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Look inside Benito Mussolini’s secret bunker as it opens to the public

October 27th, 2014

Secret underground bunkers and an anti-gas chamber built by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini during World War II under his 19th-century villa in Rome, will be opened to the public for the first time.

Villa Torlonia is now a popular park where Romans gather to picnic, jog and enjoy the views, but between 1925-1943, Mussolini lived there with this wife and children.

He built the underground chambers to protect himself and his family from possible air raids and gas attacks.

Two underground structures, built in great secrecy, cover more than 2,000 square feet and include an anti-gas chamber with air ducts and showers for decontamination, all protected by a double set of airtight doors.

“Of course Hitler had his bunker, Mussolini couldn’t have anything less. The truth is he was always against the use of a bunker during the bombings – or so he claimed,” said Laura Lombardi, a historian working for the Rome Underground association.

“He always said ‘I’ll wait for the bombs to come on my balcony, I’ll never go underground’. In fact we know that when there was an airstrike in Albania, at the very first sound of a bomb he went to seek shelter in a bunker!”

The building of the bunker took sometime and it remained incomplete after his death.

By the time air raids hit Rome, “Il Duce” had been deposed and was leading a puppet state in northern Italy under Nazi protection.


World War Two

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