Italië / Verhaal

The resistance at St. Paul's Gate




Porta San Paolo is the symbolic place of the first Roman Resistance and, in general, of the voluntary opposition of Italians to the German invasion.

In the aftermath of the capitulation of Italy, on 8 September 1943, Rome was left alone; the army and dozens of civilians tried to resist the German attack on Rome at St.Paul's Gate (Porta San Paolo), to no avail. The Germans eventually occupied the city.

Once the news of the armistice between Italy and the Allied forces was spread via radio by General Badoglio, the German High Command immediately put in place an aggressive plan with the aim of disarming the Italian army and conquering Rome.

At the beginning, most of the skirmishes took place in the southwestern suburbs, in the EUR and Garbatella districts, before getting to St. Paul’s Gate (Porta San Paolo). At Porta San Paolo the fighting began in the morning of 10 September: on one side, a well-organised and motivated army, on the other sparse units, often without officers and precise orders. Indeed, the king and the royal family, Badoglio and a part of the government left Rome and their headquarters in a parade of sixty black cars, just as the grenadiers and the infantry of the Italian army were sacrificing their lives, helped by ordinary citizens who wanted to defend their own city from occupation.

The fighting was violent and unequal, and in the late afternoon the German forces entered the Eternal city: the occupation of Rome began. On the city walls to the right of the Cestia Pyramid, in front of Porta San Paolo, there are four plaques to remember the fighting: two for the Roman resistance, one for the Allied landings at Anzio on 4 June 1944 and one honouring all the Fallen for the Resistance and for terrorism.

Piazza di Porta S. Paolo, 80, 00153 Roma RM, Italy