Monument to the bombing of San Lorenzo district





The monument to the fallen soldiers of the San Lorenzo bombing, designed by Luca Zavi, was unveiled in 2003 in the War Memorial Park of 19 July 1943. It recalls the first very serious bombing of the capital, carried out in the aftermath of the meeting between Mussolini and Hitler, and shortly before the Allied landing in Sicily.

At the beginning of 1943 at the Casablanca Conference, the 'Big Three' (United Kingdom, USA and Free France) decided on the offensive that was to go from Africa to Italy and defeat the axis from the south.

The Allies therefore landed on Pantelleria on 12 June 1943 and in Sicily on 10 July. Mussolini met Hitler in Feltre without obtaining any substantial aid. On 19 July, just after 11 a.m., 300 American bombers from North Africa dropped more than 4,000 bombs with more than 1,000 tons of explosives on the railway station of San Lorenzo, the airports of Littorio and Ciampino, and the depots along the consular roads.

The Faculty of Medicine, the Verano cemetery, the basilica outside the walls and several houses within a radius of more than 500 m from the target were hit. The toll was over 3,000 dead and 11,000 injured; 10,000 buildings destroyed and 40,000 displaced. In the afternoon, Pope Pius XII left the Vatican and went to bring comfort to the people in the neighbourhood. Instead, the king was pushed away by the crowd, and Mussolini only visited the wounded a week later. There were over 50 bombing raids on Rome between August 1943 and June 1944.

On 19 July 2003, a memorial was unveiled in which the names of the 1,674 victims ascertained during the tragic bombing on 19 July are listed. The monument was created by Luca Zevi, winner of a competition organised by the Valle Giulia Faculty of Architecture in collaboration with the town council. Two faces emerge from the ground and while one is enclosed by a continuous series of crystals on which the names of the victims are laser-imprinted, the other, which is not visible to visitors, allows inspection hatches to be placed. In the evening, the monument is illuminated by a series of neon lights placed inside the crystal. The monument underwent restoration in 2018.

There are several other landmarks in the neighbourhood: monuments, gravestones and plaques that form a true urban route. A historical archive was also established, which updated the list of the fallen and compiled a list of the inhabitants of the district who were deported during the war.