Just over seven miles south of Florence is the cemetery and memorial dedicated to the Americans who died defeating enemy forces in the final months of World War II. 4,402 United States soldiers are buried in this beautiful memorial cemetery and the monument and grave markers here are meticulously designed and tended to be a lasting tribute to those who died in the area.
The cemetery covers 70 acres of beautiful countryside. You enter between two entrance buildings and follow a bridge which leads to the burial area. The graves are arranged symmetrically in curved rows over the hillsides. The graves contain the remains of 39% of the United States 5th Army burials made between Rome and the Alps.
Most of these brave soldiers died fighting following the capture of Rome in 1944. Others are the victims of the intense battles in the Apennines. These casualties occurred shortly before the surrender of enemy troops in Northern Italy on May 2, 1945.
Above the graves is a large monumental structure. The structure is at the top of the highest of three terraces and is marked by a tall pylon. On the top of the pylon is a carved figure. There are two open courts in the memorial, and between the two arias are the Tablets of the Missing. 1,409 names are on these tablets with small rosettes marking those whose remains have since been found and identified.
Behind the Tablets is the entrance to the chapel. The chapel itself is a beautiful memorial to the fallen Americans with mosaic and marble embellishments. Spend some time in the chapel remembering the sacrifice of these brave individuals, and if you’re interested in the actual achievements of the troops, operation maps are carved into marble in the left atrium showing the contribution of the American troops to the area.
The cemetery is open to the public from 9am until 5pm every day by Christmas and New Years Day. It is even open on holidays in Italy and staffed every day that it is open to visitors.
When you visit the cemetery and memorial, there will be a representative present who can help you find your way to a particular grave or name as well as answer any questions you might have about the memorial.