After a long night trying but largely failing to get much sleep on a giant RORO ferry, the last thing one might expect to be doing the next day is travelling a further 200 miles by road. That, however, is exactly what we did – not that it was all bad. Beyond the now expected yet still horrendous Italian traffic, there was indeed somewhere very much worth the supreme effort – Monte Cassino.

Perched on top of a very dramatic hill, somewhere in the Frosinone Province of Italy, the story and significance of Monte Cassino isn’t to be underestimated.

Starting with recent history, it was the primary setting for a series of extremely hard fought battles during WWII, as the Allies tried to seize Rome.

This resulted in a massive amount of casualties – particularly on the Allied side, and these wide scale losses are now visible through a number of graveyards scattered over the hill and nearby town. Seen above is the Polish Cemetary.

Prior to this, Monte Cassino was dominated by its long standing Monastery, popular among Popes and high up members of the Catholic Church. After being decimated in the war, it was then restored to the monumental building seen in the above photograph, and to this day it functions as a territorial abbey.

This rare status, together with its natural position and relevance to WWII, really make for a worthwhile visit, either for history buffs, or those seeking an absorbing locale. The precarious drive to the top is an experience in itself.