192 – 2014 Gathering of the “We Love Atina” Group – Visit to Montecassino Abbey and The Commonwealth War Cemetery

We took some of the group to Montecassino Abbey, which is just a short drive away from Atina.  Mary Gilmour, Gina Polard and her father Enrico Battaglia had not had the opportunity to visit the abbey before.

Montecassino Abbey Frosinone Italy

Saint Benedict of Norcia founded the ancient Monastery of Montecassino in 529 AD and the order of  the Benedictines.  The Abbey was built on the ancient ruins of a Roman fortification, and became renowned through the ages as a place of great holiness, culture and art.

During World War II Cassino was a stronghold of the German Gustav line and the abbey was almost completely destroyed by the Allied forces who carpet bombed Cassino and the Abbey, the decimation of this holy bastion gave rise to a massive public outcry. After the war the Abbey was eventually rebuilt according to its original design, and brought back to its former glory.

Montecassino Abbey Frosinone Italy

Entrance of Montecassino Abbey Frosinone Italy

As you enter the Abbey you first come to a peaceful cloister, and standing in the centre of the garden is a bronze statue depicting Saint Benedict as he is dying, being comforted and supported by two of his Benedictine brothers.

Cloister Saint Benedict and Benedictine Brothers Montecassino Abbey Italy

Saint Benedict or San Benedetto Cloister Montecassino Abbey Italy

Dove of Peace Montecassino Abbey Italy

In the cloister is a beautiful and colourful mosaic.

Mosaic Montecassino Abbey Frosinone Italy

This leads on to the Bramante Cloister.

In the centre there is an octagonal well.

Bramante Cloister and well Montecassino Abbey Frosinone Italy

Well in Bramante Cloister Montecassino Abbey Italy

Gina and her father Enrico

Well in Bramante Cloister Montecassino Abbey Italy

Gina and her father Enrico

Well in Bramante Cloister Montecassino Abbey Italy

Mary

From the balcony on the lower section there is a stunning panoramic view of the Liri Valley.  Vineyard of Montecassino Abbey Frosinone Italy

The Monastery’s vineyard

Vineyards of Abbey of Montecassino Italy

View from Montecassino Abbey Italy

Enrico admiring the view

Steps lead up to a higher cloistered area and the facade of the grand Basilica, which has three bronze doors.

Basilica of Montecassino Abbey Italy

As we entered the Abbey the monks were singing verpers.

The inside of the Basilica is incredibly ornate and lavishly decorated.

Abbey of Montecassino Interior

Altar of Abbey of Montecassino Frosinone Italy

There are wonderful examples of colourful intricate inlaid marble work.

Chapel in Montecassino Abbey with inlaid marble

Chapel in Abbey of Montecassino with inlaid marble

Bramante Cloister Montecassino Abbey Italy

Another Cloister with a fountain.

Cloister with Fountain at Montecassino Abbey Italy

Montecassino Abbey Italy

Mary larking about !!!

Montecassino Abbey Italy

Enrico Battalglia

More than 30,000 soldiers lost their lives at Cassino and many are buried in the relevant British, French, Polish, German and Italian Military Cemeteries.  The Polish Cemetery is positioned on a hillside overlooking the Abbey, a footpath leads down to the entrance which is guarded by two stone eagles.  1,052 Polish soldiers are interred here, each grave is marked by a cross and the graves are laid out on a terraced area. Above the terrace is a hedge, clipped and shaped to form a hollow cross. An inscription, which translated from Polish reads:

We Polish soldiers for our freedom and yours

Have given our souls to God

Our bodies to the soil of Italy

And our hearts to Poland”.

Polish cemetery Montecassino Abbey Italy

You can read  more about Montecassino and Cassino here at my website:

http://cassino.shapcott-family.com

We then headed for the British Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Cassino, here the individual gravestones stand upright in the landscaped grounds which are meticulously tended in memory of the fallen soldiers.  Here in this tranquil sanctuary more than 4,200 brave young Commonwealth servicemen now slumber in eternal peace, overlooked by the abbey from aloft.

British Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery Cassino Italy

Graves at British Commonwealth Cemetery Cassino Frosinone Italy

I always feel so sad and emotional when I visit these cemeteries. We have another such cemetery not far from here, in Minturno with contains yet another 2,049 Commonwealth graves.  So many fine young lives lost – and what for I ask? Paul, my husband, said to me – “Imagine seeing instead of gravestones all these soldiers standing up proud in their uniforms, ready to defend their country / commonwealth. How splendid they would have looked.” We must never forget that each one was a wonderful person, courageous, loving, with a family behind them, who would miss them forever.  The same applies to all British soldiers who fought for their country so bravely in wars across the world  but didn’t make it back home.  We must also remember all those injured and maimed.

British Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery Cassino Frosinone Italy

British Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery Cassino Frosinone Italy

Cross Memorial British Commonwealth War Graves Cassino Italy

Memorial British Commonwealth War Graves Cassino Italy

Poppies Memorial British Commonwealth War Graves Cassino Italy

Memorial British Commonwealth War Graves Cassino Italy

May they rest in peace but remain in our hearts and prayers.

Sunset at Memorial Cross of British Commonwealth War Graves Cassino Italy

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

From Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen, written in September 1914

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

My Atina Website:  http://atinaitaly.com

#montecassino #abbey #cassino #wargraves #british #warmemorial #italy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TCTitle

Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s