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Statue of Caesar in Piazza Tre Martiri

Julius Caesar Statue in Rimini's Piazza Tre Martiri

Rimini's Statue of Julius Caesar is almost hidden, in the corner of Piazza Tre Martiri, which paradoxically makes it jump out at the casual visitor even more. The story behind why it's located where it currently stands is one that recounts a fascinating slice of Italian history in general.

Rimini has long laid claim to being the site of Caesar's famous 'Alea iacta est (The die has been cast) speech - and since at least the 1300's there has been some sort of monumental plinth in Piazza Tre Martiri (the original Roman fora of Ariminum) - even though modern historians have cast doubts upon it being the actual location of where Caesar addressed his troops.

Keen to cement the myth of the Roman Empire, Benito Mussolini in 1933 donated a bronze statue of Caesar to Rimini, recognising it effectively as the birthplace of the empire. The statue was placed originally at the foot of the Piazza's clock tower - as it was too heavy to be placed on the 'historic' plinth which nowadays is found at the centre of the junction between the Piazza and Via IV Novembre. Each year on the Ides of March local fascist organisations, during the 1930s and into the war, were encouraged to parade in front of the statue to commemorate Caesar and the Empire.

At some stage before the liberation of Rimini, the statue was removed and hidden, first in a warehouse, and then - buried in a ditch!

There was no rush to re-instate Caesar in the Piazza; for one thing, the close association of the defeated fascists and the roman era still made any return uncomfortable, and no less important was the fact that, after the hanging of three local partisans during 1944 by the Nazi Fascist authorities, the name of the Piazza was changed from Piazza Giulio Cesare to its current name Piazza Tre Martiri.

The original statue was re-discovered from its hiding place in the 1950s, and dug up by the local fire-brigade, and handed over to the military authorities who placed it in the Giulio Cesare barracks, where it still remains. At the same time the Comune decided to have a copy cast, and placed back in the square - rightly, given the historical associations, but with some sensitivity placing it in its corner position.

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