WWII ROME TOURS

ROME OPEN CITY TOUR


From The German occupation of Rome on 11th september 1943 to the Allied liberation on 4th June 1944.

In the days leading up to Italy’s surrender, the government that had deposed Mussolini had declared Rome an “Open City” – a demilitarized zone, harmless and thus a measure to preserve its countless wonders from the ruins of war. Reaffirmed but not respected by the German occupiers and consequently the Allies, this open city would from the outset be a sham. In a matter of weeks Rome would become all but unrecognizable, a mockery of an open city, whose walls would shake under the roar of German military traffic to the front and the thunder of Allied bombs. 


TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Historical museum of the liberation of Rome 
  • Via Rasella & the Ardeatine Caves
  • The District of San Lorenzo
  • Personalized itinerary according to your interests and timeframe.


HISTORICAL MUSEUM OF THE LIBERATION OF ROME

Our Tour starts with the visit of the Historical Museum of the Liberation of Rome. The Museum was once the headquarters of the SS Kommandantur, where the major representatives of the Roman Resistance, many of whom lost their lives, were interrogated, tortured and imprisoned. The museum relates (mostly by means of graphical and photographical evidences) the atrocities committed in Rome by the Nazi-Fascist regime, with special reference to the events from September 1943 to June 1944. Visitors may see the ten cells left absolutely unchanged; in the punishment ones are still visible the graffiti made by prisoners, a touching evidence of those tremendous days. We will continue with a walking tour in Via Rasella and then the Ardeatine Caves.


VIA RASELLA & THE ARDEATINE CAVES.

 At 3:45 on the afternoon of March 23rd, 1944, a heavily armed column of 156 SS police marching through Rome, was attacked in the Via Rasella by ten partisans, nine men and a woman, most of them students in their twenties. The target, the 11th Company of the 3rd Bozen SS Battalion, was a new, anti-partisan police formation.  As the police column proceeded up the street, one of the partisans, in the guise of a municipal street cleaner, lit the fuse of a home-made bomb concealed in his trash can and decamped. Some fifty seconds later, twenty-four men were blown apart in an earth-shaking explosion. Other partisans engaged the dazed rear guard with grenades and gunfire, and as nine more SS men, and two hapless civilians, lay dead or dying, they disappeared into the hideaways of the Roman underground. The next day, 335 men and teen-aged boys – a near-perfect cross-section of the male social makeup of Rome, but not one of whom even remotely connected to the attack – were seized from various parts of the city, trucked to an abandoned labyrinth of caves in Via Ardeatina, near the Christian catacombs of ancient Rome, and slain in groups of five. 


SAN LORENZO DISTRICT.

One of Rome's working-class quarters and a notorious hotbed of anti-fascist sentiment, the San Lorenzo district, located on either side of the Via Tiburtina near the Termini station, was heavily bombed in July 1943 with the aim of disrupting the railway system. The only area to suffer in this way, the bombing left many dead and destroyed or damaged several significant buildings. Today the area, which is located near Rome's La Sapienza University, has a youthful, easy-going vibe, but the signs of that night in 1943 remain. Bomb damage can still be seen and the barber's shop on Via dei Volsci also functions as a photographic museum of the destruction. Pope Pius XII's pastoral visit in the aftermath is marked by a statue of the pontiff with his arms raised.



10th June 1940, Declaration of war to Britain and France
11th september 1943, the Germans occupied Rome
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