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The sad end of the sirens of war who saved Rome

They threw the alarm for the arrival of the bombers in the sky of Rome during the Second World War. But today the alarm is everything for them. It is the strange case of the old air-raid sirens of the system, forget that survive on the roofs of private buildings and institutional buildings the highest of Rome, in the same position in which they were originally mounted over seventy years ago in the middle of war. Historical relics from the mushroom shape, which some goalkeeper dismisses as “scrap heap” to burn, and they run the risk of being scrapped and lost forever. To threaten them are the refurbishment of the roofs of the buildings, but most modern installations of antennas, which are coveted by its most vertiginous terraces of the capital.

To undermine what experts consider precious historical and technological, are the many pylons for modern telephone masts, including facilities of the parables. In some cases, the sirens have been demolished or dismantled to make way for new hi-tech facilities of the ether, but very often the antennas of the twenty-first century cling directly to the “body” mushroom of the siren, putting a strain on their resistance to “irons” rusty. Also because fourteen fifteen years at the mercy of time and bad weather have left their marks. The last notable case is that of the siren building of Viale XXI Aprile, which now acts as a pivot in clusters of parables. Sounding the Sos for these singular specimens of the memory of Rome is the center of Rome Underground archaeological research caving, chaired by Marco Placid, who undertook a systematic mapping aimed to develop a project of total census of all this heritage littered the city’s rooftops. “When we started the treasure hunt we realized that different sirens were already hastily scrapped or was likely to be short – says Lorenzo Grassi of Underground Rome – We have described the goals of the buildings, often annoyed by those old irons. In other cases, however, the sirens had been undermined by the highest terraces of the city to make way for modern lattice of antennas for mobile phones. “

“So we decided to launch an SOS for these precious artifacts – warns Fats – proposing to the Superintendent Capitoline a census. The ultimate goal is to get the affixing of a constraint safeguard assets as of historical importance. ” For its part, the Superintendent Capitoline welcomed the project. It now awaits the Convention. To launch the idea was an experiment in collective mapping of the sirens, through the collection of spontaneous reports via the web, promoted by journalist Mario Lalli-Tedeschini. The association of Rome Underground has continued in recent months with a focused study on the cards of the Central State, where it was rebuilt the whole system of air-raid alarm. Between the late ’30s and the ’40s were installed a hundred sirens for the repercussions of the bomb, all connected by “overhead,” and driven by a centralized command in the basement of the Interior Ministry.

Soared on public buildings such as Castel Sant’Angelo, the Spanish Steps, Porta Pia, the Ministry of Public Education, Justice, National Institute of Health, and private mansions. Archival records put the number 51 officers, but the current state of the census only 23 are still present. From the Parioli district in Trieste. Two are translocated: “There was a fire on the barracks in Via Marmorata that is kept today in the historical museum of the brigade, the other was on the roof of a school in Monteverde, it’s over to the Museum station Column “. The risk of losing them forever is high. “If you really want to throw the condo, the least we rely, ‘says Mr. Grassi. The next step is the museum.