The place is associated with the years under Nazi occupation, and commemorates the massacre by the SS as retaliation for the Partisan attack in Via Rasella when thirty-two German soldiers were killed. On the evening of March the 24th, 1944, three hundred and thirty-five people were rounded up from the city’s prisons – among them, seventy-five Jews – and taken to Via Ardeatina, where they were slaughtered. The underground passages were then blown up to conceal traces of the massacre and the bodies were retrieved only after the war.
In the large area at the centre of the quarry stands the sculpture I Martiri (“The Martyrs”) by Francesco Coccia, made to commemorate the victims, represented by the figures of an artisan, an intellectual and a teenager, bound by the wrists (1950). An opening in the quarry wall leads to the route around the tunnels, and then to the Memorial built in 1949: it is a large tombstone, a vast cement slab held up by six pillars which covers the graves, all identical and in rows.
Image attribution: antmoose, CC BY 2.0