- Point of Interest
- Piazza Colonna, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
The Wedekind Palace (Palazzo Wedekind) on the Colonna Square (Piazza Colonna) in Rome was the headquarters of the National Fascist Party during the period of Fascist rule in Italy. After Italy’s capitulation came the Nazi occupation, during which many Italian fascists reappeared on the scene again, centering around the Palazzo.
Colonna Square and the Wedekind Palace (Palazzo Wedekind) were first the headquarters of the National Fascist Party and then the scene for the rebirth of the Fascist party and for the incredible violence that characterised the months of the occupation of Rome. Also thanks to fascists, including the Koch brigade – a special police squad that was recognised by the Germans -, an atmosphere of terror spread on the city of Rome, which hit not only the opposition but, indiscriminately, the entire city.
On the Eastern side of the square, you can find Palazzo Chigi (Chigi Palace), which is nowadays the headquarters of the Government of Italy and residence of the Prime Minister. During the Fascist regime, the palace was the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry (post held by Benito Mussolini himself). From the balcony – at the corner between Via del Corso and Piazza Colonna – he gave his first speeches, later replicated from the balcony in Piazza Venezia.
Palazzo Montecitorio (Montecitorio Palace) is another historic building that you can find on the Eastern side of the square. The Palace hosts, nowadays, the Chamber of Deputies (Camera dei Deputati) of the Italian Republic but also the plenary sessions of the Italian Parliament (Chamber of Deputies and Senate of the Republic).
Wedekind Palace, at present, is the headquarters of the daily newspaper Il Tempo. It is possible to visit it only for exhibitions, but the Palace is worth a stop to admire its historic façade.
The region of Lazio in central Italy was the scene of heavy fighting during WWII: here the battles of Monte Cassino and Anzio were fought before the Allies could capture the capital of Rome. Recall the landings of Anzio and
The Museum of the Liberation in Via Tasso, Rome, is the symbolic place of the Nazi occupation of the Italian capital. The museum occupies an entire building which was used as a prison by the Sicherheitspolizei, the Nazi Security Police
During the Roman Ghetto round-up, the Fatebenefratelli hospital hid a number of Jews before they could be loaded on trucks, forcing them in the hospital for the so-called “K syndrome”.
Rome was the first capital to be liberated from Nazi German occupation on 4 June 1944. Rome had been declared an open city which meant that it could be captured without any fighting. This was a welcome relieve after the heavy fought campaign of Cassino.
The war cemetery in Rome was built after the entry of the Allied force into Rome in June 1944. It contains 426 Commonwealth graves from the Second World War. An inscription recalls the period of the war and commemorates the
In October 1943, the Nazis deported over 1.000 Jews from the former Jewish Ghetto in Rome. The Roman Ghetto had a long history that stretched back for many centuries.
In the Lateran Palace, in Rome, many Italian antifascists and politicians found shelter between 1943 and 1944. After the liberation, many of these wrote the new Italian Constitution and they subsequently governed the country.
Venice Palace (Palazzo Venezia), in Rome, was the headquarters of the fascist government. Mussolini used its Globe Room (Sala del Mappamondo) as his personal office. From its balcony, Mussolini used to harangue the crowds on the most important occasions, such as 10 June 1940, when fascist Italy decided to enter the war.
The city of Rome survived the German occupation in an atmosphere of terror, deprivation, and cold. People began to raid bakeries and delivery trucks carrying bread for the German military. The reprisal was quick: ten women were shot at the guardrail of the Ponte di ferro (Iron Bridge), also known as Ponte dell’industria (Industry Bridge).
One of the crucial moments for Italian history is 19 July 1943, when the Allies bombed the San Lorenzo district, speeding up the fall of Mussolini, who a week later was defeated after a vote of no-confidence by the Great Council of Fascism and arrested.
On 23 March 1944, in Via Rasella, in the centre of Rome, a bomb by GAP (Patriotic Action Group) partisans killed 33 Nazis. As a reprisal, the German command ordered the shooting of ten Italians for every German killed.