Bombing Rome, the “Eternal City” and capitol of Catholicism, was a controversial WWII act for many Americans. Although both Allied and Axis bombers made an effort to avoid attacking the Vatican, Vatican City was bombed once by the British and once by the Germans.

In July 1943, despite Pope Pius XII plea to have Rome declared an open city, 500 American bombers dropped 1,168 tons of bombs in the first air raid on the city. With few military targets, ~3,000 Italian civilians were killed in the raids over five residential/railway districts. In 110,000 subsequent sorties over Rome, 600 Allied aircraft were lost and 3,600 air crew members died.

From 1940-45, ~60,00 Italian civilians died in Allied air raids.