Italian Asmara is related to the decades of the colonial period when Eritrea's capital was ruled by the Italians. The city of Asmara came under Italian control in the 1880s after they conquered the territory of Italian Eritrea. In 1897, it was made the capital of the territory in substitution of Massaua: Asmara as a city was practically "created" by the Italians, when it was chosen as Eritrea's capital.
The Italians subsequently referred to the city as " Piccola Roma ", meaning "little Rome" in Italian language (1). This was due to the fact that the majority of its residents were Italians in the late 1930s: according to the Italian census of 1939, the city of Asmara had a population of 98000, of which 53000 were Italians.
Indeed in 1940 Asmara was a city where the majority of residents were Europeans and Catholics, with sections of the city that looked -as per people and architecture- like a typical southern European city. Since 2017 Asmara is in the UNESCO World Heritage List ( http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1550 ).
Italian students of a high school in 1940 Asmara
* http://www.mediacomunitaeritrea.it/eritrea-2/nggallery/page/1 Gallery of photos of Italian Asmara (click slideshow)
* "Atlante delle colonie italiane". Detailed Atlas of Italian colonies, written by Baratta Mario and Visintin Luigi in 1928 (in Italian)
* http://www.trainweb.org/eritrean/scrapbook/when/running/italian_east_africa.html Eritrean railways (Guida dell'Africa Orientale Italiana)
* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSDZIYoBjwk Video of actual Asmara, showing many Italian era buildings
* https://cloudfront.escholarship.org/dist/prd/content/qt4mb1z7f8/qt4mb1z7f8.pdf "Colonial Inertia and Postcolonial Capital in Asmara", by Mia Fuller (University of California)