Mussolini's Secret Bunkers Are Opened

Visitors can now immerse themselves in 'darkest pages of our history'
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2014 8:39 AM CDT
Mussolini's Secret Bunkers Are Opened
A view of Benito Mussolini's residence Villa Torlonia, in Rome, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

As many as 12 World War II bunkers have been identified beneath the city of Rome, thought to have been built for Benito Mussolini or other party leaders, reports Business Insider. Three are now set to open to the public on Halloween; two were opened for a short time in 2006, but one will be made public for the first time. The new site is a shelter made from a converted wine cellar that lies under Mussolini's elaborate gardens, roughly 400 feet from his villa's living quarters (the family would have had to run above ground to reach it). AP describes it as being hastily constructed in 1940, and notes its iron-rung ladder (for "emergency exits") and a rusting machine meant to purify the air in the event of a gas attack.

The bunker and its anti-gas doors will serve as a stark reminder of "one of the darkest pages of our history," according to Rome's department for culture, per Reuters. After refashioning the wine cellar, Mussolini went on to build at least two more bunkers, one of which was reinforced with up to 13 feet of concrete. Mussolini was arrested before it had been completed, but had it been finished, it would have been Italy's most resistant air raid shelter devoted to just one family. (A bunker that may have been designed for Mussolini and his mistress was discovered in 2011.)

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