As I was planning my trip to the Non-Catholic Cemetery, I noticed that another cemetery was in very close vicinity, the Rome War Cemetery. This is a Commonwealth cemetery of WWII graves that lies alongside the old Aurelian walls of Ancient Rome. It’s a small rectangular piece of calm that seems worlds away from the traffic roaring by just outside.
When I arrived the gates were closed and I noticed that it was not supposed to be on a Sunday. Yet I noticed a couple of individual men wandering around, one older, one younger, and neither one seemed to be a gardener or maintenance work. So I tried the gate door and it opened without a problem. With that, I walked inside to begin exploring.
I haven’t been to too many military cemeteries, but what I’ve found most interesting in all of them is the personalised little epitaphs that run along the bottom of the headstones. In this case many focused on the fact that these men were forever buried far from home. There’s a certain melancholy in that that seems more than personal as an ex-pat living abroad. I sometimes wonder what my individual fate will be.
I also love picking out all the different regimental crests that appear on the stones. As a “colonial” myself, I’m always happy (not the right word, but, you know) when I come across a maple leaf for Canada or a silver fern leaf for New Zealand – unlike other countries/regiments, all soldiers are given the same crest, which makes them easy to spot. That said, I find the sheer variety of crests to be really interesting and it’s something I would like to research more about.
By the time I finished exploring here, there were more people who had come in and were reading the stones in almost the same fashion I had done. I guess some things are the same no matter who you are.
Site: Rome War Cemetery
Number of Internments: 422
Location: Via Nicola Zabaglia 50 – 00153 Roma
Hours: Officially 08:00-15:00 Monday – Friday, but you might try your luck if you are here on the weekends.
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