Savoia bunker opens in Rome

Wartime bunker built for Italy's former royal family.

A bunker designed for Italy's former royal family has opened to the public for the first time, after being abandoned by 70 years, at Rome's Villa Ada park.

The air-raid shelter was constructed between 1940 and 1942 to protect the Savoia family in the case of bombing during world war two. Surrounded by thick vegetation, the bunker is located at the base of the Colle delle Cavalle Madri hill, about 350 metres from the former Savoia residence at Villa Ada.

The 200-sqm shelter includes a sitting room, two bathrooms and air purification system, and its two access doors, made of iron and concrete, weigh a combined 2,400kg and are 20-cm thick.

The restoration of the bunker began last October and was overseen by Roma Sotterranea, an association which collaborates with the capital’s archaeological authorities in providing tours of Rome's underground sites.

Guided tours, which cost between €10 and €15, are available on Saturdays and Sundays, and some holidays dates, or by special appointment for groups. For full details see website.