Heritage and History
Hotel Villa Eur is located in the EUR district in Rome, the residential and business district built during the 1930s be the site of the Universal Exposition, which was planned to be held in Rome in 1942. The building was in fact designed by the Italian architect Armando Brasini and built for the exhibition (which however never took place) to be the “Palazzo dell’Agricoltura e delle Foreste” (Palace for the Agriculture and Forests): it was meant as a project of great dimensions (55,000 sq. m), showcasing the grandeur of the Fascist age and featuring a square layout to remind Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Palace of Exhibitions). The story goes that it should have become the mausoleum where to worship Mussolini’s late brother.
At the end of the Fascist era and after World War II, the building was abandoned for several years, but in 1958 it was bought by the Congregation of Marist Brothers to become their new General Headquarters in Rome: the Congregation of Marist Brothers is a catholic religious order of lay men founded by Saint Marcellin Champagnat in 1817, whose primary work is the Christian Education of the young.
When the building was redesigned by the architect Enrico Lenti, his aim was to create a simple but functional, unique building complex, where the single units could however be independent from each other featuring an atmosphere of severity and meditation which was essential for a life of prayers, study and work. The contrast among the geometric shapes and the volumes and the need for privacy, spirituality and hospitality make the building original in its kind and turns it into a very suggestive venue. The beauty and harmony of the design and shapes have also been awarded an international prize, won by architect Lentini and his team for the creation of the building complex.
In 1998, the area of the building hosting the International College “Jesus Magister” underwent major restoration works to be turned into a ‘not-for-profit’ group accommodation to host the pilgrims coming to Rome for the Jubilee in 2000. For about 10 years, the accommodation was managed by the Marist Brothers and has recently been turned into an exclusive hotel with 91 rooms, located at the center of the EUR business district and managed by hospitality experts and professionals.