Can we speak of a monument when it was built from scratch, from ruins? When we talk about the monastery on Monte Cassino Hill, no one doubts that it is an object of great historical and cultural importance, despite the fact that it was reborn in the 20th century.
During your vacation in the Eternal City, it is worth devoting one day to a trip to Monte Cassino, to the hill where a battle of great importance for Poles took place. After the bloody events of 1944, the cemetery where the soldiers of General Anders' group are buried, remained. For the rest of the world, Monte Cassino is home to Europe's most important Benedictine Abbey. It is also the place where "Ora et labora", or "Pray and work" - the rule of religious life, comes from.
It is easy to get to from Rome by train - it leaves from Termini station every hour and the journey takes around 2 hours. Motorized tourists will be the fastest to reach their destination via the North-South toll motorway.
View from the top of the hill
The monastery can be reached by city bus. The route leading to the abbey goes on a steep slope, and behind the windows of the vehicle there is a beautiful panorama of the Liri River Valley. Motorists may leave their car in the parking lot after entering the abbey. It is located at the Polish War Cemetery and is payable (as are the toilets).
Regardless of whether we are heading to the top of the mountain behind the wheel of our own vehicle or as bus passengers, we will surely see the Italians' bravado on the road . Many people, instead of admiring the views, will cling to their seats and counting down the minutes to the end of the route.
A victim of barbarism
The monastery that we can see today was built of rubble, transformed by Allied bombing. The act of destruction was captured on a tape that went around the world, serving as proof of "the peak of stupidity and barbarism" and of "an act of pure stupidity." As a result of dropping over a thousand bombs , the monastery founded in 529 was ruined. It was completely destroyed.
You can visit it from 8.00 am, but remember to take a siesta break - it lasts from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm. It is also important to take water with you (preferably a large bottle) and be aware of the variability of the aura in the mountains. Another important thing are footwear (comfortable, with a hard sole) and clothing. Women must have their shoulders and knees covered or they will not be allowed to enter the monastery.
To the Polish tourist
The Polish War Cemetery is a very important place for people visiting the hill. Over 1,000 soldiers from the 2nd Polish Corps were buried there. Tours coming here pay tribute to the dead with a minute of silence, lay flowers and light candles. The tragic event is recalled by a granite slab with the inscription "Passer-by, tell Poland that we have fallen faithful in its service."
In the Battle of Monte Cassino Museum located in Cassino, you can watch a series of short historical films from the skirmishes period and see a multimedia presentation.
Mineral and willow waters
After descending the hill, you can go to Villa Comunale, the main city park, or to Baden Powell Park, the second largest Cassino Park. Numerous cafes are located in its vicinity. One more place is noteworthy, called Varronian Thermal Baths . It is a beautiful area near the city where you can relax among the green of weeping willows. In the past, there was a villa of Marcus Terentius Varro, considered one of the best educated people of ancient Rome. The waters in the local springs bring relief to people suffering from gout (artetism), kidney stones and other urinary tract diseases.
The Cassino area is quiet and very green. It is really worth taking a short break from your holiday in loud and crowded Rome to come here for a few hours and calm down.
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