Cassino is a historic commune in Italy 's Lazio region. Its strategic location between Rome and Naples caused the city a lot of grief during WWII, when it was completely totaled. But the same location also brings the city busloads of tourists these days. They come to see the famed Abbey of Monte Cassino that overlooks the city. The Abbey is no doubt a major tourist attraction with a storied past that dates back to 529 AD. But what gives it star appeal is the bloody WWII battle that took place for control of the Abbey. The war cemetery is a serene place that masks the brutality of the Battle of Monte Cassino which snuffed out 75,000 lives. If you are here as a tourist, make the most of the opportunity by getting a car for hire in Cassino to see all the attractions.
If you get a car for rent in Cassino, you can be at the Abbey in less than 15 minutes after some weaving and winding on the Via Montecassino. The Monte Cassino Abbey was founded in 529 AD on the site of a Roman era Temple of Apollo. The Abbey's entrance cloister is exactly on the site of the original temple. It has since been destroyed and rebuilt in 577, 833, 1349, and again in 1944, when American bombers flattened the Abbey. The Basilica entrance has bronze doors, one of which is from the 11th century. Inside the Basilica, you will find a wealth of art. The crypt below is part of the mountain and has beautiful mosaics. The Abbey Museum likewise has art and artifacts that span the centuries from the Roman era to the Abbey's 6th century origins and down to its destruction during WWII.
The main point of interest on this tour is the Cassino War Cemetery, which can be found near the autostrada A1 exit where it meets the road into Cassino. The cemetery has the graves of 4,271 Commonwealth servicemen. The Cassino Memorial inside the cemetery commemorates the servicemen who did not get a final resting place in the cemetery. The French and Italian war graves are in other cemeteries on Highway 6, while the German war cemetery is in the Rapido Valley north of Cassino.
Roman era ruins and dig sites are the third star attraction in Cassino. If you visited the Abbey Museum, you will have seen the remnants of a Roman villa, with columns and what remains of a well from the 2nd century. The National Archeological Museum of Cassino is located within the site of the Roman town.
Your daytrip options are a visit to Rome or Naples on the A1, depending on where you are coming from and where you plan to go afterwards. If you book your car rental in Cassino and hit the Autostrada A1 towards Rome, you can stop along the way at Frosinone and Anagni. If you prefer Naples, you might want to stop at Caserta.
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