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In 1938 the lawyer Rino Valdameri, director of the Royal Academy of Brera and the President of the Italian Dante Society, proposed to the Italian government the realization of a study center and museum dedicated to the Sommo Poeta. Giuseppe Terragni and Pietro Lingeri were the designers appointed for this construction. In this period, in Italy there was Benito Mussolini's Fascist government, with his idea of exaltation of Italian nationality and imperial politics. In this contest, Terragni’s project had to represent the Italian pride for Italian famous poet Dante, so to celebrate the author of Divina Commedia, glorify Imperial Rome and extol the virtues of a trong fascist state. The structure was meant to be built in Rome on the Via dell'Impero (today via Dei Fori Imperiali).
So compositionally, the Danteum was conceived as an allegory of the Divine Comedy. It consists of a sequence of monumental spaces that parallel the narrator's journey from the "dark wood" through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. Terragni translated the Divina Commedia in architectonic language designing space and surface, modulating the light and using images and symbols that refer to Dante’s tale and to Roman Empire (symbol of Mussolini’s imperial politics).