Ostia’s Post Office, Futurism and freedom
The 1934 Palazzo delle Poste (“Post Palace”) in Ostia was designed by Bologna-born engineer and architect Angiolo Mazzoni (1894-1979), one of the most important names for public buildings in the 1900s (he is best known for creating the Termini train station in Rome).
Mazzoni’s architectural language is varied, and his works – hundreds of train stations, post offices, headquarters of the Fascist party (‘case del Fascio’), and seaside colonies – clearly reference Futurism, rationalism and constructivism.
In designing public buildings in Italy during the twenty years of Mussolini’s regime, one could not avoid the party’s need for constant propaganda and self-promotion. The Post Office in Ostia, in particular, was meant to be one of the symbols of the inescapable presence and power of the Duce, which was also at the heart of Rome’s urban expansion plan towards the Mediterranean, along the Via del Mare (currently Via Ostiense). Hence the rationalist architect gave the building composure, order and classic inspiration.
Luckily in this case political ideology did not restrict Mazzoni’s freedom of expression, as he was able to follow his Futurist inclinations and endow this outstanding post office with a modern quality that can be appreciated to this day.