Home > Article > BBC News – Mussolini’s bunker: Il Duce’s futile search for safety

BBC News – Mussolini’s bunker: Il Duce’s futile search for safety

The extensive air-raid shelter that Benito Mussolini had built under his home gives a flavour of the fears that must have haunted the Italian dictator’s final days.

The Via Nomentana is an avenue like many others in Rome. Taxis and motorbikes hurtle along it in the summer heat but, half-way down, through a set of iron gates, lies another world – the cool and the calm of the gardens of the Villa Torlonia.

A lawn, shaded by palm trees, rises up a slope and a path lined with flowers leads to the villa itself – grand and imposing. For 18 years, this was the home of Benito Mussolini, his wife and their children.

In this beautiful place, Italy’s dictator, Il Duce, lived out his rise and fall.

The villa is a museum now and, as you wander through its marble halls, it is easy to see that – for a time – life here for the Mussolinis was very good indeed.

The ballroom is lit by low-hanging chandeliers and above them, on the ceiling, painted angels go gliding through the heavens.

Mussolini’s bedroom is still much as he would remember it. You can almost see him throwing open the tall green shutters on a summer night, letting in any breeze that might emerge from the trees beyond the balcony.

Black-and-white photographs show how Mussolini spent his days at the villa.

Out on the fine white gravel of the driveway, you see him pictured as a swordsman, practising his fencing – Il Duce’s stocky frame presenting a rather large target for his coach.

In one photo, he is on a white horse, easily clearing a jump on a riding track in the grounds.

Another shows the dictator on the tennis court wearing a cap to protect his bald head from the sun. But he is much more smartly dressed when we see him welcoming to his home an Arab diplomatic delegation.

via BBC News – Mussolini’s bunker: Il Duce’s futile search for safety.

Strange Random Safety Quote:

“Nobody wants to fall into a safety net, because it means the structure in which they’ve been living is in a state of collapse and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative.” ― Lemony Snicket

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