Archeologist Spends Over 35 Years Building Huge Scale Model of Ancient Rome
The plaster model is a masterpiece created by archaeologist Italo Gismondi, who worked on the piece throughout his life. The initial core of the scale model, which was partially based on Rodolfo Lanciani‘s 1901 map Forma Urbis, was completed for a large exhibition celebrating the 2,000th anniversary of the death of Augustus. In the 1950s, it was installed permanently in the Museum of Roman Civilization, with Gismondi continuing to expand the model up until 1971.
Now considered one of the most important references for how ancient Rome looked, Gismondi used precise maps for known monuments like the Pantheon and Colosseum. The residential housing, as well as other sites without archeological remains, were created using models that were representative of ancient construction. Ironically, though Mussolini commissioned the model, the lack of references was actually his fault, as he ordered that many of Rome's ancient houses be razed to make way for large thoroughfares such as the via dei Fori Imperiali, which leads to the Colosseum.