To mark the 70th anniversary of its liberation from fascism, Rome has reopened one of the bunkers built for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
A series of bunkers were built under the Italian capital during World War II to provide shelter for bureaucrats and party leaders.
Bunker di Roma, a local website, has cataloged up to 12 different bunkers beneath the city and campaigned for their refurbishment so that tourists can visit them.
Many of the bunkers, including Mussolini’s personal air raid shelter, have not been entered since the end of the war, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Mussolini was leader of the Italian fascist movement from 1923 to 1943.
The bunker is located below Villa Torlonia, the Roman residence of Mussolini since 1922. It’s just a short walk from the Colosseum.
The shelter could house up to 15 people in case of intense bombardment. It was never used, as Mussolini was ousted by his own private council on Sept. 8, 1943.
The bunker was outfitted with the most cutting-edge technologies of the time. It was designed to protect against a gas attack, as the sign in this picture says.
Communication with the outside was guaranteed through a safe telephone line. Two more bunkers were built in the same area for other officials.
The bunker was transformed from a wine cellar. Corriere della Sera wrote that Mussolini complained that the bunker was not ready by the time his regime fell.
The mayor of Rome, Ignazio Marino, has praised the initiative as one more way to understand the city’s history.