G20 Italy: Rome's futuristic 'Cloud' where world leaders will meet

G20 world leaders will gather in an ultra-modern conference centre in a Rome district that acts as a monument to fascist-era architecture.

Rome is famed for its Pantheon and Roman Forum, its Baroque churches and Renaissance palaces.

But when the Italian capital welcomes the heads of the world's wealthiest nations this weekend for the G20 Leaders' Summit, the talks will not be held near any of these ancient wonders.

And although Italy hosted a meeting of G20 culture ministers in the Colosseum during the summer - showing off ever so slightly - this time round the top summit will be held away from the historic centre in a southern Roman districe less than a century old.

Planned by Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, the EUR area was designed in the 1930s as the site to showcase the 'Esposizione Universale Roma' in the 1942 World Fair.

The event never happened in the end, due to the outbreak of world war two. However the stalled building projects were completed in the post-war period and EUR soon became a bustling business district.

Today the neighbourhood stands as a testament to fascist-era architecture, with notable landmarks including the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, also known as the Square Colosseum, now the headquarters of luxury fashion house Fendi.

Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. Photo: Franco Tognarini / Shutterstock.com.

The EUR area is characterised by vast white marble buildings and grandiose monuments, set among wide boulevards, complete with a man-made lake and waterfall gardens.

Among this odd mixture of rationalist architecture and modern office blocks is a futuristic congress centre known to Romans as the Nuvola, or "Cloud".

It is here that the G20 leaders will meet on the weekend of 30-31 October, with the media based at the nearby Palazzo dei Congressi, built for the 1942 exposition and used for the fencing championships in the 1960 Olympics.

The Nuvola, designed by Italian 'starchitect' Massimiliano Fuksas, became one of Rome's modern-day architectural landmarks when it was completed in 2016, amid extensive delays, at a cost of €239 million.

Comprising a whopping 20,000 tons of steel and 58,000 sqm of glass, the giant structure was inaugurated by then Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi exactly five years ago, on 29 October 2016, after 18 years of planning and construction. 

G20 at the Nuvola. Photo: Kraft74 / Shutterstock.com.

The earthquake-proof Nuvola includes a 9,000-sqm plenary hall which can host 6,000 people, a 7,000-sqm forum area, and an auditorium that can accommodate around 1,800 people.

After several years of hosting major conferences and trade fairs, the Nuvola most recently became the largest covid vaccination hub in Italy, with doctors administering up to 3,000 vaccines a day.

However this weekend the Nuvola will assume its highest-profile role yet, when Italian premier Mario Draghi welcomes a gathering of leaders from the most powerful nations in the world to discuss 'People, Planet, Prosperity', against the backdrop of one of Rome's most unique neighbourhoods.

Cover photo: ValerioMei / Shutterstock.com.

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G20 Italy: Rome's futuristic 'Cloud' where world leaders will meet

Viale Asia, 40 /44, 00144 Roma RM, Italy