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Address

Address: Via Nomentana, 70
Zone: Quartiere Salario (Roma nord)
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41.915796,12.510998

Contacts

Telephone: 334 7401467

Opening times

The visits are temporarily suspended.

Bookings and payments for scheduled visits can only be made online.

It is not possible to enter the bunker freely, but only by booking guided tours.

Description

After the restoration and rearrangement works, the air-raid shelters and Mussolini's bunker, hidden underground in Villa Torlonia, are once again open to the public. The work was carried out by the Associazione Roma Sotterranea, which won the public tender launched in August 2017, following which an agreement was signed with the Sovrintendenza Capitolina for the joint management of the bunkers in Villa Ada - Savoia and Villa Torlonia for three years.

The two anti-aircraft shelters have been set up by inserting some original pieces of the period, while in the bunker itself, an installation has been created that will allow the visitor to relive an "Air Raid Experience". The three rooms dedicated to the panels have been set up focusing on images, with reproductions of original documents of the time (newspapers, propaganda posters, flyers, etc.), rather than on texts.
A film made for the occasion by the well-known historical documentary filmmaker Fabio Toncelli retraces the Royal Air Force's unsuccessful plan to eliminate Mussolini by bombing Villa Torlonia and Palazzo Venezia at the same time.
Finally, inside the bunker there will be theatrical performances of historical re-enactment and educational activities in collaboration with other associations.

In Villa Torlonia there are three underground structures built between 1940 and 1943 to provide shelter for the Mussolini family in case of air raids: two air-raid shelters and a bunker.

Villa Torlonia and its park on Rome's Via Nomentana were the private residence of Benito Mussolini and his family between 1929 and 1943: his wife Rachele and their five children (Edda, Vittorio, Bruno, Romano and Anna Maria). Mussolini accepted the invitation of Giovanni Torlonia Jr. who hosted him in his prestigious residence. 
 
In 1940, when Italy entered the war, three underground armoured structures were built in the villa to protect the then Head of Government from possible threats from the air.

The anti-aircraft and gas-protected structures present in Villa Torlonia are (in chronological order):
- Rifugio Cantina (Cellar Shelter) under the Fucino Lake, equipped in 1940 and used until the end of that year;
- Rifugio Casino Nobile built in 1941 in the basement of the building and used in 1942 and 1943;
- Bunker designed and built from scratch under the square outside the Casino Nobile, with work started at the end of 1942 and not yet completed on 25 July 1943, when Mussolini was deposed and arrested.

It was the fear generated by the increasingly frequent and threatening Allied aerial attacks that forced Mussolini to build a "bomb-proof" bunker that was safer than the two shelters already in place, created by adapting the rooms of the Torlonia family's cellar (under the "Fucino lake" near the theatre) and the central hall in the basement of the Casino Nobile.

The winery refuge
The first room to be used as a shelter was the cellar under the Fucino lake, which was equipped in mid-1940 and used until the end of that year.
The shelter was equipped with double armoured doors and an anti-gas system for filtering and regenerating the air, which was operated by a crank. Lighting was battery-operated and there was a toilet, a telephone with a direct line for Mussolini's use, first aid and a bedstead with mattress.

The Casino Nobile refuge
The inconvenience and shortcomings of the cellar-shelter convinced Mussolini of the need to equip a second, more functional shelter inside the Casino Nobile building. In 1941, a shelter was built in the central hall of the basement of the Casino Nobile, which was also used in 1942 and 1943.
The rooms were reinforced with 120 centimetres of reinforced concrete and equipped with a purification and air exchange system.
The historical reading of these rooms is supported by a multimedia room, photographs and panels presenting documents of great interest, some of which are being shown to the public for the first time and also come from foreign archives.

The bunker
The newly built armoured structure of the bunker was excavated at a depth of 6.5 metres under the square in front of the Casino Nobile; it has a cross-shaped plan and circular galleries protected by a 4-metre thick reinforced concrete roof. Construction of the bunker began at the end of 1942, but it was left unfinished because when Mussolini was deposed and arrested (on 25 July 1943) the finishing touches had not been put in place. The armoured doors, the external covering of the well and the technological equipment (such as the ventilation system) were missing. The delays were caused by the difficulties encountered in the excavation: the ground near the palace proved to be of poor consistency, which meant that the foundations had to be built twice as deep as planned. Had it been completed, it would have been the Italian bunker with the highest degree of resistance dedicated to the protection of a single personality.

The Casino Nobile bunker and shelter were recovered and opened to the public for the first time in 2006 and closed after a short period due to the presence of radon gas in the rooms. After some structural and remediation work, these places, continuously monitored, can now welcome visitors in complete safety.

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Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Architectural and historical heritage
Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Museums
Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Museums
Last checked: 2021-08-24 14:42