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The Unknown Italy: Anzio

“Shingle” because of the feature of the beach back then “Operation” because they planned to catch the Germans by surprise, by landing and moving inland to reach the mountains and entrap them.

Operation Shingle is for the inhabitants of Anzio still a vivid and successful happening; for the historians is an invasion that almost failed.

Major General John Lucas, who had the tactical command of the operation, believed that his men were not sufficiently trained and ordered caution once ashore, instead of moving inland as fast as possible to surprise the Nazis.

You can wonder away with your mind while looking out of the window. When the train leaves Rome, you can still see part of the Eternal City, but once you leave that behind, you see what the beautiful and vast Roman countryside, the same place where thousands of years ago, Romans before becoming warriors, would walk their sheep (pecora in Italian) and make that”Pecorino”cheese, nowadays famous all around the world. Then suddenly the countryside narrows, and powerful and colorful as usual, the sea takes the stage. It’s now, after almost 30 minutes on the train, that we are approaching Anzio.

The allied knew that as well. Anzio holds a strategic point, dominating Highway 6 and Highway 7 south of Rome. It literally takes one hour by train or by car and with the years, it has become a rich and lovely seaside spot for the Roman holiday makers.

In the 20’s even a Casino was built, closed soon after by the opposition of the Pope. But you can still see around Liberty Style buildings; lovely clothing shops and well manicured beaches and greens. Fish restaurants are all over, offering a wide range of local fish. Every day at 5.00am or at 3.00pm you can go to the port and get the fish freshly caught at a bargain.

It’s the same port that on 22 January 1944 saw the landing of the Allied forces. That Operation Shingle was finally launched. The US 3rd Infantry Division under Major General Lucian Truscott, supported by a tank battalion, landed south of the port. Tactical surprise had been achieved and the landings were virtually unopposed. The Allies lost only 13 men. Anzio was abandoned by the Germans.

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About the author

Roberta Sabbatini

I’m the owner of www.allinitalian.com, the UK based portal where you can book your holiday or wedding in the hidden jewels of Italy.
My expertise extends to most things Italian, such as cuisine (owner of an Italian restaurant), teaching Italian language and a wealth of experience in organizing holidays, weddings and providing business support to companies operating in Italy.
I’ve worked as a TV reporter while in Italy and amongst other things, I’m a guest contributor to DayTripperMag.

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