Cassino

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Cassino
Comune
Città di Cassino
The town of Cassino from the upper part of the town.
The town of Cassino from the upper part of the town.
Cassino is located in Italy
Cassino
Cassino
Location of Cassino in Italy
Coordinates: 41°30′N 13°50′E / 41.500°N 13.833°E / 41.500; 13.833Coordinates: 41°30′N 13°50′E / 41.500°N 13.833°E / 41.500; 13.833
Country Italy
Region Lazio
Province Frosinone (FR)
Frazioni Caira, Montecassino, San Cesareo, San Michele, San Pasquale, Sant'Angelo in Theodice, Sant'Antonino, San Bartolomeo
Government
 • Mayor Giuseppe Golini Petrarcone
Area
 • Total 82.77 km2 (31.96 sq mi)
Elevation 40 m (130 ft)
Population (31 December 2014)
 • Total 35,913
 • Density 430/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Cassinati
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 03043
Dialing code 0776
Patron saint St. Benedict
Website Official website
For other meanings, see Cassino (disambiguation)

Cassino ['kas'sino] is a comune in the province of Frosinone, Italy, at the southern end of the region of Lazio.

Cassino is located at the foot of Monte Cairo near the confluence of the Gari and Liri rivers. The city is 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 near total destruction of the town itself. Today, Cassino is also home to the University of Cassino and a Fiat Chrysler automotive plant.

Cassino has a population of 35,913,[1] making it the second largest town in the province.

History[edit]

Ancient[edit]

Cassino's origins lie in the Volscan settlement of Casinum, sited atop the hill of Cassino near Monte Cairo, five kilometres to the north. Casinum passed under the control of the Samnites, but the Romans eventually gained control of Casinum, establishing a fortified colony there in 312 BC. During the Roman Empire the most venerated god was Apollo, whose temple rose up on Monte Cassino, where today stands the abbey. At least once during Punic Wars, Hannibal passed near Casinum. Casinum was also the site of a villa presumed to belong to Marcus Terentius Varro.

Abbey of Montecassino

Medieval[edit]

The ancient Casinum was deeply damaged by severale barbarian raids. In the book Dialogues, Pope Gregory I give us the testimony of Benedict of Nursia settlement among the ruins of Casinum Acropolis. He destroyed the image of Apollo and pagan altars, and sanctified the place in name of St. John Baptist. From that moment on, he would never leave Monte Cassino: he founded the monastery that became a model for the Western monasticism and one of the major cultural centers of Europe throughout the Middle Agesand and wrote the famous "Rule", containing precepts for his monks. In the meanwhile the population built a village called Castellum Sancti Petri.

Unfortunately, because of its strategic position, the abbey, and consequently the village were involved in military events. In 577 the raid of the Lombards led by Zotto, forced the monks to leave Monte Cassino to seek refuge in Rome. They came back only after more than a century. In 744, thanks to the donation of Gisulf II of Benevento, the monastery became the capital of a new state, called Terra Sancti Benedicti (Land of Saint Benedict). Few years later the town was refounded by abbot Bertharius and called Eulogimenopoli, meaning "The City of Saint Benedict". However, in 883 the monastery and the town were again attacked, this time by Saracen, and Bertharius was killed along with some other monks.

The abbey was again rebuilt in 949 for decision of Pope Agapetus II and, together with the town, rename San Germano, begun to experience a prospeous period. For defensive purposes, was also built the castle called Rocca Janula, that still dominate the town nowadays. In the abbey are conserved the Placiti Cassinesi, dated 960-963, considered the first documents ever written in the Italian language.

On July 23, 1230 the city was the site of the signing of the peace between Pope Gregory IX and Frederick II, which took place in the church of San Germano. In 9/9/1349, at 9 am, San Germano was destroyed by a tremendous earthquake, which seriously damaged the abbey. The reconstruction took place in 1366, at Pope Urbano V's will.

Modern[edit]

Early modern period

During the renaissance Cassino lied on the northern frontier of the Kingdom of Naples, which was dominated by Spain. In 1504, during the Second Italian War, France attempted to capture the town in the Battle of Cassino, but failed.

On May 15–17, 1815, the town was the set of the final cruel battle of the Neapolitan War between an Austrian force commanded by Laval Nugent von Westmeath and the King of Naples, Joachim Murat. The so-called "Battle of San Germano" ended with the Austrian victory.

Kingdom of Italy

On July 28, 1863 the name of the town was officially reverted to "Cassino". In the same year the town was reached by the rail system. Cassino was part of the Province Terra di Lavoro (meaning Land of Work) until 1927, when the Province of Frosinone was founded. On May 21, 1930 was inaugurated the cable car that led from the town to the Abbey in 7 minutes, covering a vertical drop of over 400 metres.

World War II
Ruins of Cassino after the bombing

Since the Gustav Line was anchored around the mountains behind Cassino, the town was the site of fierce fighting during the Battles of Monte Cassino during World War II. The 15th of February 1944 was ultimately one of the darkest dates: the Abbey was destroyed by a heavy aerial bombardment. The allies, believing that the Abbey was a strategic position occupied by the Germans, bombed it, killing the people who had taken refuge. The works of art contained in the Abbey were transferred to Rome by the Germans before the bombing, but many disappear on the way. Exactly one month later, on the 15th of March, also the town was completely razed to the ground.

After the reconstruction

The reconstruction was an extremely hard period, which lasted practically until the sixties. During the months following the end of the war, the area was afflicted by a malaria epidemic. However, the population received also great solidarity from the rest of Italy in terms of donations and hospitality: many children were host by families in the North of Italy, in the years after the war. Cassino earned the nickname of City martyr for peace and the Gold Medal of Military Valour, a warning to future generation to not perpetrate the destruction of war that occurred here. In Cassino were built three war cemeteries: the "Cassino War Cemetery" in which are buried the Commonwealth victims, the Polish Cemetery and the Germanic Cemetery.

The economy of the area was helped by the industrialization started with the settlement of the Fiat Cassino Plant and its satellite firms, the SKF plant and several paper factories as well as by the establishment of the University of Cassino.

Today the town is well commercially developed, event though has suffered in recent years from the crisis of the automotive sectors.

Geography[edit]

Cassino is located at the southern end of the region of Lazio and at the northern end of the historical region called Terra di Lavoro. The city centre is set in a valley at the foot of Monte Cassino and Monte Cairo. Cassino is distant 123 km (76 mi) from Rome, 101 km (63 mi) from Naples, 28 km (17 mi) from the coast (Gulf of Gaeta) and 24 km (15 mi) from the Parco nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise.

The town is crossed by the rivers Gari and Rapido that join themselves in the area of the Varronian Thermal Baths; forward, in the frazione of Sant'Angelo in Theodice, the Gari joins the Liri, becoming Garigliano, the river that marks the border between the regions Lazio and Campania.

Climate[edit]

Because of its valley location, Cassino is often foggy in the winter, with chilly rainfall. Summers are generally quite warm and humid.

Main sights[edit]

Abbey of Monte Cassino[edit]

Founded by St. Benedict in 529 is one of the most famous monastery in the world, source of the Benedictine Order. It has been destroyed four times in its millennial history, the last time in 1944 by Allied bombing. It has been rebuilt "Com'era, dov'era" ("How it was, where it was") after the war, and reconsecrated by Pope Paul VI in 1964.

Archaeological sites[edit]

Rocca Janula
  • Rocca Janula: castle overlooking the city, which was one of Abbey's historical strongholds. Recently restored, is still not visitable.
  • Roman theatre: still used in the summer for events, shows and concerts.
  • Roman amphitheatre
  • Part of the historical Via Latina
  • Mausoleum of Ummidia Quadratilla

War Cemeteries[edit]

Inner part of Cassino War Cemetery

Natural areas[edit]

Spring water in Varronian Thermal Baths.
  • Villa Comunale: it is the main public park in the town.
  • Baden Powell Park: second public park, that host the main non profit associations and clubs in the town.
  • Varronian Thermal Baths: thermal area located where there used to be Marcus Terentius Varro's villa.

Museums[edit]

  • Historiale: Second World War multimedial museum, created by Carlo Rambaldi.
  • National Archaeological Museum "G.Carrettoni"
  • CAMUSAC: museum of contemporary art.

Demography[edit]

Historical population of Cassino
(Source: ISTAT)
Year 1861 1871 1881 1901 1911 1921 1931 1936 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011
Population 7,929 12,540 11,770 13,397 14,220 19,001 18,582 20,064 19,256 21,105 24,696 31,462 32,787 32,762 33,658
2009 largest resident foreign-born groups[2]
Country of birth Population
Romania Romania 269
Ukraine Ukraine 164
Albania Albania 89
China China 66
Poland Poland 62

Economy[edit]

Cassino's economy is based on industry and tertiary. The Fiat Chrysler Plant and its satellite firms employs a significant part of the population. As a consequence, the economy is strongly influenced by the automotive sector's trends, as experienced from the recent crisis. In Cassino there is also an SKF plant and several paper mills and marble factories.

Are also important the Courthouse and the University of Cassino, which ensure the influx of thousands of people every day, helping the commerce in the town.

The weekly market that occur every Sunday, is also an attraction of people from the surrounding municipalities.

Education[edit]

Cassino hosts the University of Cassino with the faculties of Economics, Law, Languages and Physical Education located in the Campus and the faculties of Engineering and Literature located in the city centre. Cassino also hosts branches of the Sapienza University of Rome and the University of Rome Tor Vergata for the degrees in Physiotherapy and Nursing.

Transport[edit]

Being in a crossroads among the regions Lazio, Campania, Abruzzo and Molise, Cassino has always been a strategic hub for transports and communications.

Roads[edit]

Rail[edit]

View of Cassino station.

The town of Cassino is along the Rome–Cassino–Naples railway line. It is also linked with Abruzzo and Apulia. Cassino is served by two stations:

  • Cassino station: opened in 1863, is the main railway station. It is located in the city centre.
  • Fontanarosa-Cervaro station: is a railway station located in the South part of the town, which mainly serves the locality called Fontana Rosa and the municipality of Cervaro.

Bus[edit]

The companies Magni and Mastrantoni provides services into the city centre. Cotral links the town with other municipalities in Lazio, CLP with Campania and ATM with Molise.

Sports[edit]

Football

Cassino's main football team is A.S.D. Cassino Calcio 1924 that currently plays in the Italian Eccellenza, the fifth division. In its best seasons the team used to play in Serie C2 and Lega Pro Seconda Divisione. The club plays in the stadium "Gino Salveti".

Basketball

The main basketball team is Virtus Terra di San Benedetto Cassino. It plays in Divisione Nazionale B. In the past the Basket Cassino reached the Serie B league. The team has been also guided by coach Sergei Belov.

Twin cities[edit]

Cassino is twinned with:

Notable People[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Statistiche demografiche ISTAT". 28 January 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  2. ^ http://demo.istat.it/str2009/index.html

External links[edit]