Italy / Museum

Historical Museum of Liberation




Founded in 1955, it is the oldest and most eminent Museum of the Resistance in Italy. Located in the former Nazi prison in Via Tasso, it plays an important role as a garrison in the centre of Rome, promoting the values of anti-fascism, democracy and peace.

The palace in Via Tasso 145-155 was built in 1938-39 by the family of the Princes Lancellotti and was leased to the German Embassy in Rome, which located its cultural offices there. From September 1943 to June 1944 he was assigned to Auβenkommandos des Befehlshabers der Sichereitspolizei und des Sichereitsdienst (Overseas Headquarters of the SIPO Security Police and the SD Security Service), headed by Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Kappler and officially headquartered at house number 155. The adjustment to the new requirements brought with it the transformation of the flats of house no. 145 into a prison.

Windows were bricked up, grates were placed over the doors and later on , the 'Bocche di lupo' [Wolf mouths] were open.The slightly downhill road outside was closed off with Friesian horses. Passage on foot is only permitted with a pass in a narrow corridor along the wall of the building opposite. During the nine-month occupation of the city, more than 2,000 prisoners were held there, of whom about 400 were women. 

On 3 June, close to the arrival of the Allies, the SS abandoned the prison, burning most of the documentation. They also tried to take the prisoners with them, but only managed to evacuate about fifteen of them. The others were released by the population on the 4th. Later, the palace was occupied by evacuees who had lost their homes during the bombing. Later, the owner Princess Ruspoli sold the flats, but donated four of them to the state, with the condition that a museum be built there. A restoration was then carried out in the former Nazi police headquarters and prison, which was partly conservative and partly reconstructive.

The Museum - created on the initiative of a special committee appointed by the Minister of Education and chaired by Guido Stendardo - was initially set up between 1954 and 1955 and was inaugurated on 4 June 1955 under the name of Museo storico della lotta di Liberazione [Historical Museum of the Liberation Struggle].

A new set-up was started in 2013 and then, after a suspension for economic reasons, in 2017. 2017. Giant photographs of reproductions of works by Bruno Munari, Francesco Cretara and Renato Guttuso serve as settings in the staircase and on the landing. The ground floor flat houses the teaching room and reading room of the Guido Stendardo Library.

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