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Small gems that form a mosaic of elusive beauty.
Montecassino Abbey and the Gustav Front Line
The legacy of a millennial culture and the paths of war in the Land of St. Benedict.
The inheritance of a millenary culture and the route on the war path in the Land of S.Benedetto. The most famous monastery of Christianity, founded by Saint Benedict from Norcia in 1529, it is also one of the painful symbols of the Second World War. The Montecassino Abbey, a result of millenary donations from kings, emperors and popes, dominates the Land of S.Benedetto from above a mountain spur. It’s white walls, built upon a pagan temple, have been the witness, during the centuries, of prayers, devotion, destruction and subsequent reconstruction. Razed to the ground as a result of the bombings of the allies in February 1944, it was reconstructed following its original layout. Visiting the Abbey you can appreciate the Basilica with its large central stairway and the cloister of Bramante. Inside, you can admire the polychrome mosaics of the sixteenth-century crypt and the treasures inside the museum, the precious testimonials of the Italian artistic, cultural and religious heritage.
Close to the Abbey, the Gustav Front Line marked the German barrier on the allied advancement. It was built by a process of fortifications, taking advantage of the morphologies of a mountianous territory, cutting off Italy transversely from the Adriatic to the Tyrrhenian side at the narrowest point of the peninsula.
Well posted in their mountain fortifications, the Germans were able to oppose the advancement of the Anglo American forces coming from southern Italy. They defended the dominating position of Montecassino on the Casilina State Road, the only easy way to transit from south to north and reach Rome. They fought throughout autumn and winter in 1943-1944, succumbing only in the month of May to the valorous offensive of the Polish soldiers, making Cassino one of the most bloody theaters of the Second World War.
Today the Gustav Front Line is a fascinating excursion trail with dozens of variants that wind along moutain ridges, woods and views of great suggestions. Some of its most beautiful passages are right in the Valcomino Valley, like the one on the way that goes from Atina towards Mount Santa Croce and Mount Morrone. You can follow old military walkways, trenches and bunkers and reach positions from where you can dominate the Rapido Valley, the Valcomino Valley and the battle field itself.
Retraceing the pathway of history immersing yourself into an uncontaminated nature like a silent witness of the past.
The sight will explore every facet of beauty: the nature and its gifts, the substance molded by man.
In the Benedictine Monastery silence, reflection, prayer, spirituality, explosion of light in your soul.
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