One of the most unexpected places I have visited in Lazio is Mussolini’s bunker, carved into Monte Soratte, a hard isolated limestone ridge near Sant’Oreste, about40 km north of Rome.
Tours are available on Sunday throughout the year and places must be booked by phoning the Bunker association on +39 380-3838102. Coming tour times are listed here.
Mussolini had his bunker built between 1937 and 1943 and it ultimately consisted of 4 km of underground chambers: a veritable underground city. The bunker provided a refuge for German Nazi troops during the Allied bombing campaigns of 1944. During the Cold War, part of the tunnels was turned into a fall-out shelter designed to hold the Italian government and President in the event of nuclear war.
The site of the bunker is clearly signposted as you enter the town of Sant’Oreste. You can park for free in the carpark outside the Corpo Forestale Stato CS located at Via della Pace 1, from where the bunker entrance is a few metres’ walk.
The same car park is also the starting point for a visit to the Monte Soratte nature reserve, which extends for 440 hectares over Monte Soratte, with well-marked pathways. Even the highest point is only 691 m above sea level, the views from the park are spectacular and you can see Lake Bracciano, Monte Amiato in Tuscany, Terminillo in Rieti and the Tyrrenhian Sea on a clear day.
Mount Soratte is also known as the Holy Mountain because it housed several hermitages. It is a well-known local landmark and was mentioned by Goethe and Lord Byron.
Guided tours can be booked by phoning +39 329-8194632 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org at least 10 days before you wish to visit.