A bunker intended for the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini has been discovered in Rome, World Crunch reports.
The bunker was found in 2011 by workers restoring the Palazzo Venezia, but its existence wasn’t revealed until now. The workers found a trap door in the cellar of a 15th-century building that led to nine rooms fortified with concrete walls up to two meters (6.6 feet) thick.
Researchers believe this was the 12th bunker Mussolini was said to have had. It was obviously never finished as there is no plumbing or electricity, only bare walls.
The bunker is 15 meters (49.2 feet) underground and could have withstood some serious bombing.
There are two escape routes in the bunker, one of which leads to a neighboring church garden. The other hasn’t been fully explored but leads in the direction of another of Mussolini’s bunkers.
While his network of bunkers protected Mussolini from Allied bombing, they didn’t protect him from his own people. He was killed by Communist partisans on April 27, 1945.
The bunker will open to tourists this autumn and will include a touchscreen display to explain its historical significance and the recording of an air raid siren to add a touch of atmosphere.
This decision is at odds with what Germany did with Hitler’s bunker in Berlin. While the exact location was known, it was decided not to turn it into a historical monument for fear that it would attract neo-Nazis. It wasn’t until 2006, and after much controversy, that a historic plaque was put up at the location.
[Image courtesy Bundesarchiv]
Officials in Rome have removed the so-called “padlocks of love” from the famous Ponte Milvio, the BBC reports. This is the latest phase of an ongoing struggle between the city and romantic couples that we’ve been reporting on since 2007.
It all started when Italian novelist Frederico Moccia wrote “I Want You,” in which a couple put a bicycle lock around the bridge’s lamppost and tossed the key into the Tiber as a symbol of their undying love. It soon became a fad and the locks became so heavy they actually broke the lamppost. After that people started putting locks all over the bridge.
The bridge was built over the Tiber River in 115 B.C. and was the site of the famous Battle of Milvian Bridge, in which the Emperor Constantine defeated his rival Maxentius to take over Rome, a move that was the beginning of the end of paganism.
Officials say rust from the locks is damaging the historic bridge. Putting a lock on the bridge carries a 50 euro ($51) fine. This is the second time the city has removed the locks. It probably won’t be the last.
Putting locks on landmarks has become a trend in other spots as well. Near where I live in Santander, northern Spain, couples do this on a railing by a cliff overlooking the sea. Is there a similar custom in your local area? Tell us in the comments section!
[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]
Economic instability, a change of government, and now this.
It looks like Italy’s most famous landmark, the Colosseum, may be crumbling. The Culture Ministry has launched an investigation after eyewitnesses spotted bits of stone falling off the Roman ruin on two different occasions in recent days.
An Italian shoe company has promised to restore the Colosseum with an ambitious 25 million euro ($34 million) project, but work won’t start until March.
If the reports are true, the Colosseum isn’t the only monument in trouble. Pompeii has suffered a series of collapses that has raised questions about the site’s management and has escalated into a major scandal. With Italian government deeply in debt and struggling with unpopular austerity measures, it’s doubtful if the glorious legacy of ancient Rome will receive much official funding in the coming fiscal year.
Photo courtesy Sebastian Bergmann.