Located in Anzio, Italy, ”Paradiso Sul Mare” should be considered an iconic landmark due to its historical relevance. However, it lies forgotten and in disrepair. This is a unique building known for its diverse history and architectural style. The design of “Paradiso Sul Mare” is strongly related to the Art Nouveau movement, also known as “Liberty.” This particular architectural approach was quite prominent in Europe at the turn of the century, so it is not uncommon to find examples of it throughout the Mediterranean.
The core of the concept was to rediscover elements of classical art and architecture under a more contemporary scope. This is precisely what you will find at “Paradiso Sul Mare.”
The name of the building literally translates to “Paradise on the sea.” During its heyday, the facility must have stayed true to its name, as it is found in a truly excellent location, facing the waterfront. “Paradiso Sul Mare” was designed in 1919, and it was initially conceived as a space for various events. Entrepreneur Giuseppe Polli, who commissioned the site, planned to host fashion shows, corporate events, conventions, and even a casino!
“Paradiso Sul Mare” in Anzio was inaugurated in 1924, and it became incredibly in vogue almost right away. As mentioned earlier, the building was considered very sophisticated, particularly because of the prevalent Art Nouveau style, which attracted many elite members of society. This was also a time of great potential for real estate development in Italy, especially in tourist-friendly areas, with local businessmen and entrepreneurs hoping to develop coastal areas and other regions into profitable traveling destinations and entertainment hubs. However, things took a sharp turn as soon as the fascist regime started to gain power in Italy. The politics of the regime were essentially the exact opposite of the idea of luxury and wealth that fueled the vision of entrepreneurs like Polli.
Development of the structure virtually stopped, to the point that the building was re-purposed into a military base during the second world war. When the allied landed in Italy in 1944, they used “Paradiso Sul Mare” as one of their command centers. The building remained virtually forgotten for decades until it was eventually seized by the local government and turned into a school by the late 60s, at least partially so, since some of its features remained abandoned in those years. However, this arrangement only lasted about ten years: the school simply wasn’t popular enough, and with such a low number of students, it didn’t take long for it to shut down. Today, the building belongs to a school related to the hospitality industry, but some of it serves as a storage unit for a nearby museum facility.
In spite of the fact that the building was used on and off throughout its history, it was never properly taken care of, and it became increasingly decaying and dangerous.
In 2015, parts of the building collapsed, leading the school to actually transfer to another location. Since the relocation of the school, “Paradiso Sul Mare” has remained abandoned, newly under the control of the local government. Today, “Paradiso Sul Mare” looks beautiful in spite of the decay of the building, and it stands out as a stark reminder of all the twists and turns of history. Sometimes, things simply do not go as planned, and even if we start off with the best intentions, some things are just not meant to be!
Surprisingly, this place does not receive the national attention that it deserves, given its status as a very relevant site in the history of WWII, especially for Italy!