?In northern Rome, surrounding a discreet soccer field, 60 erotic--both naked and adorned--white marble Olympic athletes tower above, preening themselves or staring seductively at each other across the stadium. The incredible Stadio dei Marmi, in the large Foro Italico sports complex, was a centerpiece of Mussolini's fascist Italy in the 1930s. Perhaps that is why the Stadio, with its statues, field, and running track, is absent from most travel books, gay or straight, and is known and used mostly by locals. The formidable 12-foot size of the Stadio dei Marmi statues is surreal, made more interesting by time: Over the last 75 years, bronze fig leaves have been added to cover some of the chiseled penises, creating an embarrassed modesty; but luckily, many of the athletes still stand proud in all their naked glory.?
Christopher Lucas, via e-mail
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