Home » Five Lesser-known World War II Sites to Visit in Italy

Five Lesser-known World War II Sites to Visit in Italy

by Cedric

History is always mesmerizing. We read about it in our school books. However, experiencing a war site is a whole new level of feeling and understanding history and how the world was shaped after WW II. So, let’s take a deeper look at some of the sites in Italy that are famous for WWII.

Basilica of San Lorenzo outside the Walls

World War II did not come without bombing and chaos. In 1943, around July to August, allied forces fought against the Germans in Sicily. The allied forces were constantly striking against the German force, and therefore, they damaged multiple factories and aimed to bombard and attack all enemy communication lines in Italy. But none of these came without casualties. Although the forces did not intend to attack civilians, they were seen as collateral damage and unintended targets of the bomb attacks.

Let’s say Italy during World War 2 was not as peaceful as it seems today. An example of striking the civilians was that Allies aimed to target Rome’s central rail yards. These were incredibly close to the Basilica of San Lorenzo and a cemetery. When the Allies attacked, the church and cemetery were damaged, along with the rail yards. Not only that, there were multiple injuries and casualties in the surrounding area.

  • There are memorials to this event within Basilica;
  • There is a mosaic that has replaced the original one that was destroyed;
  • It contains Latin inscriptions about the tragedy, too. One of these inscriptions beautifully translates to “Give us peace in our time”;
  • All these bombings in Rome led to the ultimate decision to imprison Mussolini;
  • After six to seven weeks of the event, Italian forces withdrew their alliance with the Germans and surrendered.

You can buy already written essays about these historical events to help you out with classes and assignments if you find the information too overwhelming.

Museum of the Landing in Sicily

Have you ever heard about Operation Husky? Well, if you haven’t, it is the perfect opportunity to learn more about it. It was the code name for the Invasion of Sicily. The opposition wanted to invade and enter the island to easily make it to the mainlands.

There are many World War 2 battle sites in Italy, but this one is quite an action-packed one. The US Seventh and British Eighth, a common way to refer to army battalions, were sent to the island. If we want to know about the size of the attack, then it can be compared to the invasion of Normandy. Another information is that they were transported around several hundred miles of shoreline and eastern Sicily.

The event allowed future generations to view the exhibits and films within the museum. All these had a meaning: they told the current generations about the landing events and the battles that had taken place after it. It also spoke about the casualties that had taken place in that area. Italy World War II is something that you should read about because there is so much to it, and it is all quite fascinating!

Civitella in Val di Chiana: Memorials to a Massacre

While the German armies retreated to the north, the allied forces quickly liberated Rome in 1944. But that isn’t all there is to this event; the German forces faced strong attacks when retreating from the Italian Resistance. And guess why it had grown so much? Well, it was because of the release of Mussolini, of course!

We are sure you feel that it is a memorable WWII landing site in Italy, and it sure is, but the irony is that the country is full of such sites. So, how does Civitella become a site? Two partisans were quick to kill two German soldiers and injure the third one in a Civitella club around Arezzo without any surprise. Following this incident, the fear of life struck many residents, and they decided to move out of the area to avoid the same fate as the three soldiers.

After some time when nothing happened, the residents returned, thinking the danger was over. But sadly, there was more chaos to occur. German soldiers were back in 1944, on the 24th of June. All the men in the city over the age of 15 were killed mercilessly as a sign of revenge. World War II Italy sure was bloody and messy!

Saint Paul’s Gate

The next turn of events occurred when Italians had surrendered to the allies. They were now pursuing to prevent German forces from taking over their lands. They did not have much success. Italy in WWII was an uncertain place. At Saint Paul’s  Gate, Italian soldiers and civilians came together and always fought to keep German troops from entering Rome.

Italian men, women, and young boys would gather on rooftops and shoot at the German soldiers that flooded the streets. They kept resisting for as long as they could with strength and much courage. The clash was always deadly, and the German soldiers soon realized they needed to arm themselves. So, they came fully armed and fought against the Italians, who finally lost their stance, and many of them even lost their lives in the process. World War 2 in Italy showed that the Italians were capable individuals who never lost hope and tried their best to fight against oppression.

Rasella Street and the Ardeatine Graves

Rasella Street became pretty popular during Italy’s events in World War II. It so happened that certain members of the Italian resistance bombed the German soldiers in the street on the 23rd of March, 1944.

The assault did not take place without a plan. Two partisans worked day and night to manufacture and attach a fuse to the bomb in a basement. Finally, they smartly put it in a trash cart, and a third partisan made sure the carriage entered the street by going into the Renaissance Palace called Palazzo Tittoni.

When German troops started marching up the street, one person lit the fuse and rushed away from it. The bomb exploded with vigor and killed at least 25 people in less than a minute. The remaining troops were shot, and the damage can still be seen on the buildings.

We are sure that you now understand why these sites are so commemorated and celebrated by the Italians. History is indeed something that we all must focus on. After all, it tells us a lot about the time before us. So, make sure you visit these sites related to the world conflict soon.

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