Eagleton’s words hold equally true for Italian fascism, despite the ways in which its particular combining of “the archaic and the avant-garde” were in some cases unique to Italy.1 In terms of a fascist fascination with the archaic, three welldocumented examples immediately come to mind:

• The fascist fetishisation of the “sensuous specificity” of the Roman Empire. Propped up by the concepts of romanità (Whittam 1995: 85-88) and italianità, this fetishization took numerous forms, including the adoption of the fasces, the Roman salute, and the passo romano (Roman march step), the destruction of medieval ruins to make way for fascist building projects such as the present day Via dei Fori Imperiali and Via della Conciliazione,2 and the excavation of sites like the Largo di Torre Argentina.