1st Edition

The Allied Bombing of Central Italy The Restoration of the Nile Mosaic and Sanctuary of Fortuna at Palestrina

By Teresa Fava Thomas Copyright 2024
    196 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    The Allied Bombing of Central Italy examines the results of the Second World War Allied bombing campaign on Palestrina and Rome, Italy, and the long-term impact of the war on the mountainside town and on the Barberini family's art collection including the Nile Mosaic. It explores the history and cultural significance of Palestrina, its strategic setting, the recovery of the town, the restoration of the Nile Mosaic, which remains the largest Egyptian-style mosaic extant.

    A unique aspect of the destruction was that it uncovered a pagan temple, the Sanctuary of Fortuna. The bombing destroyed the homes built on its terraces but revealed the ancient structure buried beneath which had remained unseen for half a millennium. It took more than a decade for the mosaic to be restored and the Sanctuary of Fortuna established as a national archeological museum. The book explores the pressure by the Mussolini regime to control the Barberini family's art collection, the uses of cultural materials for propaganda purposes, the Allied use of airpower in the Italian theater of war, the postwar decision-making and recovery process.

    The book is one of the very few long-range studies of the war's impact on a single Italian town. It is suitable for academic seminars and an educated general audience.

    1. The Nile Mosaic and the Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia 2. Fascism, Romanit√†, and the Barberini: Struggle for Control of the Nile Mosaic 3. Fascism Comes to Palestrina:  War on the Ground 4. The Italian Origins of Airpower Theory 5. The Reality of Bombing Palestrina 6. Monuments Men on the Road to Rome: Deane Keller and Fred Hartt 7. The Saint in the Rubble:  to Rebuild or Restore Palestrina? 8. The Return Flight of the Nile Mosaic to the Sanctuary of Fortuna 9. Epilogue


    Professor Teresa Fava Thomas, Ph.D. teaches at Fitchburg State University (Massachusetts). Her research interest is modern Italy. She has published: The Reluctant Migrants: Migration from the Italian Veneto, and American Arabists, as well as "Italian Diaspora in a Massachusetts Mill Town: Migration between Palestrina, Italy and Southbridge, Massachusetts" (2021).