Roman ambitions

The Mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno wants to stage a Formula 1 race in the streets of the Esposizione Universale Roma (EUR) district of the city. This area was developed from 1935 onwards by Benito Mussolini to celebrate twenty years of Fascist rule in 1942 with an international Expo. The architecture was inspired by classical Roman buildings. The district was completed in the 1950s and 1960s but is seen today as being an example of how urban Italy might have looked, if the Fascist regime had not collapsed. The area has wide avenues and rather austere buildings.

The controversial mayor a right-wing politician, who served in two of Silvio Berlusconi's governments between 2001 and 2006. He was elected mayor of Rome in 2008 and his supporters caused a fair amount of shock by raising their arms in Fascist salutes and chanting "Duce! Duce!" (the name by which Mussolini was known). There are fears that Italy is seeing a rebirth of Fascism because of the distrust of immigrants, who have flooded into the country in recent years.

Alemanno has been frequently attacked by his rivals over his alleged Fascism. He has a colourful background as a member of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI). He was arrested in a fight with left wing students in 1981 and in 1982 was arrested for throwing a molotov cocktail at the Soviet embassy. In 1989 he was again arrested his time for attempting to block to motorcade carrying President George Bush Sr. He was acquitted on all charges and was elected to parliament in 1994.

The Italian Grand Prix was held at Monza between 1922 and 1936. After the war it returned to the Autodromo Nazionale every year except 1980, when it was moved to Imola while Monza was upgrading.

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