We spend a day on the footsteps of the American GIs liberating Rome on spring 1943.
After the huge effort in landing in Sicily first, then Salerno, and after the nightmare of Monte Cassino, Americans and their allies landed in Anzio, a small port city 50 km south of Rome.
We drive to the port and the beach which were the first beachhead of the more than 70,000 Allied. The landing of a great quantity of vehicles and artillery did not bring any result, due to the hesitation of the American General Lucas. His prudence gave time to the Germans to rearrange the defense of the southern coastline of Rome.
In the small square in the centre of this now elegant city we find the statue of Angelita. The legend says that the America soldiers found this 13 years old girl, weeping among the ruins of the bombarded port. The soldiers “adopted” the girl, feeding her and helping to find his family.
It is time to visit the Museum of the Landing in Anzio. A private-run small museum, packed with uniforms, weapons, helmets, maps, Italian and American newspapers of the time, photos of veterans who came back to this place. The owner Terenzio, always happy to show his findings, has collected memorabilia since he was a boy witnessing the landing. We watch also some video of the first days of the landing.
It is time to relax and we eat in one of the many small and nice restaurant along the beach, before driving to the close village of Nettuno.
Here, we visit the largest war cemetery in Central Italy. Some 7,800 Americans rest here, after having
Been killed in action in the battle fields of Salerno, Cassino, Anzio, and Rome.
It is an oasis of peace and sadness, hearing the sound of “Taps” on closing time.
We leave Rome at 9 am to reach Anzio. We leave Nettuno at 5 pm to be back by 6 pm.