The guidebook has twenty chapters. The first, titled "Italy 1914-1945," reviews the events that led to Italy's participation in World War II. It also summarizes the Allied campaign to liberate Sicily and the Italian mainland, a series of battles that took almost two years.
Chapters 2-20 outline tours that follow the course of the Allied and Axis armies from Sicily to Trieste:
Chapters 2 and 3 take visitors to the Allied armies' landing sites in Sicily, where they battled both German and Italian forces. Today memorials to American, British, and Canadian troops stand along the island's southern and eastern coasts, not far from monuments that honor the Italian troops who defended the island.
Chapter 4 covers the subsequent landing of Allied forces near Salerno, where the U.S. Fifth Army met stiff resistance from German forces. Numerous monuments and several museums mark those events.
Chapter 5 focuses on memorial locations in and near the city of Cassino, where German forces blocked the Allies from advancing for five months in early 1944. Included are war cemeteries, battle monuments, and the rebuilt Abbey of Montecassino, which was destroyed during the war.
Chapter 6 concerns places related to the Allied landings at Anzio and Nettuno, towns an hour south of Rome. Here an American cemetery and two Commonwealth cemeteries honor the thousands who died in this area or in southern Italy.
Chapters 7 and 8 are devoted to World War II sites in Rome. These include the Basilica of San Lorenzo, which was damaged by bombs in 1943 and rebuilt soon after the war. Other locations include an apartment building (now museum) used as a prison during the German occupation, and the city’s Jewish Museum, which has exhibits about the deportation of Roman Jews to concentration camps.
Chapters 9-13 describe memorial sites in or near Orvieto, Florence, Lucca, and various mountain villages. These include selected Gothic Line battlegrounds, some of which contain the remains of bunkers and trenches. Noted also are many museums and monuments, such as those on Battle Mountain, where Allied and German troops clashed for over a week in the fall of 1944. Today the top of the mountain has commemorative plaques and statues.
Chapters 14-17 focus on memorials to units of the British Eighth Army, which spent much of the Italian campaign fighting the Germans along the Adriatic coast, from Bari to Rimini. Noted also are the many Commonwealth cemeteries between Rimini and Bologna.
Chapters 18-20 offer tours of WWII sites in Bologna, towns nearby, and Trieste. Several national monuments are described in detail.
For each location, directions and GPS coordinates are provided. Please click on photos of memorial sitesto see a few of the monuments described in the guide. The section on WWII history has wartime photos.