Monte Cassino (sometimes written Montecassino) is a rocky hill about 81 miles southeast of Rome, Italy, 1.2 mi to the west of the town of Cassino and at an altitude of 1,706.04 ft – it towers over the valley. Once the site of the Roman town of Casinum, it is best known for the historic Benedictine Order abby established around 529.

The hilltop sanctuary was the site of the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944, where the building was destroyed by Allied bombing and rebuilt after the war.

My wife and I were very lucky to visit the abby with a friend that was an expert in the history of the site. The sheer magnitude of the site is impressive. A switchback road climbs up the mountain and leaves you off at the fortress. It is amazing to think this structure was bombed and rebuilt.

There is a lot to explore even outside in the courtyard. The sculpture of St. Benedict is very impressive and watches over the abby. The view up and down are worth taking the time to enjoy. And when you look out, you see how at multiple time, this mountain top ruled the area.

When you are down in the original caverns, the mosaic tile artwork is breathtaking. I was told that the craftsmen laid all the tiles by hand and angled them so they reflected the candlelight.