Erythraîos - Fallen Empire

by Pietro Magnani


Eritrea, Africa - February 2020


Rising incongruously from the Eritrean landscape, Asmara is a somewhat ambiguous monument to its history.  

When Italian colonizers, who occupied the country since 1890, left Eritrea in the post-World War Two era, their refashioning of built, cultural, and social environments to their own specifications did not vanish with them. On the contrary, Italians’ architectural and urban interventions, along with social, economic, and linguistic reminders of their occupation of Eritrea, have been preserved quite faithfully. 

A testament to the forcible subjugation of indigenous culture to the colonial powers that had settled there in the early 20th century.


This project aims to document the architectural and cultural traces of Italian colonialism still strongly present nowadays in Eritrea, using photographic storytelling to investigate mostly on Fascist and Futurist aesthetic developed during 1930s.

The images focus on design elements and building facades, a metaphysical environment without human presence symbolizing the false illusions of the Italian regime and witnessing its inconsistency based on appearance, a design-driven development turned as a tool for propaganda.


With the growing migrant crisis occurring in the Mediterranean, largely related to Eritrea and Eastern Africa countries, and with the Italian

right-wing party slowly trying to legitimate fascist slogan and symbols, this project aims to raise public awareness about our past and our responsibilities.