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Visit to the Bunker and Air Raid Shelters at Villa Torlonia

From 5 April 2024, the Antiaircraft Shelter and the Bunker located under the Casino Nobile, two underground structures built during the Second World War, will reopen to the public with a new multimedia display that allows for an immersive and experiential visit.

After major restoration and reorganisation work, a piece of Rome's history is once again available to Romans and tourists, recalling, more than eighty years later, one of the city's darkest and most dramatic pages, hit by 51 aerial bombardments between July 1943 and May 1944.

The Bunker's historical memory has been reconstructed through a photographic and audio-visual display, privileging the narration and evocation of the past through sounds and images. The new multimedia display, based on an accurate study of the historical and photographic documentation, as well as highlighting the original architectural features of the complex, was conceived to meet a twofold need: on the one hand to provide historical-documentary information on Rome during the Second World War and on Mussolini's decision to make Villa Torlonia his residence in the city, and on the other to offer visitors an immersive path that will lead them to perceive the experience of an air raid inside an underground bunker.

THE NEW VISITOR ROUTE
Descending the stairs from the halls of the Casino Nobile to the basement of the building, one crosses in an instant a caesura that is not only architectural: on one side air, light, beauty, on the other darkness, humidity and a feeling of constriction.  
Conceptually divided into three parts, the route winds its way through the basement to the Bunker, from which a long corridor then leads out into the park.

1. MUSSOLINI'S LIFE AT VILLA TORLONIA
The visit begins with a video that recounts, through historical photos, the life of Mussolini and his family at Villa Torlonia: parties, official ceremonies, tennis matches, horse riding exercises. With Italy's entry into the war, the need to protect the Duce from possible air attacks arises and the construction of the shelters and the Bunker begins.  
In the following rooms, the historical period of the bombing of Rome, in particular the bombing of the San Lorenzo district, is evoked through newsreels of the time.
In addition to the projections of historical documents, the exhibition makes constant use of photo collages that appear as if printed directly on the walls.

2. LIFE IN THE SHELTERS
The following three rooms are interconnected by a series of synchronised projections that immersively and engagingly reconstruct episodes of what life must have been like inside an air raid shelter during a bombing raid.

3 THE BOMBED CITY
A series of projections describes the double perspective of those who bomb and from above do not perceive the effects, and those below, who suffer the consequences. On the floor, images of Rome as seen from the planes in flight during a bombing raid flow, while on the walls the city in rubble is projected.

4. THE BUNKER
A steep staircase leads to the last stage of the tour: the actual bunker located at a depth of 6 metres. Its large cylindrical structure has been deliberately left free of objects or projections to enhance its structural quality. In this space, an air raid is simulated through the reproduction of sounds (sirens, approaching aircraft, detonations) and ground vibrations.

The exit from the bunker leads directly into the gardens of Villa Torlonia.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Villa Torlonia, between 1929 and 1943, was the private residence of Benito Mussolini and his family, consisting of his wife Rachele and children Edda, Vittorio, Buno, Romano and little Anna Maria. With Italy's entry into the war and the first bombings, three underground structures were built in the villa from 1940 onwards to protect the then Head of Government from possible air raids.

The first shelter was prepared by adapting the premises of an old underground cellar located below the small lake known as 'del Fucino' near the theatre. Soon it was decided to build stronger and safer structures, to be built under the Casino Nobile.
The air-raid shelter was built in 1941 in the basement of the palace and used in 1942 and 1943. The rooms, reinforced with 120 centimetres of reinforced concrete, were equipped with anti-gas doors and an air purification and exchange system.
The armoured structure of the Bunker, on the other hand, whose construction began in December 1942 and remained unfinished after Mussolini's deposition and arrest on 25 July 1943, is located under the square in front of the Casino Nobile, at a depth of 6 metres. It has a cross-shaped plan with 15-metre long circular tunnels with a diameter of 2.50 metres, protected by a 4-metre thick reinforced concrete wall.
At the time of the construction stoppage, the watertight doors, forced ventilation and toilets were still missing.

More information on the page > Il Bunker e i rifugi antiaerei di Villa Torlonia (The Bunker and the air-raid shelters of Villa Torlonia)

GENERAL INFO
- All tours, including those with an own guide, are conducted by in-house teaching staff.
- Guided tours are available in Italian, English, French, Spanish and German;
- for schools in Rome and the Metropolitan City, visits are free of charge until the annual offer available is exhausted.

RULES
- The time inside the site is 50 minutes and there is no turning back during the course.
- Comfortable shoes are recommended. Entrance to the bunker, located inside the Casino Nobile, is via steep stairs; access to the air-raid shelter, through which you reach the exit, is via steep stairs.
- No one may visit the site independently, nor may anyone leave their group along the route.
- The site is NOT accessible for people with motor disabilities. A descriptive video is being prepared and will be visible at the ticket office and on the website.
- The entrance and exit of the bunker do not coincide.
- The visit is not recommended for those suffering from claustrophobia, photophobia and phonophobia.
- It is forbidden to bring animals of any kind onto the site, even inside the carriers.
- It is forbidden to bring in bulky objects (luggage, pushchairs, musical instruments, banners, etc.).
- Smoking is forbidden.
- It is forbidden to bring in food and/or drinks.
- There are no toilets on the route.
- Visitors are required to keep their admission receipt for the duration of the visit.
- Tickets sold are non-refundable.

Informations

When 
from 5 April 2024 to 31 December 2024
POINT (12.510998 41.915796)
Contacts 
Web site: 
www.museivillatorlonia.it/mostra-evento/visita-al-bunker-e-ai-rifugi-antiaerei-di-villa-torlonia
Timetables 

Before planning the visit, CONSULT THE NOTICES

Entrance from the Casino Nobile and exit in the Park.

Guided tours for individuals from 5 April 2024 to 16 June 2024
Friday: 14.00 - 15.00 - 16.00 - 17.00;
Saturday: 10.00 - 11.00 (tour in English) - 15.00 - 16.00 - 17.00;  
Sunday and public holidays 10.00 - 11.00 - 12.00 - 14.00 - 17.00

Special days: Thursday, 25 April 2024; Thursday, 15 August 2024; Friday, 01 September 2024 and Thursday, 26 December 2024
at 10.00; 11.00; 12.00; 14.00 and 17.00

Guided tours for individuals from 20 to 30 June 2024:
in Italian:

Thursday 20 and 27 June at 17.30
Friday 21 and 28 June at 17.30
Saturday 22 and 29 June at 10.00, 16.00 and 17.00
Sunday 23 and 30 June at 10.00, 11.00 and 17.00
in English:
Saturday 22 and 29 June at 11.00
 

Guided tours for individuals from 6 to 28 July 2024
In Italian:

Saturday 6, 13, 20 and 27 July at 17.00
Sunday 7, 14, 21, 28 July at 10.00 and 17.00
in English:
Saturday 6, 13, 20 and 27 July at 11.00
 

Guided tours for individuals from 4 August to 15 September 2024:
in Italian:

Sunday 4, 11, 18 and 25 August at 17.00
Sunday 1, 8 and 15 September at 17.00
 

Guided tours for individuals from 21 to 28 September 2024:
in Italian:

Saturday 21 and Saturday 28 September at 17.00
Sunday 22 and Sunday 29 September at 10.00 and 17.00
in English:
Saturday 21 and Saturday 28 September at 11.00
 

> Groups (schools, guides, groups without a guide, etc.):
From 5 April 2024 to 31 December 2024:
Tuesday to Thursday at: 10.00 - 11.00 - 12.00 - 14.00 - 15.00 - 16.00 - 17.00
Fridays at: 10.00 - 11.00 - 12.00
Saturdays at: 12 noon - 2 pm
Sundays and public holidays at: 15.00 - 16.00 (also available in English, French, Spanish, German)

 

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Location

Visita al Bunker e ai rifugi antiaerei di Villa Torlonia, Via Nomentana, 70
Via Nomentana, 70
41° 54' 56.8656" N, 12° 30' 39.5928" E

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