Balbo Monument – Chicago, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

Balbo Monument

How did a 2,000-year-old Roman column find its way to a Chicago park?  

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The Balbo Monument is a column that is said to be approximately 2,000 years old dating from between 117 and 38 B.C., set on a contemporary stone base.

Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator, removed the original artifact from the Italian ancient port region in Ostia, 200 meters outside of Porta Marina in Ostia. The building that the column originated from is called the Prospetto a Mare, which translates to the Prospectus to Sea of Rome. The column was given to the city of Chicago in 1933 to honor the trans-Atlantic flight led by Italo Balbo to the Century of Progress Worlds Fair.

When it was presented to Chicago, Mussolini and the United States were friendly. As Mussolini’s infamy grew and his legacy sullied, many have called for its removal, as recently as 2017.

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May 16, 2023

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