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Exploring Mussolini's Secret Bunkers

The city-owned Villa Torlonia will now offer tours inside the former dictator's hideouts.
A passageway is pictured inside a secret bunker of Fascist leader Benito Mussolini that was built between 1942 and 1943 under his private residence at Villa Torlonia in Rome.
A passageway is pictured inside a secret bunker of Fascist leader Benito Mussolini that was built between 1942 and 1943 under his private residence at Villa Torlonia in Rome.Reuters/Remo Casilli

A typical visit to the Villa Torlonia in Rome involves a picnic and a stroll along pine and palm tree-dotted grounds. Starting this weekend, tourists can explore the secret hiding grounds beneath their feet that Il Duce built for himself.

Built in the early 20th century, the Villa Torlonia housed Benito Mussolini and his wife and children from 1925 to 1943. In 1940, one year into World War II, the Italian dictator had an old wine cellar at his Neo-Classical estate turned into an air-raid shelter.