Castelli H1 1920 x 116
Castelli H1 1920 x 116
Castelli H1 1920 x 116
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Rome reopens Mussolini's wartime bunker and air-raid shelter

Mussolini bunkers at Villa Torlonia reopen to public.

A wartime air-raid shelter and bunker built by Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini reopen to visitors on Friday following renovation works and the addition of a new multimedia exhibition.

The underground complex is located below the Casino Nobile in the grounds of Villa Torlonia, the private residence of Mussolini and his family from 1929 until 1943, in Rome's Nomentano district.

Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri on Thursday inaugurated the newly reopened site, describing it as "a challenging place that fittingly is accessible, another piece in the recovery of places in the history of our city."

The bunker site features an audio-visual display of archive images of Mussolini and his family in the villa, as well as footage of the aftermath of Allied bombings in Rome.

The visit is enhanced by simulated overhead bombings in an immersive, floor-shaking exerience that recalls "one of the darkest and most dramatic chapters of the city, hit by 51 aerial bombings between July 1943 and May 1944."

In 1941 Il Duce built a shelter in the central area of the villa's basement, surrounded with 120-cm thick walls of reinforced concrete and equipped with an air purification system.

At the end of 1942 work began on a more advanced bomb-proof bunker, about 20 metres below the villa.

It had a complex design with interconnecting tunnels and was built with reinforced concrete walls up to four metres thick in places.

Work stopped on 25 July 1943 when Mussolini was forced from power, leaving the unfinished bunker still missing its doors and technological equipment such as the ventilation system.

An earlier bunker, not open to the public, was built in a wine cellar under the villa's small lake or laghetto in 1940, following the outbreak of world war two.

It was equipped with armoured doors, anti-gas filtration and air regeneration system, battery-powered lights, telephone, bed and toilet.

However its limited space and distance from the villa convinced Mussolini to build the bunkers directly under the Casino Nobile.

How to visit

The 'Rifugio e il Bunker' are included in the Villa Torlonia museum circuit and are open for guided tours for individuals and groups (max 20 people at a time) and schools (max 30 students at a time).

There are guided tours in English at 11.00 on Saturdays, as well as tours in English, French, Spanish at 16.00 on Sundays and public holidays.

Tickets can be bought online via the Museo Villa Torlonia website or in person at the ticket offices in Casino Nobile.

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General Info

Address 00161 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, Italy

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Rome reopens Mussolini's wartime bunker and air-raid shelter

00161 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, Italy

Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
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Marymount - International School Rome