The site and the buiding
Via Tasso is a street of the Esquilino district, short distance from the popular square S. Giovanni in Laterano and the equally famous Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. It is included in a large insula consisting of buildings of habitation and religious institutions made in the last two decades of the nineteenth century: the vast urban space was previously occupied by the Villa Massimo, which - entrusted to the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land - remain the building (with frescoed rooms by Nazarenes painters) and the garden, closed to the east by a semicircular wall whose foundations are built on an underlying roman rest.
At the end of the thirties of the twentieth century, on the strip of land between that wall, the perpendicular Via Berni and the sports field of the Saint Mary's College, was built, in the prevailing style of the time, a building with four floors plus an attic floor, with the inner façade which followed the curvature of the wall, from which it was separated by a narrow and dark courtyard.
Building’s owner was Francesco Ruspoli, belonging to an aristocratic and wealthy roman family, who had rented the entire building to the German Embassy in Rome, at that time settled at Villa Wolkonskj (today British ambassador's residence), in Via Conte Rosso. In the building of Via Tasso were hosted cultural offices of the diplomatic representation and, among them, the liaison office between the German and the Italian political police was installed there and was entrusted to the SS major Herbert Kappler.