Fearing air raids on Rome, Mussolini had two new bunkers built, one at Villa Torlonia and one at Villa Savoia, the latter presumably dating to around the years 1940 – 1941.
The bunker at Villa Savoia was carved from within the tufaceous bank of the Colle delle Cavalle Madri and it had the special feature of being able to accommodate the vehicles used to quickly arrive there from the distant residence, during an air raid. The structure has a more or less circular shape, accessible through a tunnel. An armoured door led to a first room and then, through an antigas door, to a second room, the true heart of the bunker, a high pressure chamber built on the German model, equipped with an effective filter system, for air purification and exchange, operated with kinetic energy, created by pedalling on a sort of “bicycle”. In all environments, extremely carefully created, the rationalist style of architecture typical of the time stands out.
The system of protection from bombs involved a first barrier, consisting of two solid slabs of reinforced concrete, positioned on the top of the hill, perfectly camouflaged by the dense surrounding vegetation. The slabs were supported by slender brick walls containing large arches because, at the time of an explosion, the walls would have yielded by absorbing the impact of the bombs and creating a cushion effect. The protection against gas was guaranteed by the presence of rubber seals which were fitted around all the doors, including that of the vehicle area.
At the same time, you can also visit Villa Ada Savoia, which is one of the largest green lungs in Rome with its 160 hectares of parkland, located north of Rome on a hilly area which includes four heights: Monte Antenne, Monte della Finanziera, Colle del Roccolo and Colle delle Cavalle Madri. The ancient city of Antemnae was located on the hill today occupied by the Antenne Fort. The land around the Villa was crossed by the Vergine Aqueduct, while on Via Salaria there were numerous Christian cemeteries, including the Catacombs of Priscilla.
Cost of guided tour: Short visit € 10; Complete Visit € 15