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Typology: Place of historical interest

Addresses

Appointment: Via Panama, 55
Zone: Quartiere Parioli (Roma nord)
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Altezza Largo Bangladesh (visita breve)
Appointment: Via Salaria, 267
Zone: Quartiere Parioli (Roma nord)
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Ingresso Villa Ada Savoia (visita completa)

Contacts

Opening times

The visits are temporarily suspended.

Information

Ticket: from €10.00 to €15.00
Modalità di partecipazione: Booking required

Description

Guided visits to the Bunker of Villa Ada Savoia are exclusively programmed and reservation is required.  The two planned itineraries are:

Bunker of Villa Ada - The Savoys' refuge - Start of visit: Via Panama 55, height Largo Bangladesh.
On the way to the bunker (750 metres - duration approximately 10 minutes), the guide will provide some information on the history of the Villa and the Savoy family. Once the bunker is reached, the various restored and partly furnished rooms will be illustrated. The information panels created for the occasion will provide further information. The visit will end with an evocative audio-visual document edited by the well-known author and documentary filmmaker Fabio Toncelli.
Duration of the visit: about 1h 30'.

Villa Ada Bunker - The Savoy's refuge + The Villa - Visit begins: Villa Ada Savoia entrance, Via Salaria 267
We will head towards the Palazzina Reale, which can only be observed from a distance as it is the seat of the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt. The guide will recount what happened on 25 July 1943, when Mussolini was arrested after a meeting with the Sovereign. We will then pass by the stables, which are now unfortunately in a state of complete abandonment. We then retrace our steps to visit the Temple of Flora, also known as the Cafe-Haus, and the Belvedere. During the slightly downhill walk, which will take about 10 minutes (about 700 metres), the guide will give us a lot of information and curiosities about the Villa and the Savoy family. Once the bunker is reached, the various restored and partly furnished rooms will be illustrated. Information panels created for the occasion will provide further insight. The visit will end with an evocative audio-video document edited by the well-known author and documentary filmmaker Fabio Toncelli.
Duration of the visit: about 2 hours

The Savoy anti-aircraft shelter, immersed in the dense vegetation of Villa Ada's large park, is opening to the public for the first time after 70 years of abandonment. The royal bunker is now accessible, in all its historic charm, thanks to an important restoration project promoted by the Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali and carried out by the Associazione Roma Sotterranea, under a two-year agreement signed between the two entities following the outcome of a public tender.

The restoration work
The work, which began in mid-October 2015, was coordinated by the head of the Association Fabio Ciccone under the guidance of restorer Roberta Tessari, with the careful technical and scientific supervision of the Superintendency's officials. More than 3,000 hours were spent by Roma Sotterranea members on the restoration work, which consisted of removing the numerous graffiti and murals, recovering the metal parts, restoring the electrical system and all the security doors, which are now fully functional, reconstructing the bathrooms and, outside, creating an easy way to reach the shelter.
At the inauguration, following an agreement with A.S.I. (Automobilclub Storico Italiano), a number of vintage cars will be on display, while, starting this summer, art exhibitions and theatrical performances of historical re-enactment will be held inside the bunker.

The royal bunker
The air-raid shelter, realistically built around 1940-1942, when the fear of air raids on the Capital began to become more concrete, was for the exclusive use of the Royal family. In an unusual choice, the site for the bunker was located north of the Palazzina Reale, at a distance of about 350 metres as the crow flies. The designers were able to take advantage of the change in altitude due to the presence of a small hill, the so-called Colle delle Cavalle Madri.
The bunker was therefore dug into the tufa bank of the hill, perhaps partly exploiting existing quarry spaces. In this way, access was at level, without having to climb stairs or ramps. The main feature of the bunker, thanks to this characteristic, was that it could accommodate cars inside. The distance from the residence made it necessary to reach the bunker, certainly not on foot, which would have been very risky during an air raid. A short trip by car, first heading north, leaving the stables to the right, and then descending westwards along a winding road, made it possible to get there in no more than 2-3 minutes.
The structure is more or less circular in shape and covers more than 200 m2 underground. Access to the hut was through a short, double-curved tunnel: one then found oneself in front of a massive double door, the driveway entrance to the hut. The two doors, still in place, weigh about 1,200 kg each and were made by pouring cement inside the 20 cm thick iron door. On the left, an armoured door gave access to a first room and then, through an anti-gas door, to a second room, the real heart of the bunker: this is a high-pressure chamber on the German model, equipped with an effective filter system for purifying and changing the air and an autonomous system that allowed, even in the absence of electricity or malfunctioning motors, to guarantee the functioning of the ventilation and filtering system thanks to a system driven by human propulsion, through kinetic energy created by pedalling on a sort of "bicycle". These systems were identified as "pedal-operated electric fans".
Two bathrooms, an antechamber and two service rooms complete the shelter.
In all the rooms, the care with which it was built and the evident references, both in the use of materials and in some details, to the rationalist architecture typical of the period are astonishing.
The bunker had a secondary escape route: there are 40 steps up the splendid travertine spiral staircase to reach a small cylindrical brick structure with a mushroom-shaped roof, located at the top of the hill. Next to it there is a structure made of concrete slabs; this is a real "shield" protecting the underground areas, perfectly camouflaged thanks to the surrounding thick vegetation made up of tall maritime pines that, with their wide foliage, contributed perfectly to the purpose. For further camouflage, the shield was also covered with a piece of tuff, perhaps extracted during the construction of the shelter. The slabs were supported by slender brick walls, into which large arches opened; at the moment of explosion, the walls would have given way, cushioning the impact of the bombs and creating a cushion effect.
Protection from gas was provided by rubber seals, which were fitted to all the doors, including the large driveway door. On some doors the seals are miraculously still in place.
 

See also

Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Architectural and historical heritage

Curated by

Culture and leisure › Cultural institutions › Cultural structures
Last checked: 2021-08-24 14:49