the 1930’s. This will include the magnificent but hardly known EUR complex on the southern outskirts of Rome itself and which now play host to a number of major national museums, government buildings, as well as office complexes, churches, sports halls, fountains and parks. To the south of Rome there are a number of newly built towns – Latina, Pontina and Sabaudia, which were built as the Pontine marshes were drained. Finally there will a trip to the stunningly beautiful and spectacular Lake Nemi, where a remarkable building was created to house the remains of Caligula’s floating pleasure palaces.

Available Departures


04 - May - 2023 £ 1375.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

London Heathrow

Departing: 04th May 2023 at 09:40

Returning: 07th May 2023 at 21:00


Day 1: Fly from London to Rome and transfer to Rome EUR area for check in for three night stay.   
Late afternoon orientation walk around EUR area (time permitting).  Evening lecture – “Italian Art, Architecture and Design of the Inter-War period” welcome reception and dinner with wine at the hotel or a local restaurant.

Day 2: EUR district.
A full day exploring the myriad of buildings, designed to glorify fascism, that was originally intended for an international exhibition in 1942 that never happened due to the outbreak of war.  The scheme was eventually finished in the 1950s and is now home to a number of significant buildings which we will explore today (mainly external views) including the Square Colosseum (Fendi HQ) Palazzo dello Sport (Per luigi Nervi 1956-60) Museo della Civilta Romana, Museo Nazionale Preistorico/Ethnogrfico, Museo Nazionale dell’ Alto Medioevo, Museo Nazionale delle Arti E Tradizioni Populari (whose interior has stunning 1930’s contemporary murals) Museo nazionale D’Arte Orientale Giuseppe Tucci, Museo delle Civilta, Central Park & Lake, Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Palazzo dei Congressi and Obelisk to Marconi. Evening Lecture “Rationalist Italian Architecture in the context of a world wide Classical Revival” followed by dinner with wine at the hotel or a local restaurant.

Day 3:  Sabaudia, Latina, and Pontina.
Today we visit the planned towns in the former Pontine Marshes, that were ordered to be drained by Mussolini and converted to agricultural production with towns planned to house workers from poor regions of Italy.  Each contain interesting inter-war buildings that characterise Fascist architecture that we will see on a full day of exploration. Buildings (mainly viewed externally)  include in Sabaudia, the Torre Littoria, Municipal buildings,  Post Office, Museo Emilio Greco and Church of Santissima Annunziana.  In Latina, significant sights include the Municipal Hall, St Mark’s Cathedral, Piazza Liberta Fountains, Church of Borgo Sabotino and Torre Pontina Office Block, whilst in Pontina we see the Town Hall, Square, Chiesa Di Sant’Ana and Serbatoio Idrico (water tower). Evening free.

Day 4: Lake Nemi, Lake Albano, Castle Gandolfo and transfer to the airport for return flight to London.
Our final day takes us to the picturesque Lake Nemi to see the remarkable museum built to house the remains of Emperor Caligula's pleasure barges which were recovered in the 1930s, when Mussolini ordered the lake to be drained and the ships housed in a dedicated museum. Regrettably the ships were destroyed in the Second World War but the museum and models remain. This afternoon we visit nearby Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo to see the Papal Summer Palace and Gardens (as seen in the recent film The Two Popes) before heading to the airport for the return evening flight to London.

NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions, weather, garden openings and tour manager's discretion.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.


  • Return flights from London Gatwick to Rome (2022 departure) or London Heathrow to Rome (2023 departure)
  • Three nights' bed and breakfast at the four-star Hotel dei Congressi, Rome EUR district, based on the shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Two dinners with wine at the hotel / local restaurant
  • Two lectures by Mike Hope 
  • Transfers, tours and entrance fees as detailed
  • Mike Hope and tour manager throughout 


  • Double for sole use supplement
  • Holiday insurance
  • Meals other than those stated 
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
  • Porterage and gratuities


Hotel dei Congressi

The four star Hotel dei Congressi was designed by the rationalist architect Adalberto Libera and was opened in 1958 ahead of the 1960 Olympics.  Located in the heart of the EUR district, it is ideally located for this tour and fits the theme of the tour perfectly.  Facilities include bar, stylish “la Glorietta, ” fitness room and comfortable bedrooms with all modern amenities.

Hotel Website


MORE INFO - Please click here for more tour information 2022 

 Please click here for more tour information 2023


Mike Hope
Mike Hope author, lecturer, curator and designer, has spent more than twenty-fivwe years at four universities (Staffordshire, Portsmouth, Nottingham Trent and Plymouth) and nearly thirty years delivering Summer School Programmes. He has lectured around the world and was a founder board member of The European Academy of Design. Alongside an extensive publication list, he has researched, designed and curated many exhibitions, and advised on stained glass to the Diocese of Exeter. He specialises in Art and Design History, Stained Glass; Churches and Cathedrals; the English Country House and Garden

Brochure Description
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

This was an extremely interesting tour and well led by the tour leader who was leading without support of Mike Hope. Suggest in future that the afternoon on arrival is definitely used as a short visit into Rome [as the tour leader in fact arranged]-at least one would see a few of the main sights as well as 1920/30s improvements [assuming one goes to the Colosseum metro stop to see via dei Fori Imperial etc] which tie in with the later themes, as indeed does the later viewed boat museum. Please pass on good wishes to Mike Hope and trust he is making progress.

Review by Shippobottom who travelled 05-May-2022

Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

Barbara, tour manager, was brilliant. Great idea to go into Rome on the first afternoon. Gave us a sort of context for the tour. The 2 lecturers were good, particularly Paola. I had difficulty hearing what Claudia said at the lecture on the first night. The Vox box was a great improvement and Barbara tactfully had it used in the second lecture. I enjoyed all the tours except Castel Gandolfo. I disliked the papal apartments very much and the portable guides were dreadful.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 05-May-2022

Brochure Description
Tour Manager
Sightseeing Tours
Overall Impression

Review by Williams who travelled 05-May-2022

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