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Do anti-nuclear bunkers exist in Italy? From Mussolini’s villas to Bourbon tunnels, here is the secret map

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Where are the air-raid shelters in Italy? The conflict in Ukraine it brought back the fear of bombing, seventy-five years after the end of the second war world. In those years, bunkers were built all over the world which helped people escape death and which these days are saving thousands of lives even in Kiev and in other cities attacked by the Russia.

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From 1945 to today, the construction of the shelters has continued, intensifying as the Cold War became more tense. Now that the war has returned to Europe, should it also move to Italy, where could people take shelter? This is a question that many are asking and someone has already moved forward, buying his bomb shelter.

Ukraine, little Amelia sings “Let it go” from Frozen in the bunker. “A ray of sunshine, everyone was crying”

From Rome to Milan, the most important refuges

TO Rome the most “fashionable” air-raid shelters during the Second World War were the cellars. Those who had them in the buildings could take refuge there, hoping that their home would remain standing. During the conflict twelve armored shelters were built in the capital, mainly at the disposal of the bourgeois class. The most important is located in Villa Ada and is almost an underground luxury palace. In the rooms there is an overpressure ventilation system that prevented any harmful gases from entering from the outside.

Villa Torlonia, one of Mussolini’s ancient residences, also has its refuge at its disposal. Il Duce had another built under Piazza Venezia, about 80 square meters wide with walls two meters thick. Also known is the bunker located under the EUR office building, 33 meters deep and 450 square meters wide. It can accommodate about 400 people for at least three months.

TO Milan during the great war, at least 500 bunkers were built, to which more than 100 public shelters should be added, specially built reinforced concrete structures to shelter from any nuclear war. Among the most famous is refuge 87, where guided tours are often organized. It is located under the Leopardi elementary school. Under the fountain in Piazza Grandi there is another that can accommodate at least 450 people. Also famous are those in via Cesare Battisti and via Gioia.

Also to Naples it is not difficult to find air-raid shelters. One of these is the Greco-Roman aqueduct, even if it does not guarantee excellent living conditions. In the Spanish quarters there is the Sant’Anna di Palazzo refuge. Also famous is the Bourbon tunnel, built in the 19th century. TO Turin the refuge in Piazza Risorgimento is one of the largest built during the Second World War. It consists of three tunnels 40 meters long, 4.50 meters wide and 3.30 meters high. It can accommodate at least 1,200 people. Another refuge is located in Piazza San Carlo. In Trentino, on the border with Alto Adige, in the Alta Val di Non, there is an extraordinary work of engineering: the Gamper Bunker, a huge museum hidden in the heart of the mountain of Monte Mais. It is a war work dating back to 1940 and commissioned by Mussolini to prevent a possible German invasion.

The conditions of the bunkers and the subways

Currently the bunkers are not connected to the heating or electricity networks. No one has used them there anymore (fortunately), if not for guided tours. If necessary, portable power generators should be provided in most cases. Compared to World War II, subways are now available in many cities. Ukrainians have taught that they can be a useful, if not exactly comfortable refuge (but which bunker is?). The cities that have metros are Milan, Rome, Naples, Turin, Brescia, Catania and Genoa.

Bunkers for sale and DIY

In Italy there are several houses with bunkers for sale. These are luxurious villas surrounded by greenery that house structures already used as bunkers. In Fagnana in the province of Udine, a property for sale has an anti-nuclear bunker in the basement built according to Swiss standards. They also have bunkers a villa in Guanzate and another in Negrar di Valpolicella. And even in Milan a building for sale is equipped with an anti-nuclear shelter.

For those who want to make their home “anti-atomic”, a concrete door (used in military shelters) is required, with a thickness of 30 centimeters of concrete. Then we need ventilation systems shielded against nuclear detonations, water tanks of one thousand liters each, radio systems for contact with the outside, beds with fireproof materials, Spartan bathrooms and special wall paints. It is also necessary to put pressure on the environment, because the air from the outside should only enter through a filter. Not an easy job, but someone has already begun to gear up.