The second period was
the 20-year period of Fascism. That wave of construction
left behind in some cases the overpowering government
buildings typical of those same decades in many places in
the world. (See Fascist
architecture.) In Italy, the new style was called
Rationalism. Indeed, there were entire new Rationalist
towns built on the reclaimed marshes south of Rome, towns
such as Latina and Sabáudia. The style was marked by being
very functional and clean, yet not unpleasant to look at.
Solid and pleasing, at least to my eye. The third period
was in the decades following WWII, a time of cracker-box
overbuild in Naples—some of it dangerous
and none of it easy on the eye.
was an architect who lived through periods two and three.
He contributed greatly to the construction
of the Fascist period. He was one of the architects
(with Marcello Canino) of the gigantic Provincial
Administration Building (photo, above) across from the
main post office at piazza Matteotti. That building was
finished in 1936, more or less at the same time as the
other buildings of similar style in the area and all of
which help define the style of Rationalism. Chiaromonte
also designed similarly Rationalist residential units in
the Chiaia section of town (photo #1 below), another area
of Naples that was object of intense urban renewal in the
1930s. The area is outside of the immediate center of
Naples and is one of the "suburbanized" parts of the city.
Most of those building are from the years 1950-80,
although Chiaromente's contributions are from the earlier
Chiaromonte and others of his generation were in their fifties when they were called upon to resist the wave of cheap and ugly construction that was part of the post-war Italian economic miracle. He did his best to resist the shoddy ugliness of the immediate post-war period. His Renaissance Hotel Mediterraneo (photo #2, below) is from 1958 and is a good example of holdover Rationalist architecture. He didn't just design buildings; he also taught at and, indeed, helped develop the architecture department of the University of Naples.