Our tour guide gave a brief history of the monastery which was founded by St. Benedict about the year 529. The Abbey of Montecassino has been destroyed and rebuilt four times. Most recently it was the site of the Battle of Montecassino in 1944, when the building was destroyed by Allied bombing and has since been rebuilt according to the original plan. Our tour included the only part of the Abbey not destroyed in 1944, as well as the crypt and the basilica. The grounds include beautiful orchards and gardens that are tended by the monks. They sell "natural products" ranging from olive oil, jams, teas, and creams and lotions.
|Courtyard garden at the Abbey|
|Vineyard and garden|
|The cloister at the Abbey|
|Inside the Basilica|
|The statue of St. Benedict from 1736|
|The rows of grave markers|
|A view from the entrance|
|Many Canadians are buried here|
When we returned to Rome there was time for some shopping, strolling the busy streets and then dinner overlooking the Roman Forum.