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Report (Permission Visit) - Mussolini's bunker and air-raid shelters, Rome - October 2016 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report (Permission Visit) Mussolini's bunker and air-raid shelters, Rome - October 2016



TVurbex

TV Locations Aficionado
28DL Full Member
#1
Beneath the picturesque gardens of Villa Torlonia in Rome, there are several underground armoured structures that were used to protect Benito Mussolini and his family from bomb strikes during World War II. They are as follows:

The refuge cellar
Originally a wine cellar for the theatre contained within the gardens, this subterranean space was reinforced in 1940 - with an additional escape route, blast doors and anti-gas system added. However, access from the Casino Nobile palace (Mussolini's residence) meant a c.150 metre walk (or run) above ground - enough time to pose a significant threat as it would have left Mussolini and his family exposed for a minute or so.

Entrance (not sure where the streak of light is coming from as there are no windows):
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Airlock/decontamination chamber:
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Toilet:
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Bedroom:
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Unhinged blast door:
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Emergency exit:
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Exit (looking down from ground level):
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Casino Nobile refuge
Due to the key flaw of the refuge cellar, part of the basement of the Casino Nobile palace was converted into an air-raid shelter in 1941, using the same techniques that were utilised to convert the wine cellar. However, upon expert analysis, it was established that should the palace above be struck by a bomb and collapse, the basement would be unable to support the weight of falling debris and most likely cave in.

The Casino Nobile refuge is particularly interesting as, during reinforcement, Ancient Roman graves were discovered with the bodies buried upside-down, possibly as a form of post-mortem punishment. There is also a tunnel in the basement of the palace which leads to a false Etruscan Tomb, said to have been used by the Torlonia family (owners of the Villa Torlonia) for Masonic rituals prior to occupation by Mussolini.

Blast door:
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Anti-gas system plaque:
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Translation
BERGOMI LIMITED COMPANY
MILAN

FILTER
FOR GAS SHELTER

Maximum air flow
500 litres per minute
Installed in October 1941

PRODUCED IN ITALY


Site of Ancient Roman graves:
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Entrance to tunnel leading to false Etruscan Tomb:
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Bunker
In 1942 - following on from the expert analysis of the Casino Nobile refuge - Mussolini ordered that a purpose-built bunker be constructed below the gardens, retaining direct access from the palace. Construction was undertaken by the Fire Department of Rome who worked hard to complete the bunker as quickly as possible, but progress was stalled due to unstable terrain requiring additional foundations, and, similar to the Casino Nobile refuge, a mass of Roman graves were also uncovered.

By summer 1943, the bunker was almost ready to use, but with some key aspects such as blast doors and a fully functioning anti-gas system still needing to be installed - however, Mussolini was arrested in late July and as such, work was halted. To this day, the bunker remains unfinished but was reportedly used a year later in 1944 by civilians seeking better protection than that offered by their home air-raid shelters from Allied bombing.

Bunker entrance from palace basement:
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Looking back up from bottom of stairs:
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Small airlock:
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Main apartment area:
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Storage area:
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Looking towards exit - note the spaces in the foreground doorway for blast door hinges:
30258682110_fd76c357a3.jpg


Exit (looking down from ground level):
30258679120_34d1536f7e.jpg


Thanks for reading :thumb