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Italo Gismondi (1887-1974)

He was an architect in the Soprintendenza of Ostia and Rome and worked on archeological missions abroad. He also created the plastic model of ancient Rome displayed in the Museum of Roman Civilisation.

Italo Gismondi in class photo
Italo Gismondi (first on the left. seated)
in class photo. Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma, 21stJune 1907

Italo Gismondi, born in Rome 12th August 1887, died in Rome 2nd December 1974, entered the Amministrazione delle Antichità e Belle Arti (administration of antiquities and fine arts) in 1910 and was given the direction of the Excavation of Ostia Antica. Here he remained in service as architectfor forty-four years, reaching the level of Soprintendente. From 1919 to 1938 he also worked for the Soprintendenza alle Antiquità di Roma I.

Ostia, and a fundamental contribution to studies and graphic reconstruction of ancient monuments of Rome, formed the basis of Gismondi’s experience. He paid particular attention to the latter, completing, through analysis of architectural details, the surviving elements of ancient monuments.

Besides other important restoration work throughout his long years ofservice in Ostia, Gismondi carried out other projects worthy of note: studies of ancient Rome; restoration of the north-west hall of the Terme di Diocleziano, carried out in 1927 prior to its transformation into the Planetario; the editing of the map of the Roman Forum, which, after various preparatory phases, was published in 1933; not to mention the realisation between 1935 and 1971 of the large plaster model in scale 1:250 of ancient Rome at the time of the Emperor Constantine which is on display in the Museum of Roman Civilisation.

In the rest of Italy, Gismondi was responsible for the recomposition of ancient monuments for the Soprintendenza alle Antichità degli Abruzzi and Molise, for the Soprintendeza of Umbria and for the Soprintendenza for excavation in Eastern Sicily.

Gismondi’s work also extended beyond the national borders; he carried out architectural studies for the Foreign Ministry of Rhodes and the Ministry of Colonies in Libya, in Cirene and in Tripolitania.

The Iconography Collection of the Archives of the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma conserves a core of graphic documents consisting of numerous drawings related to Gismondi’s activities between 1928 and 1969.

Bibliography:

  • A.M. Colini, Italo Gismondi “Cultore di Roma”, in Studi Romani, n. 2, XXII, aprile-giugno 1974, pp. 149- 154.

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