- Via Ardeatina, 174, 00179 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
On 24 March 1944, the German forces executed 335 Italian prisoners in the Ardeatine Caves (Fosse Ardeatine) just outside of Rome. The executions were an act of reprisal for an attack on German forces which took place in Via Rasella, in Rome. None of the people executed were involved in the attack.
On 23 March 1944, members of the Italian resistance attacked a group of German soldiers on Via Rasella in Rome. In reprisal, the German forces executed 335 Italian civilians. This number included many ex-soldiers of the Underground Military Front of the Resistance (Italian: Fronte Militare Clandestino della Resistenza, FMCR), who were incarcerated in the prison of Via Tasso, 75 Jews and civilians who were rounded up in the streets immediately after the attack.
Colonel Herbert Kappler, the commander of the German police and security service in Rome, with the help of the SS Captain Erich Priebke, wrote the list of the condemned. The list included prisoners for minor crimes and people who were only suspected to have relations with the resistance. The abandoned caves near the Ardeatine way, just outside of Rome, near the San Callisto catacombs, were chosen as the execution site. The massacre took place in a sequence of 335 single murders, with the proportion of ten Italians for every German killed in the Via Rasella attack, plus five more Italians included by mistake.
Despite being a simple memorial, the Fosse Ardeatine Memorial is incredibly poignant. It embraces the caves where the executions took place, the Mausoleum with the bodies of the victims, and a sculpture that remembers the 335 martyrs. It is one of the most meaningful buildings of contemporary Rome.
The Mausoleum and its Museum are open as follows:
Monday to Friday
Saturday and Sunday
Closed on 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 15 August, 25 December.
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
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 EUR district, southern of Rome, is one of the biggest examples of fascist urban planning and architecture in Italy. Mussolini planned to build a new Rome looking toward the future, and the EUR district represents the legacy of the fascist rationalist architecture.
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”.
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 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.
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).
In the aftermath of the capitulation of Italy, on 8 September 1943, Rome was left alone; the army and dozens of civilians tried to resist the German attack on Rome at Porta San Paolo, to no avail. The Germans eventually occupied the city.
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.