From Naples to Sismano (via Cassino)
Naples - Cassino - Anagni - Orte - Amelia - Sismano Depart from Naples and take the A1 Highway towards Florence. Exit in Cassino (after about 100 kms) and visit the town, best known as the site of the Abbey of Montecassino and the Battle of Monte Cassino during World War II, which resulted in tremendous Allied and German casualties as well as the almost total destruction of the town itself. The Abbey was built on an ancient pagan site, where a temple dedicated to Apollo crowned the hill. Benedict of Nursia established here his first monastery, and started the Benedictine Order, around 529 a. D. After Cassino, visit Anagni, the so-called "City of Popes", famous for its connections with the papacy and for the picturesque monuments of its unspoiled historical center, dominating the river Sacco. Anagni was a provisory seat of the Papacy and gave birth to four popes: Innocent III, Gregory IX, Alexander IV and Boniface VIII. Anagni was also mentioned by the supreme Italian poet Dante Alighieri in his works. While in Anagni, visit the Romaneque Cathedral of Anagni dedicated to Santa Maria, built in the years 1071-1105, with Gothic-style additions in the mid-13th century. Do not miss the Papal Palace (or Boniface VIII's Palace) where the Pope was captured in 1303 by the French and Italian soldiers led by Guglielmo di Nogaret and Sciarra Colonna. According to the legend, the Pope was slapped by Sciarra Colonna and the episode was therefore remembered in Italian History as the Schiaffo di Anagni ("Anagni's Slap"). Take again the A1 highway and drive until Orte, a town in the Tiber valley on a high tuff cliff, encircled North and East from a handle of the Tiber river. In Orte take the state highway SS204 and reach Amelia. The town is known for its walls, built in polygonal masonry of carefully jointed blocks of limestone. The Etruscan walls were fortified and enlarged during the Roman Era and the Middle Ages. In Amelia take the secondary roads SP37 and then the SP39, take the ring road and you are in Sismano.