Napoli Underground - Urban speleology
Massa, Italy air raid shelter congress,

posted by Fulvio, Sunday October 7, 2007

Mission accomplished for Napoli Underground at the "Massa Congress for study of WWII air raid shelters!" After a 36 hour round trip totaling 1,400 kilometers, from Naples, north to Massa,Italy, a coastal community near La Spezia, and not far south of Genoa, NUg webmaster and director, Fulvio and dear NUg friend Luca are back home and delighted at the enthusiastic reception of their speech and graphic presentation by their new Northern friends.

Fulvio, Luca and friends of NUg express their genuine thanks to the city of Massa, and the FNCA (National Federation of Artificial Cavities) for being invited to participate in their study of World War II underground community air raid shelters. While other Italian communities utilized existing underground cavities as shelters from allied bombing of WWII, none had the near the extensive network of cavities and passageways beneath their cities as Naples, or the huge number of air raid shelters in almost every neighborhood of the city. After various presentations from other cities detailing their air raid shelters, Fulvio and Luca were called upon to make their audio-visual presentation about Naples. The response to their talk and fine visual presentation detailing the Naples air raid shelter system was overwhelming. Their talk and photos of the huge size and complexity of the honeycomb of cavities, and passageways that snake beneath Naples held those gathered absolutely spellbound. This was the first time for many fellow Italians to hear and see the story of Naples' fabled underground. The fellowship and person-to-person contacts between North and South has forged a new bond among historians, speleologists, and scholars interested in WWII air raid shelters and our Naples group. On the original Italian language version of this site there is a discussion forum in Italian, which I will summarize with selected a few photos below as well as a link to the whole photo gallery for those interested in seeing more of the details of the congress.

Translator's note** (Mussolini formed UNPA "L'Unione Nazionale per la Protezione Anti-Aeria", or Italy's 'National Civil Defense Department' that rushed workers in to transform deep well shafts into stair wells leading down 40-60 meters below to gigantic quarried cavities, and to fashion other entrances into underground wine cellars, tunnels and such for public use as shelters. Archive photo shows volunteer workers on a 3-wheeled cart loaded with pick axes and other tools.) **

MASSA Congress Photos:

The meeting was held one of Massa's actual old shelters.

Presentations were made with a large overhead projector.

The various shelters branched off a huge central tunnel.

Remains of transformed shelter area.

An example of WWII graffiti from shelter occupants.

Unlike Naples' tuf sandstone cavities, these shelters are Carrara Marble!

Photo Gallery: LINK


by Napoli Underground