On the way from Tuscany to Positano we stopped in the town of Cassino which is located about halfway between Rome and Naples. It was the site of a major battle in World War II with a correspondingly high loss of lives – British, German, Polish, Canadian, Australian and, of course, New Zealanders. We visited the Commonwealth wargrave cemetery located in the township.
We have done this many times before, in fact some blog readers who we have travelled with us in the past have visited this corner of Italy. The emotional effect a visit has never ceases to surprise us.
It might be the sheer size of the cemetery and the fact that a small corner is the final resting place for so many kiwis.
It might be the amount of effort that goes into maintaining the graves – a small island of peace, quiet and tranquility in the middle of a frantic nation.
It might be the fact that the cemetery sits under the view of the monastery that was the focus for the such a protracted and bitter battle.
It might be the small momentos that are left by the graves – kiwi flags, a piece of paua shell, an ANZAC poppy – none of which are removed and remain year after year.
If you pass this way, stop and see for yourself.