WWII Bomb discovered in central Rome

At the site of Wanted In Rome, there is a piece about an unexploded WWII bomb discovered in a well-known street, the Via dei Cappellari, near my old stomping grounds Campo de’ Fiori, in the Regola zone. As a matter of fact, I had an apartment near to the place and the location, as I recognize from the photos, is just across from where I attended a couple dinner parties with friends at the home of interesting if eccentric self-described spinster. More at La Repubblica.

I was curious about how that bomb wound up there, because Rome centro was rarely attacked.  Most of the runs were at the periphery.   There was the infamous Verano in 1943 that produced the amazing photo of Pius XII.

However, there were a couple that grazed the centro including one that damage a building at the train station inside Vatican City.  My friend John Sonnen once posted on that HERE. I can imagine an early bomb dropping as they drew close to their target.

In 1944 there was another accidental bombing by Brits that grazed Vatican City.  As a matter of fact I found an amusing article about that.

Who Bombed the Vatican?: The Argentinean Connection
Patricia M. McGoldrick
The Catholic Historical Review
The Catholic University of America Press
Volume 102, Number 4, Autumn 2016
pp. 771-798

I need someone at Catholic University of America to use their library access and get me a copy of that article.

Who knows what details it has?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. teomatteo says:

    Who care about the bomb. What about that Spinster?

  2. NOCatholic says:

    I was under the impression that Rome was declared an open city by the retreating Axis powers in 1944, which means it should not have been intentionally bombed. But in the “fog of war” accidents happen. Prayers that it is safely disabled or destroyed.

  3. robtbrown says:

    We still have to consider the unexploded bombs from Vatican 2, in addition to the ones already exploded

  4. Semper Gumby says:

    NOCatholic: Rome was declared an Open City twice during WW II.

    First, in August 1943, prior to the Fascist Italian surrender in September (newspaper clippings from Allied countries dated August 1943 state that Italy’s Fascist government was “pressured” by Pius XII to make the Open City declaration).

    In September 1943, after the Fascist government surrendered to the Allies, National Socialist German troops occupied Rome. The Nazi usage of the Rome railyards (a look at a map of Italy will show why the Rome railyards were of strategic value given the Allied landings south of Naples just after the Fascist surrender and the Allied landings at Anzio several months later) resulted in renewed Allied bombing.

    On June 3, 1944, after the Allies finally brokeout from the Anzio beachhead and advanced on Rome, the Nazi General Kesselring withdrew Nazi forces from Rome northward and declared Rome an Open City. On the 4th of June, U.S. Army reconnaissance patrols entered Rome’s suburbs.

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    A few additional details about Rome, the Vatican, and Open Cities:

    – The November 1943 bombing in Rome: “It wasn’t until 2010 that some light was shed on the events. In his book “1943 Bombe Sul Vaticano,” Augusto Ferrara accused leading Italian Fascist politician and anti-clericalist Roberto Farinacci of orchestrating the bombing in an effort to destroy Radio Vatican on doubt [sic] that it was exchanging coded messages with the Allies. Farinacci employed one of SIAI Marchetti S.M.79 of Italian Airforce to drop bombs.”

    (Essentially, a “false flag” bombing of Vatican Radio by a Fascist aircraft during an Allied air raid on the railyards. Clever, if true.)


    – Rafaella Person’s book “The Pope’s Radio.”

    – Helen Fry’s book “MI9: A History of the Secret Service for Escape and Evasion in World War Two” for information on Vatican assistance to Allied escape and evasion efforts.

    – Mark Riebling’s book “Church of Spies: The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler”

    – Rabbi David Dalin’s book “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis”

    – The port of Naples in October 1943 from the U.S. Army Center of Military History:

    “Naples had been a key objective in the Allied plan, its capture was initially disappointing because it had been virtually destroyed. The Allies had bombed and shelled the city, but German demolition teams accounted for most of the damage. Kesselring had been explicit about protecting churches and monasteries, but nothing else was spared. Departing Germans removed or destroyed all communications, transportation, water, and power grids. They burned hotels, mined buildings, collapsed bridges and ripped out railroad tracks. Ships in the harbor were sunk, adding to those already destroyed. To the credit of the Allies, and despite intense German air raids, the port of Naples was reopened to traffic within a week of its capture. By the end of October, nearly 7,000 tons of supplies were flowing ashore daily, almost at the prewar level. However, much rebuilding remained to be done, and nearly 800,000 Neapolitans depended upon the Allies for basic survival items for many months.”

    – The Nazis, in addition to fielding the first jet fighter and first missiles (V-1, V-2), deployed the first precision-guided munition: the “Fritz X” radio-controlled bomb. This weapon, after the Italian Fascist government surrendered to the Allies in September 1943, was used by the Nazis to sink the Italian battleship Roma as it was sailing to switch to the Allied side.

    – Paris in 1944 and “Open City.”

    In August 1944, after finally breaking out from the Normandy beachhead, the Allies were approaching Paris. Meanwhile, in Warsaw, the Nazis were destroying the city to suppress the Warsaw Uprising. Hitler, infuriated by the Warsaw Uprising and having just survived an assassination attempt, gave orders to Nazi General Dietrich von Choltitz, the Military Governor of Paris, to destroy the city, including the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Louvre.

    Gen. von Choltitz, a battle-hardened commander of Panzer troops, refused Hitler’s order. He surrendered the city to the Allies and Free French resistance fighters. Hitler then attempted, unsuccessfully, to destroy Paris with bombing raids and V-2 missiles. The remarkable story of what happened in Paris during August 1944 is told in a book by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, “Is Paris Burning?”

  6. Semper Gumby says:

    The author of “The Pope’s Radio” is *Raffaella Perin*.

    As long as I’m here, no doubt others have noticed that Nazi Gens. Kesselring and von Choltitz displayed more restraint towards Catholic churches than the various militant groups active today in these United States.

  7. tho says:

    Well said Semper Gumby, those Generals were more gentle and caring than the wreckovators were, when they implemented the Spirit of VII.
    I also encourage like thinkers to offer a few prayers for the well being of our President, and Mrs. Trump.

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    tho: Perhaps, the waxing and waning of Pietas.

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