Mussolini's 'Most Secret' Bunker Revealed

It was found in 2011, and will open to public this summer

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 27, 2013 9:03 AM CDT | Updated Mar 31, 2013 7:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – You'll soon be able to visit a manifestation of Benito Mussolini's paranoia: his "most secret" bunker, unearthed beneath his Rome headquarters in 2011 and just revealed. During the restoration of the 15th-century Palazzo Venezia, architect Carlo Serafini came upon a trap door, reports La Stampa by way of Worldcrunch. Inside: the dictator's 12th bunker, an unfinished 860-square-foot space located 50 feet below the building. It's set to open to the public this fall, largely preserved as-is, just with the addition of an interactive touchscreen and air-raid-simulating siren.

Flooring and the sewer and electrical systems were never installed, but the nine-room space's purpose is clear, says Serafini. "It would have probably only been designed for Mussolini himself and one other person; more than likely his mistress, Claretta Petacci." The Telegraph reports that the order for the bunker, which looks to have led to two escape routes, came in late 1942, spurred by Mussolini's fears that the Royal Air Force planned to bomb his HQ—a plan the RAF actually considered but ultimately passed on.

In this April 21, 1936 file photo Benito Mussolini walks in the rain during the 2,698th anniversary of the birth of Rome.
In this April 21, 1936 file photo Benito Mussolini walks in the rain during the 2,698th anniversary of the birth of Rome.   (AP Photo/Str)
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