- Point of Interest
- Piazza di Porta S. Paolo, 80, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
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 St.Paul’s Gate (Porta San Paolo), to no avail. The Germans eventually occupied the city.
Once the news of the armistice between Italy and the Allied forces was spread via radio by General Badoglio, the German High Command immediately put in place an aggressive plan with the aim of disarming the Italian army and conquering Rome. At the beginning, most of the skirmishes took place in the southwestern suburbs, in the EUR and Garbatella districts, before getting to St. Paul’s Gate (Porta San Paolo).
At Porta San Paolo the fighting began in the morning of 10 September: on one side, a well-organised and motivated army, on the other sparse units, often without officers and precise orders. Indeed, the king and the royal family, Badoglio and a part of the government left Rome and their headquarters in a parade of sixty black cars, just as the grenadiers and the infantry of the Italian army were sacrificing their lives, helped by ordinary citizens who wanted to defend their own city from occupation. The fighting was violent and unequal, and in the late afternoon the German forces entered the Eternal city: the occupation of Rome began.
On the city walls to the right of the Cestia Pyramid, in front of Porta San Paolo, there are four plaques to remember the fighting: two for the Roman resistance, one for the Allied landings at Anzio on 4 June 1944 and one honouring all the Fallen for the Resistance and for terrorism.
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”.
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).
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.
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.
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.
On 24 March 1944 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, 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.