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The Bombing of San Lorenzo

In response to:

The Crass, Beautiful Eternal City from the December 22, 2011 issue

To the Editors:

Ingrid D. Rowland writes in her review of Robert Hughes’s book Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History [NYR, December 22, 2011] that “only a few bombs fell on Rome during World War II, enough to destroy the ancient basilica of San Lorenzo.” Try telling that to the people of the neighborhood of San Lorenzo (with its strong antifascist traditions). On July 19, 1943, Allied bombs rained down on Rome for three hours. San Lorenzo lost something like 1,500 of its residents that day. Many apartment buildings were flattened. A monument in the local park carries the names of the dead.

John Foot
Department of Italian
University College London
London, UK

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