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New model depicting ancient Rome with extraordinary detail opens to public

The most detailed model ever constructed of ancient Rome is available for the public to view. The plastic model, which took historian Italo Gismondi more than 35 years to build, is entitled ” Plastico di Roma imperiale” and was first commissioned by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in 1933.

The model is based on Rome during the fourth century A.D., around the reign of Constantine, and was molded from alabaster plaster reinforced with metal and plant fiber. Gismondi used approximately 46 maps to make his model with remarkable detail. Mussolini intended to use the model as a piece of fascist propaganda, hoping the people would see his regime in the same light as the Roman Empire.

Instead, the model has been used by academics of Western civilization and Roman history. Part of the model was even used to create the set of the movie Gladiator starring Russell Crowe. It is available for viewing in the Museum of Roman Civilization based in Rome, Italy.

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