Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 2000

Degree Name

Master of Architecture - (M.Arch.)


School of Architecture

First Advisor

Peter Lang

Second Advisor

Irene E. Ayad

Third Advisor

Antonio P. De Sousa Santos


The subject of this thesis is the transformation of the urban fabric in Siena at the time of early 20th century Italian Fascism. The investigation focuses on the transformation of the neighborhood of Salicotto, formerly known as the Jewish Ghetto, that began with the removal of inhabitants to the periphery of the city, the neighborhoods of Ravacciano and Valli and subsequent Sventramento, 'disembowelment' demolition of housing and urban fabric. The rubble from the demolished housing was transported to Campo del Rastrello and used as fill for a new stadium. The process continued with the replacement of the original housing with new, stylized reconstruction, Risanamento. The argument focuses on the historical, political, and cultural influences shaping this transformation; a comparative analysis of the concurrent transformations undertaken in Rome is used to substantiate the argument.

The thesis seeks to illustrate that this intervention reflects and expresses the ideology of the Italian Fascist regime, influenced by the 'myth of palingenesis', adoration of strength, and rejection of weakness. It argues that during Sventraniento and Risanamento the Fascist leadership, at local and national level, incorporated the language developed by 19th century hygienists as a justification for this intervention. The neighborhood was treated as an as an entity that could be destroyed and regenerated in a way that emphasized heroism. At the same time the reconstruction served as a mnemonic device creating idealized version of the past.

Included in

Architecture Commons



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