Anzio and Etna

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My wonderful Italian cousins are always finding different day trips for us to enjoy when I visit them. On a trip to Italy in August ’12, we visited two very different places.

One was Anzio, site of the famous WWII battle about 56 miles southwest of Rome. From Stazione Termini in Rome, the train ride took about an hour. 

Right outside the Anzio train station was a beautiful fountain of Neptune. Surrounded by palm trees, I found it difficult to imagine this beautiful, serene seaside resort besieged by war.

We visited the American Cemetery, where fallen soldiers from battles in both Anzio and Sicily are buried. The grounds are well kept and really beautiful. The white crosses and Stars of David are perfectly aligned, as if standing at attention. 

The markers each carry the name, date and home state of the soldier. I could not help but wonder how many of these brave boys had never left their hometowns for an overseas vacation, yet here they lay, having given their all.

At a large pavilion that shows maps and details of the battles, the names of the soldiers are inscribed on the wall. Seeing the American flag flying was very emotional for me. My uncle had been at Anzio but lived to tell about it.

On a different note, I spent a day in Catania, Sicily, hiking Mt. Etna with my cousins and their friends. We did not take the “tourist hike” with buses. Instead, we drove up and hiked a trail known as “the donkey’s back” (Schiena dell’Asino). 

The day was hot and dry. Every so often we would hear a loud boom and look up to see a gray cloud spewing from the top of the mountain. It was as if the volcano were greeting us. 

The enormity of the crater is just awe inspiring. As one of the group said, during an eruption it must have looked just like hell. We had a picnic lunch at the summit. From up there, you can see the Strait of Messina and across to Calabria. 

Hiking back down, we viewed smaller craters at the base and saw hills that looked like enormous sand dunes. In the area where buses and cars were parked, there were souvenir shops and refreshment areas. You had to pay to use the bathrooms. 

At the end of the day, we were all covered in dust, and we didn’t notice how sunburned we were until we looked in the bathroom mirrors.

On the drive back, we stopped at several cafés for gelato and pistachio cookies, just two of the many wonderful Sicilian specialties. 

Italy is a really beautiful country that I always enjoy visiting. There is always something new to see and experience.

MARIA C. CIANCIO

Ossining, NY

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

My wonderful Italian cousins are always finding different day trips for us to enjoy when I visit them. On a trip to Italy in August ’12, we visited two very different places.

One was Anzio, site of the famous WWII battle about 56 miles southwest of Rome. From Stazione Termini in Rome, the train ride took about an hour. 

Right outside the Anzio train station was a beautiful fountain of Neptune. Surrounded by palm trees, I found it difficult to imagine this beautiful, serene seaside resort besieged by war.

We visited the American Cemetery, where fallen soldiers from battles in both Anzio and Sicily are buried. The grounds are well kept and really beautiful. The white crosses and Stars of David are perfectly aligned, as if standing at attention. 

The markers each carry the name, date and home state of the soldier. I could not help but wonder how many of these brave boys had never left their hometowns for an overseas vacation, yet here they lay, having given their all.

At a large pavilion that shows maps and details of the battles, the names of the soldiers are inscribed on the wall. Seeing the American flag flying was very emotional for me. My uncle had been at Anzio but lived to tell about it.

On a different note, I spent a day in Catania, Sicily, hiking Mt. Etna with my cousins and their friends. We did not take the “tourist hike” with buses. Instead, we drove up and hiked a trail known as “the donkey’s back” (Schiena dell’Asino). 

The day was hot and dry. Every so often we would hear a loud boom and look up to see a gray cloud spewing from the top of the mountain. It was as if the volcano were greeting us. 

The enormity of the crater is just awe inspiring. As one of the group said, during an eruption it must have looked just like hell. We had a picnic lunch at the summit. From up there, you can see the Strait of Messina and across to Calabria. 

Hiking back down, we viewed smaller craters at the base and saw hills that looked like enormous sand dunes. In the area where buses and cars were parked, there were souvenir shops and refreshment areas. You had to pay to use the bathrooms. 

At the end of the day, we were all covered in dust, and we didn’t notice how sunburned we were until we looked in the bathroom mirrors.

On the drive back, we stopped at several cafés for gelato and pistachio cookies, just two of the many wonderful Sicilian specialties. 

Italy is a really beautiful country that I always enjoy visiting. There is always something new to see and experience.

MARIA C. CIANCIO

Ossining, NY