Curiosities & Oddities Italy Normal Travels Off the Beaten Path Photography

A Bunker’s Legacy


Dear Reader,

Let’s pick up from where we left off, right at the entrance of Mussolini’s Bunker in Soratte, a 14 km long nest of tunnels and secret chambers.

This is the view of Soratte as we were arriving. From afar you can appreciate the abandoned military stations

abandoned_military_station_soratte_bunker

And the actual town of Sant’Oreste, evacuated by the Nazis in 1943 to make it a secret refuge.

soratte_santoreste_town_stanito

Mussolini must have had a typical Roman catacomb design in mind or else a cult structure for its own bunker as the result is a classic hypogeal refuge. It’s chilly and creepy at the same time. The first thing that got my attention were the warning signs all over the place, both in Italian and German

 

And many more

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Notice the warning signs in Italian and then in German. This place, a true piece of Italian engineering, was also exploited by the Germans: after the armistice in September 1943, the German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring settled in Soratte and forced the local inhabitants of Sant’Oreste to flee the area. He and his troops remained “secretly” inside the bunker for about ten months hiding in the many tunnels they found inside. He liked the place enough to continue some construction works and even added a restaurant decorated with fake windows for him and his troops. I believe Mussolini though was the author of the hospital.
The bunker proved to be highly valuable as it served as unbreakable shield against the 12 May 1944 bombing carried out by two Allied B-17 teams departed from Foggia, Puglia, in the southeast of Italy.
At some point the Commander escaped but not before giving one last order: burn and bury the crates and boxes that contained gold stolen from the Banca d’Italia. Such treasure, dear Reader, is either a legend or never found… Fascinating.

As we kept going inside the air became colder and colder.
There were maps here and there

map_german_control_soratte_bunker_stanito
Map depicting German control.

And a beautiful radio station

wwii_soratte_bunker_radio_station_stanito

And the infinite line of tunnels filled with old tracks

The range of tracks we found along the way

Gas masks of unknown date I’m afraid, probably during the Cold War given the look they have

soratte_bunker_gas_masks_stanito

backdoor_soratte_bunker_mussolini_stanito_wwii
And finally one of the many back door exits 🙂

2 comments

    1. Claramente 😀 una obsesión que pretendo perpetrar!
      Qué bueno que te gustó, en particular a mi me fascina la foto de la estación de radio, tiene un look viejo que me encanta, un no se qué de tétrico.

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