Italian Road Trip 2017

Discussion in 'Italy' started by toki2, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    I have been working on my father-in-law's war record for a year now on and off and finally it looks like I will be following in his path this year. I did the same in NW Europe a couple of years ago with my father's journey from Normandy to Hamburg and visited many museums related to the war. Italy will be very different as they do not have many war related museums for obvious reasons.
    We intend to drive from Scotland and take the ferry from Newcastle to the Netherlands then will have to look at the pros and cons of which route to take to Italy. We will be taking our time and expect to be travelling for 5 weeks from the heel of Italy where he landed at Taranto to the River Po. We will be staying in rooms with AirBnb and Agriturismo.
    I have gleaned a lot of information from this website and would be glad of any other hints and tips for our journey.
    BFBSM and 4jonboy like this.
  2. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    That'll be a great trip...I was able to follow my own Dad's complete journey on the Italian mainland from Taranto up to the Po (and thence to Villach) over a couple of trips - plenty of tips to be gleaned in advance/during your journey of discovery.

    Just out of interest, are you able to share your f-in-law's unit/division etc to help to more easily trace your possible route from the heel instep northwards?

    best wishes
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  3. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    If you tell us what Regiment he was he in, I can work out if he went anywhere near Cassino, Anzio or Rimini.


  4. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    A Travel guide to the World War II Sites in Italy. Museums, Monuments, & Battlegrounds may be of use? The Updated & Expanded Edition is going for about £8.00.. It was published in December 2016. The author is called Anne Leslie Saunders. All the best for a trip & half. Wise advice from Frank &
    bexley84.. PS, can i have 5 weeks off work?:omg:

  5. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    Thanks for all your interest and suggestions. My father-in-law (easier to now call him Tom) was with the 8th Indian Division - 1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers. I have the unit's war diary so can trace his route and am just about to finish a synopsis of their major conflicts including Cassino and will post soon.
    I have never been to Italy and the map on the wall in front of me indicates that the spine of the country is very mountainous. Tom's unit appears to have spent a fair amount of time fighting in these areas. (The use of mules should have given me a big hint). When we covered my Dad's route from Normandy to Hamburg we hardly saw a hill never mind a mountain so we took our caravan. We will travel by car and stay outwith the urban areas, taking public transport when visiting cities like Rome and Florence.
    Richard - the websites of the Irish Guards etc. will be a great help with maps and personal accounts of battles. Did you travel independently or with a guide and have you any general tips on travel, accommodation?
    Stu - I have the Travel guide but not the updated version. I will have a look and see if it is worth replacing.

    My husband and I are retired and are lucky enough to afford the time and money and go on these trips. Always, at the front of my mind, I think of our respective fathers and how astounded they would be that we are following their journeys. It was, after all, one of the most momentous periods of their lives and I want to pass on their story to their grand and great grandchildren.
    How many wives in the 60's had their hopes dashed in their aspirations of a package holiday to Spain to be told by their husbands that they had 'done' abroad and didn't like it!

    4jonboy, DianeE and dbf like this.
  6. Stuart Avery

    Stuart Avery In my wagon & not a muleteer.

    Enjoy. He may not have liked the sun or the some what strange food. Please come back soon with your synopsis. If you require any info from the
    1 A and SH then let me know. As well as Richard, I'm sure Frank can give you some good advice to accommodation etc.

    Have a top trip & be safe.
  7. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member


    Great and thanks for the extra detail..I suppose you meant "38th (Irish) Brigade" (78th Div), not the "Irish Guards"..

    Frank is a specialist on the Cassino area - the 12th May 1944 fighting period onwards is something to follow closely.

    I've "walked" the ground near Fossacesia and Mozzagrogna north of the Sangro. My father recalled the aftermath of some of the Indian Division's fighting period in Nov/Dec 1943:

    "Closely following E Company, I traveled along the road from Mozzagrona soon after the (Irish Brigade's) attack had been completed. I saw the preparation of funeral ghats for the many Indian dead, casualties in the attack. I continued into Fossacesia and arrived just as the company moved a piano into the street. One of the lads was playing it.”

    No doubt you've seen this summary account of the Division's movements..
    One More River - The Story of the 8th Indian Division

    more later,

    best wishes
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  8. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    I travelled independently (with my bro'), but was greatly assisted by (amongst others) friends in the Cassino area (Damiano and the Gustav Line Assn members), and at Trasimene (Janet)...of course, some of the most poignant/emotional moments are those when standing on the ridge at the Sangro River CWGC, gazing up at the monastery from the Cassino CWGC, looking back to the hill top town from Orvieto CWGC and wandering through the growing maize at Argenta CWGC cemeteries...

    Faugh a Ballagh!

    As a flavour of our visits, a couple of battlefield overviews that we wrote up:

    Adriatic campaign:
    From Termoli to the Moro - Irish Brigade

    Liri Valley: fourth battle of Cassino 14 - Oct 6th.pdf
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  9. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    8 Indian liberated Assisi. If you need any help in Umbria send me a private message,


    4jonboy likes this.
  10. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    If you PM me with your email address, I will happily send you the mapping for 8 Indian Division's attack on 11 May 44. It shows the objectives for 1 R FUSILIERS on that fateful night.

    I had a delightful lady in one of my 2016 groups whose father also served in 1 R FUSILIERS and I showed her the battalion's part in the attack.

    When you have worked out your itinerary, check with me when you know when you are at the Cassino bit. If I am running a battlefield study at the same time, you are welcome to tag along.


    4jonboy likes this.
  11. toki2

    toki2 Junior Member

    Thank you all for your generous offers of assistance. We are aiming to go in May so have a lot of planning to do. Had thought about redecorating the kitchen this spring but no need to now that it is covered in maps like the War Room.
  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

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