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Of the many popular day trips from Rome, a day trip to Monte Cassino is a unique and alternative option! As part of exploring the Benedictine heritage on a week-long trip to Italy, I went on a tour of Monte Cassino, the first Benedictine Abbey! The Abbey at Monte Cassino was constructed in the 6th century was the home of Saint Benedict. If you’re interested in a spiritual pilgrimage or simply a day trip from Rome, consider visiting Monte Cassino!
Day Trip from Rome to Monte Cassino
History of Monte Cassino
Saint Benedict and his twin sister Saint Scholastica were born in the last 5th century to an affluent family in Norsia, Italy. During early adulthood, Saint Benedict became disheartened by the morally corrupt lifestyles of his peers in Rome. This experience caused Saint Benedict to abandon his studies in Rome to pursue a spiritual life as a hermit. Saint Benedict’s devote life became known to those in Subiaco, so when the local abbot passed, they asked him to become the new abbot.
After establishing thirteen monasteries, Saint Benedict arrived in the town of Cassino, where he built Monte Cassino upon the ruins of a pagan temple. The Abbey was destroyed during World War II when Allied intelligence suspected Germans were using the Abbey for observation. After the war, Ildefonso Rea oversaw the reconstruction of the Abbey to its former glory. Today, visitors can tour the Abbey and museum.
Visiting Monte Cassino
During my visit to Montecassino, we toured the Abbey and church and had mass in one of the chapels. Throughout the tour, we visited the chapel where Saint Benedict and Saint Scholastica are buried, toured the museum, and explored the grounds. Since the Abbey located on a mountain, there were beautiful views!
Since the church has been reconstructed multiple times, the paintings on the ceilings are being redone.
The crypt was beautiful with its golden mosaic ceiling.
If you want to literally follow in St. Benedict’s, there are trails through Italy which allow you to do so. It’s a very spiritual and emotional way to interact with the legacy of St. Benedict. And these trails visit the many churches, towns, sanctuaries, and abbeys.
The Benedictine Camino is very large and starts at the city of the Saint’s birth. Along the way, it passes through Subiaco, where St. Benedict founded his first monasteries, and all the way to the Abbey at Montecassino, and ending in Molise at the St. Vincent monastery.
Getting to Monte Cassino
Cassino is a two-hour drive south of Rome. Trains and buses also run to Cassino. Once in Cassino, you can get transportation up the mountain to the Abbey. Since Monte Cassino is easy to get to, it makes for a great day trip from Rome!