- Point of Interest
- Via Nomentana, 70, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
Situated North-East of the city centre, Villa Torlonia was the official residence of Mussolini. Under the villa, an airtight bunker for Mussolini and two air raid shelters were constructed. Today, it is possible to visit them, along with the park and the museum.
The villa initially belonged to the Pamphilj family, then to the Colonna and the Torlonia family eventually bought it at the beginning of the 19th century.
In 1925, Prince Giovanni II Torlonia rented the villa to Mussolini for a symbolic lease of 1 lira per year. The villa was in use by the Fascist dictator until 25 July 1943. Mussolini made some changes to the villa and its park, included a bunker modelled on Hitler’s bunker. He mainly used the villa to host dignitaries and foreign visitors, such as Gandhi, Chamberlain, Hitler or the French minister Laval.
In 1930, the wedding of Mussolini’s daughter Edda with Count Galeazzo Ciano was celebrated in Villa Torlonia. In the “Red Villa”, Mussolini built a residence for his lover, Claretta Petacci, while he took up residence in the side of the villa called “Casino nobile”.
Rome and Lazio
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
Historical Museum of the Liberation, Rome
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
K Syndrome on the Tiber Island
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 Ghetto of Rome
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.
The Ardeatine Caves Massacre
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.
Via Rasella 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.
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 resistance at St. Paul’s Gate
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.