One of the most popular tourist destinations in the Lazio Region is the city of Cassino, situated in the province of Frosinone, close to the border with the Campania Region; the most renowned location for its historical and religious events is undoubtedly the Abbey of Montecassino, one of the most famous Abbeys in Europe and in the world, best known as the beacon monastery of Western civilization.
Built under the request of Saint Benedict in 529 in order to accommodate his monks who came from Subiaco, the monastery became a point of reference for all Christians, although at that time paganism still had a strong impact and presence amongst the population.
Throughout the centuries the Benedictine Monastery experienced moments of happiness and structural destruction; the first destruction occurred in 577 at the hands of the Lombards, the second destruction and attack took place in 887 by the Saracens. Apart from the invasions, in 1349 the Abbey was hit by a violent earthquake which partially destroyed it, while in 1944 the greatest bombing of the Second World War, for the amount of explosives, almost razed it to the ground.
After the Second World War the monastery was totally rebuilt and it returned to its original splendour.
Today a visit to the Abbey gives the opportunity to admire numerous treasures, from the beautiful cloisters inhabited by white doves, to the immense stairway leading to the Basilica which contains the tomb of Saint Benedict and his sister Saint Scholastica inside the crypt which presents golden mosaics resembling a starry sky.
Inside the monastery you cannot miss the museum, where you can admire paintings and ancient paper manuscripts and printed books: The museum also houses a painting by Sandro Botticelli “The Nativity”; this painting was donated from the private collection of the Masi family from Montecatini on December 23, 2006.
Author article and photo Dario Di Giorgio