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The last bunker of Mussolini

In sometime between late 2010 and early 2011, the Superintendent Anna impressive and the architect Carlo Serafini – while they proceeded the work of clearing a jam-packed and dusty storage of mackerel in the Palazzo Venezia – saw a hatch wood one meter by one meter.

The superintendent stood thoughtfully looking at the hatch while the workers were working without noticing.
“I remembered that background noise that runs through the building always remember that buzz and rumors spread by older workers, and hear from those who came before them,” says Anna impressive. The items they wanted in that area of the building (we are under Palazzetto San Marco) in the last years of the regime of Benito Mussolini were held works feverishly to which few have access.

The superintendent did open the hatch and he descended along with a worker and architect armed with flashlights.

The trio had to occur in a small jump and found himself on a scale of bricks in the bottom of which turned down a short passage with walls from the Roman period and after the passage, went into a strange environment square, each side consists of a corridor divided by partitions for a total of nine environments.

When we saw the concrete, it was all clear, says the architect Serafini. It is the twelfth bunker in Rome. The last bunker of Benito Mussolini. Since then, the news has not been widespread.

On 13 July 1943, the Commander in Chief of the Royal Air Force (RAF) asked the Prime Minister Winston Churchill permission to delete the Duce. The plan was to bomb simultaneously Palazzo Venezia, Villa Torlonia, the private residence of Mussolini.

The Foreign Minister, Anthony Eden, gave a negative opinion doubting that the action had little chance of success and fear of collateral damage on civilians and, in the heart of the Eternal City, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Palatine: The Cradle of Europe.

At the bottom Churchill wrote, “I agree,” I agree. Evidently the Duce knew the risks to which it was exposed: the construction of the bunker presumably begins at the end of 1942 and continued until the morning of the arrest, eleven days after the rejection of Churchill to the plan.

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The bunker we visited yesterday morning is clearly incomplete. The structure is finished, the ventilation system works perfectly even if you have not yet figured out where draws. There are holes in the walls raw dedicated to a sewer system just sketched.

The electrical system is at the same stage. There is no pavement. There is no trace of furniture and, when it was discovered, the bunker contained boxes, plaster belonged to the entrance staircase, junk accumulated there after the war, and there forget what the very existence of the bunker. There is no record that you mention it.

“The structure is solid, probably would hold up, although much depends on the power of fire. Certainly it is well insulated and there is no humidity, “says the architect Serafini. We are 15/20 meters below ground level. The walls, which rest on the foundations of an old tower, in some places are two meters thick.

The floor space is 80 square meters, designed for the sole Duce therefore, a maximum of two people (Claretta Petacci?). He will not ever entertained, but certainly we went to observe the proceedings. Not even had time to make escape routes: he sensed two, if these are a direct to the garden of San Marco Palace and the second, pure hypothesis, direct Altar of the Fatherland (where there was a further bunker) and whose starting point was found a Roman mosaic.

This is an old floor that is at a level just above and rising on the toes can touch: even the mosaic will be studied to decide what to do. Meanwhile, the superintendent of New York, Anna impressive, decided to do the bunker, make visit: “We will put a suitable lighting system (now hanging lamps, ed) and clean it up with nails and pipes sticking out. In one of the rooms I threw a screen image of the Istituto Luce, a pair of touch screen. I’d like to reproduce the sound of sirens. The rest will remain as it is. ” If all goes well, the bunker will be your fall.

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