In a peaceful setting in the Chianti hills south of Florence , the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial has 4,393 graves of Americans killed in action in northern Italy during World War II. The majority of these casualties occurred between June of 1944 and May of 1945 during the Northern Italian offensive, the final campaign to drive the Germans out of Italy.
Above the graves, a memorial with the Tablets of the Missing lists 1409 names of soldiers missing in action, some of which have since been recovered. To the left is a chapel with a mosaic work representing Remembrance standing on a cloud, looking at a field of headstones and holding lilies of Resurrection. On the right side a display of maps depicts American operations during World War II. A large sculpture dominating the cemetery shows the American Eagle beside the Spirit of Peace bearing olive branches.
How to Visit the Florence or Sicily-Rome American Cemetery
Hours: Daily 9AM-5PM except December 25 and January 1. The visitor center is staffed during these hours to provide information, answer questions, or escort relatives to grave sites. Admission is free.
Memorial Day Celebration: The American cemeteries hold a special commemorative ceremony on US Memorial Day. (see events on the web sites listed below).
Florence American Cemetery Location: Via Cassia S.N., Tavarnuzze, about 7.5 miles south of Florence near Impruneta. From the A1 autostrada, take the Firenze-Impruneta exit from the A-1 Autostrada and drive south about 2 miles. From Florence’s bus terminal on Via Santa Caterina da Siena, near the main train station, take a Firenze-Poggibonsi or Firenze-Gaiole in Chianti bus and tell the driver you want to get off at the cemetery.
Sicily-Rome American Cemetery Location: Piazzale Kennedy 1, Nettuno, about 38 miles south of Rome near Anzio. The cemetery is on the north edge of Nettuno. From the train station it’s about a 10 minute walk (see web site below for directions). By car, take Highway 178 to the Campoverde/Nettuno exit.
- See Florence American Cemetery on the American Battle Monuments Commission site for more information and photos or to search for specific graves.
- The Sicily-Rome American Cemetery holds graves of 7,858 Americans, primarily killed in battles in Sicily, the Salerno area, and Anzio.
World War II Sites in Italy
World War II sites are found throughout Italy, including battlefields, museums, cemeteries, and monuments. Probably the most well-known site from World War II is Monte Cassino Abbey, the site of one of the war’s most important battles. Several villages where atrocities, such as massacres of civilians, took place are haunting memorials to their memory. One example is Sant Anna di Stazemma in northern Tuscany where more than 500 men, women, and children were slaughtered by the Germans on August 12, 1944.
Almost every city and town has a war memorial to its fallen soldiers. But there are many other places you probably don’t know and wouldn’t find on your own. To find World War II sites and plan your visits, I highly recommend this comprehensive guide book by Anne Saunders:
- A Travel Guide to World War II Sites in Italy: Museums, Monuments, and Battlegrounds
- Read my review of A Travel Guide to World War II Sites in Italy
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