Palazzo Venezia

The Palazzo Venezia, which is located on the right of Piazza Venezia, was built in 1455, for a Venetian cardinal, Pietro Barbo, who later became Pope Paul II (1464-1471). The palazzo was the first Renaissance building in Rome and was used as a summer residence of the Pope until the Quirinal Palace was built in 1573. The building was later given to the Republic of Venice, by Pius IV, in 1564. It was later passed on to the Austrian monarchy, in 1797, following the Treaty of Campoformido. It remained under Austria, as its embassy to the Holy See (Vatican City) , until World War I.

Mussolini's Headquarters

Mussolini, Rome, ItalyIn 1916 the state repossessed the building, where it became the seat of the head of government between 1929-1943. Mussolini used the palace as his headquarters (on the first floor). Many of Mussolini's famous speeches were made from the central balcony that had been added in 1715, by the Venetian ambassador.To impress Hitler, Mussolini had the medieval quarter demolished, so the Colosseum could be seen from his balcony. The palazzo is now used for art exhibitions.

Mussolini's Tunnel

In 2002 an Italian newspaper, Il Messaggero, reported that a secret tunnel, 4.6m beneath the city of Rome, had been discovered. The secret tunnel is thought to have been built during the 1930's, by the Fascist leader Mussolini. The tunnel is approximately 400m long and runs below the Roman Forum and emerges near the Colosseum. A maze of tunnels leading from Mussolini's office in the Palazzo Venezia connects to the tunnel .It is believed the tunnel (large enough for a car) was built by Mussolini, as an escape route during World War II. The tunnel was discovered by architect, Massimo Bruno during the 1980's when he was exploring the service corridors of the Vittorio Emmanuel II Monument, which had been used as bomb shelters during World War II. Areas of the tunnel were still wired for telephones and radio transmitter-receivers when Bruno made the discovery.