Italy Vacation 2003
Day 10, Tuesday, Oct. 14th

Today we leave the southern part of Italy and head up into central Italy and the town that St. Francis made famous -- Assisi. The route takes us back up the A1 towards Rome. On the way, we stop at the Commonwealth War cemetery at Cassino. After leaving here we stopped for lunch and then arrived in Assisi around mid-afternoon and saw the sights until early evening, then to the hotel, dinner, some relaxation and bed.

It takes two maps to show today's journey. This is because the map used has to be turned over just north of Rome so here is the southern half of today's journey including Cassino.

As you can see we follow the same Autostrada that we went south from Rome on heading back up. The itinerary for this trip indicates that the stop in Cassino is on the way south on day 4 but I think it worked better here.

The reason for stopping in Cassino is to visit the Commonwealth War Cemetery. This is where one of the most infamous battles of W.W.2 took place. It was the fight for the monastery of Monte Cassino in the mountains above that claimed many thousands of lives. Many of those (from Commonwealth countries) are buried here. All that needs to be said is that those that died here, really died due to very poor intelligence on what was happening at the monastery. It wasn't being used for what the allies thought and was bombed and assaulted many times. As you will see in the pictures, the monastery was not an easy place to get to. The monastery was mostly destroyed. Sometime later, it was discovered how faulty their information was and the Americans (mainly, but with help from other countries) rebuilt the monastery from original drawings. There is an American cemetery closer to the coast with many more graves in it. A Commonwealth commission now looks after it and as you will see, does an excellent job of maintaining the Cemetery. Here are some pictures.

The Cemetery covers a large area.
The rebuilt monastery above the Cemetery.
A closer view of the rebuilt monastery. Waves of solders attacked up the mountain only to be gunned down by German machine guns.
The inscription on the monument reads, "Their name liveth for evermore".
These columns list the names of people who died who are buried here in this Cemetery and other Commonwealth soldiers who are not.
A view looking back towards the entrance.

We spent a brief time here and then headed on towards Assisi. As we passed Rome, we were able to see it in the distance off to our left. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to get a picture. We stopped for lunch just north of Rome. Here is the second half of the map showing the route from just south of Rome to Assisi.

Our first stop upon arriving in the Assisi area was at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels. This church was built to commemorate the site where St Francis died. No pictures were allowed so the best I've got is the outside. We then when up the hillside of Mt. Subasio to Assisi itself. Here's what we saw...

The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels.
After the long drive from Sorrento, we stopped at a gelato (ice cream) shop behind the basilica.
The best known place in Assisi. The Basilica di San Francesco. It consists of two churches; an upper (this one) and a lower. Our group after touring the churches. No pictures were allowed inside. Inside was dark, quiet and covered in the famous frescoes by Giotto and others.
The courtyard and town of Assisi from the front of the upper church. The entrance to the lower church (the large arch) and the front of the upper church from below. The next picture was taken from a spot just to the right of the top of the arch.

This two-image panorama gives you some sense of the view from the front of the upper church.

The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels from the Basilica di San Francesco.
A typical street corner in Assisi.
The Basilica di San Francesco from below.
A city gate.

We headed to our hotel in Assisi shortly after 6:00 P.M., had dinner and went to bed. After all, we have been traveling for some 10 hours today. Tomorrow: Venice!!!!

On to Day 11 and Venice!

Originally Created: January 29th, 2004.
Final Edit: February 18, 2004 11:55 AM