Created in the 1930s as a characteristic Fascist forum with the name of Piazza Littorio, Piazza Caduti per la Libertà is the result of the urban redevelopment plan following the project to redevelop the Zona Dantesca and is the result of a heated debate between designers and architects on whether to innovate or preserve the former urban fabric.
Still standing, on one side of the square, were the remains of the rich residence of the powerful Ferdinando Rasponi, which had been converted into a luxury hotel, the Grand Hotel Byron, at the end of the nineteenth century.
For a few years, from 1918, the building was also the headquarters of the first Federation of Cooperatives in Italy, an association of socialist inspiration, before a fascist attack interrupted the latter’s activity. Architect Giulio Ulisse Arata designed today’s Palazzo della Provincia, inaugurated in 1928, on these remains.
On the side of the building bordering Piazza San Francesco, Arata built neo-Romanesque arches, while for the facade of the Palazzo, he waited until 1934, when all the old houses in front of it were demolished to make way for the new Piazza Littorio.
As part of the Fascist forum project, the building that was to house the Casa del Littorio was constructed between Via Guidone and Via Guerrini, today houses the Land Registry.
Between 1938 and 1939 a plan by the architect Emanuele Mongiovì took form, based on the exedra shape that the new square was now taking, featuring an imposing lictorial tower covered in travertine and adorned with a virile bas-relief on the right side, aimed at symbolising the strength of the regime.
Despite the tower’s dominance during the Fascist era, especially at solemn gatherings or symbolic threshing sessions during the years of autarky, the Germans decided to blow it up at the end of 1944, when they had to leave Ravenna, so as not to provide the enemy with strategic observation points.
Inside the building’s courtyard, on the walls, there is a large polychrome tile mosaic drawing a map of the fascist empire, which can still be seen today. Next to the Casa del Littorio, the arched INA building was later constructed, while on the opposite side of the square, in 1942, the Palazzo delle Corporazioni was also built, later the headquarters of the Genio Civile (Civil Engineers).
Finally, to complete the current layout of the square, on the south-west side, the nineteenth-century seat of the Istituto Tecnico G. Ginanni was demolished and the opening onto Via De Gasperi was renovated with the construction of two new buildings, inaugurated in 1958.