I started the day sharing breakfast with some local wildlife.

The day’s walking started with quite a long stretch on asphalt which is hard on the feet and I’d just yesterday got my first blisters.

As a result of Italy’s geology, there are many springs with pure and cool water. At the ones which have been turned into fountains , you often see people filling up dozens of bottles.

This fountain must be good as there a limit of three bottles when there’s a queue.

There was little traffic on the road.

The road was constantly climbing with expansive views across the Liri valley opening up. Eventually the asphalt gave way to gravel.

Another big solar farm on a mountainside

You often see these green lizards in Italy but they’re hard to photograph as they have quick reactions and quickly dissapear.

The view

Eventually I caught my first distant view of the abbey.

After many twists and turns, a craft brewery in the middle of nowhere hove into sight and naturally I was drawn inside. There are records of beer production at the abbey itself going back to the 6th century.

The Cammino arrives at the back of the abbey where there is also located a Polish war cemetery.

The Polish war cemetery at Montecassino.

Early in 1944, the allies were mistakenly convinced that the Germans were using the abbey and decided to destroy it. German paratroopers then dropped in to occupy the rubble.

The National WWII Museum, 2010.324.234.
Montecassino in 1944.

After a number of costly battles, the allies finally took the position and Polish forces were the first to enter.

On my arrival and a quick check of my credenziale. I was given my testimonium or certificate of completion.

My credenziale.
My testimonium.

After the war, the abbey was reconstructed

Saint Benedict founded the abbey himself in around 529. He lived out his years at Montecassino and wrote his Rules here. He died in 547. Both Benedict and his twin sister Scolastica, founder of the Benedictine nuns, are buried in the crypt.

The crypt.

Montecassino is very high above Cassini and it took quite a while to climb down to the railway station.

Cassino from the abbey.

Part of the pathway down from the mountain uses an original Roman road .

The abbey viewed from the town below.
I saw a sign for the southern part of the Via Francigena that leads down to Brindisi. Now there’s an idea for another walk!