Since its early years the fascist dictatorship exalted the strategies conceived by Giulio Douhet, which envisaged the destruction of enemy capitals by surprise aerial bombings, but at the beginning of World War II Italy lacked the great number of airplanes required for waging an effective air war. The Italian cities suffered increasingly heavy bombardments without any significant reaction or retaliation from the Royal aeronautic forces. Only the most famous cities of arts were spared by the English and, later, American raids. The Vatican diplomacy was decisive for the safeguard of Rome, a city sacred to Catholicism but also the seat of all the political and military machineries of the fascist regime. The repeated bombings of the industrial cities in the North and of the port cities in the South made absurd to the eyes of the Italians the immunity granted to the capital and a growing number of them would expect a major attack against it, in the hope this might put an end to the war. The first bombardment of Rome, a prelude to the arrest of Mussolini, was thus welcomed by quite a few Italians.
Keywords: Rome capital of Italy, World War II, bombarded cities, aerial bombings, psychological war, Vatican diplomacy during the war