Florence American Cemetery

March 16, 2012

Today was spent in the area of Florence, Italy, famed for Michelangelo’s David, among so many other works of art. The visit to the Academy of Fine Arts was interesting.

We also made a short visit to the Florence American Cemetery.

The Florence American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy covers 70 acres, chiefly on the west side of the Greve “torrente.” The wooded hills that frame its west limit rise several hundred feet. Between the two entrance buildings, a bridge leads to the burial area where the headstones of 4,402 of our military dead are arrayed in symmetrical curved rows upon the hillside. They represent 39 percent of the U.S. Fifth Army burials originally made between Rome and the Alps. Most died in the fighting that occurred after the capture of Rome in June 1944. Included among them are casualties of the heavy fighting in the Apennines shortly before the war’s end. On May 2, 1945, the enemy troops in northern Italy surrendered.

Above the graves, on the topmost of three broad terraces, stands the memorial marked by a tall pylon surmounted by a large sculptured figure. The memorial has two open atria, or courts, joined by the Tablets of the Missing upon which are inscribed 1,409 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. The atrium at the south end of the Tablets of the Missing serves as a forecourt to the chapel, which is decorated with marble and mosaic. The north atrium contains the marble operations maps recording the achievements of the American armed forces in this region.

The cemetery is open daily to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except December 25 and January 1. It is open on host country holidays. When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is on duty in the Visitor Building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/fl.php

Florence American Cemetery. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Here is a photo of the above mentioned monument:

Monument at Cemetery. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

This afternoon some of us went to San Gimignano, a medieval town in a beautiful setting. I asked this family if I could take their photo.

Italian Family in San Gimignano. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Tomorrow is a full day of travel, from Florence to Sorrento.

Click on images for larger view.


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