Friday, January 27, 2012

history lesson


We have spent a significant amount of time visiting sites of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance history here in Italy and Europe, but one major piece of history we have yet to explore in depth is that of the World Wars.

After helping out at the abbey last weekend, we meandered over to a World War II battle site called San Pietro. In December of 1943, the Germans invaded a peaceful medieval town and took it over hoping to further their cause. At that point, the Italians decided they didn't want to be on the same side as Hitler anymore, so for the first time, the Italian Royal Army fought with the Allied Forces.

The town has been left as it was after the battle, which is pretty incredible to see.


I was deeply impacted by seeing the caves where the people of the town hid from the soldiers. They literally dug out a safety zone in the mountain using things like spoons and forks. The lady leading the tour told us that when her dad was 5 months old, he lived in one of these caves for 3 months, drinking nothing but sugar water. Her dad! I shuddered as it dawned on me just how recent this history is.

Once the war was done, the people decided to rebuild their town, but not in the exact same location.

Since the women were the ones who had to go down to the river to get the water and haul it back up the hill to the town, they were clever enough to suggest building the town down the hill, closer to the river. Thanks to those women, you can now look down on the thriving town of San Pietro and feel hopeful and inspired.

Yep, that's right the women are smarter. 

I hope you've enjoyed this little history lesson today. If you want to learn a little more, you can watch this documentary by John Huston on youtube. Some of it was filmed during the actual battle. Pretty interesting.

Class dismissed. Go enjoy your Friday!

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