Earth : Europe : Italy : Central Italy : Lazio : Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino is a monastery in Lazio, Italy, 130 km southeast of Rome. It is a rocky hill overlooking the town of Cassino. St. Benedict (see Subiaco) established his first monastery here. The monastery was constructed on the site of the pagan temple of Apollo and St. Benedict's first act was to smash the sculpture of Apollo and destroy the altar.
The strategic position of the monastery has always made it a target for attack. Most recently, the Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four battles during World War II, fought by the Allies with the intention of breaking through the German lines and taking Rome. On 15 February the monastery was destroyed by 1,400 tons of bombs dropped by American bombers, in the belief that the abbey was being used as a lookout post by the Germans.This was not, in fact, the case but two days after the bombing, German paratroopers occupied the ruins. The defences were then assaulted four times by Allied troops before the Germans were driven out
Cassino is on the Rome to Naples railway line.
The town and abbey can also be reached by the A1 tollway (Autostrada) between Rome and Naples, exiting at Cassino.
There are very infrequent buses from the station to the monastery. Taxis are available.