From Gargana, we decided to drive across Italy and then up the Mediterranean side of the peninsula toward the hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria. Along the way, we ended up spending the night in the shadow of Monte Cassino, home of a famous 6th century Abbey, as well as the scene of a ferocious and hard-fought battle in the Second World War. Unfortunately, the Abby was destroyed by allied bombs during the war, under the mistaken belief that the Germans were using it for artillery spotting. It was rebuilt after the war.
We hadn’t planned to stay in Cassino, but I’m glad we were able to pass through. Although we didn’t visit the Abbey itself, we had a good night in the camper van with some pasta dinner and a documentary about the WWII battle that we streamed over the campground‘s wifi.
In the morning, we visited the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Cassino. Every time we have visited a Commonwealth Cemetery it has been a moving experience.
Here are a few pictures from this leg of our trip.
The highway somewhere between Foggia and Campobasso.
Yes, this place is pretty.
Sunflowers growing by the highway near Campobasso. You can see a hill town in the distance.
Sunflowers growing by the highway near Campobasso.
Somewhere on the highway between Foggia and Campobasso.
Finally, we arrived in Monte Cassino. We hadn’t actually planned to stop here, but I was tired and also knew a thing or two about the Second World War battle here, so we thought it would make a good stopping place for the night. We found a “campground” in Google, which turned out to be a private property, with a few parking stalls in a shared green space for campers. But it was actually very nice, with all kinds of amenities, including wifi.
The next day we visited the Commonwealth War Cemetery here, which had a sizeable Canadian section. Thousands lost their lives fighting over this strategic choke point in the road to Rome. There are also American, Polish, and German war cemeteries around Cassino.
The abbey is on the mountain above the town of Cassino.