Their name livith for evermore- Cassino, Italy

Paloma, our European travelling motorhome has checked herself into the free sosta just outside Cassino in Italy (N41.482686 E13.821731), nestled in the lush green hill side our home for the day offers beautiful views out across the mountains and is home to the Cassino Commonwealth War Graves. 

Is it a weird feeling to actually want to visit these sites and spend time there ? 

heart of Cassino War Cemetery, the Cassino Memorial
Yes, of course you go there to pay your respects but they’re also such peaceful, immensely moving spaces to wander around, to take stock and bring a few things into perspective. 

Where once there was so much atrocity, there’s now serenity.

The liberation of Italy had ground to a halt in a bloodbath at Monte Cassino, 80 miles south of Rome – the key point on the Germans’ winter defensive Gustav line. 

The Battle of Montecassino was a series of four assaults by the allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by the Germans.

The intention was to get Rome. The German defenders were finally driven from their position, but it took so long from 17 January to 18 May 1944

There are now 4,266 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated at Cassino War Cemetery. 

War graves at Monte Cassino, Italy
284 of the burials are unidentified. 

Unknown Grave Monte Cassino, Italy
The graves of the unknown soldiers are scattered amongst those graves with names, dates, short family descriptions.

Jewish serviceman grave in Monte Cassino, Italy
 Dissecting the simple, plain white graves of individual servicemen is the heart of Cassino War Cemetery, the Cassino Memorial,which commemorates over 4,000 Commonwealth servicemen who took part in the Italian campaign and whose graves are not known. 

heart of Cassino War Cemetery, the Cassino Memorial
From the Cassino War Cemetery, you can see Monte Cassino itself, with the rebuilt Monastery of St. Benedict watching over the town and the valleys below. 

Wherever you are in Cassino  the monastery is visible. 

It doesn’t take an expert to see just one of the reasons why there was such loss of life during the Battle. 

The Germans held the high grounds. The Allied troops were attacking from below in particularly harsh winter weather…

Leaving behind the peace of war grave we headed into the busy little town, full of shops and cafe bars.

Town centre Tank in Monte Cassino, Italy
One legged soldier in Italy
selecting what we hoped would be a good place for a beer or two we decided on Caffe Reale ….

Inside Caffe Royale Monte Cassino, Italy
With its dark wood panels and low lighting it offered a step back in time feel and the snack that came with the drinks was out of this world ! 

Italian bar snack heaven
I guess when we return to England, I will miss the European bar snacks, that just appear when you order a beer …..

Paul. 

2 comments

  1. Great reading your blog, we are at Spartacus now having been at Cassino on Wednesday night. We stayed at the MH parking at the Abbey and were first in on Thursday morning, amazing place. Also visited the Allied and Polish war cemetery’s and had the same thoughts as you. Going into Pompei today and also found your Naples and Sorrento blog useful. We plan the same! Many Thanks, Colin

    1. Hi Colin,
      Glad you like the blog …..
      The train to Naples and Sorrento isn’t the most up to date, but it works, and very cheap as either way worked out at less than €10return for the both of !
      We head off towards Rome next,
      Enjoy and safe Travels
      Paul.

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