Photo by Damiano Parravano
The Mainarde mountain range is a very rocky natural barrier that extends to the border between Lazio and Molise.
An almost unique area for its natural features, the wild environment and the enchanting scenery where it seems not to see traces of man’s passage.
The territory alternates vast areas of beech-woods with different types of maples, poplars, field maples, Turkey oaks and the typical vegetation of the Apennine forest.
As for the animals, then, among the guests of the mountain range we find the Marsican brown bear, undisputed ruler of the chain, the wolf often reported in herds looking for food, the majestic Abruzzo chamois.
The Mainarde share with the Cassinate area a sad connection with the events of the Second World War.
Here, in fact, before the battles of Cassino, in the winter of 1943, a massacre of extraordinary ferocity took place in the Collelongo area by the Nazi soldiers.
In memory of the massacre rises a shrine, about 1,500 square meters at the end of a long and winding uphill road.
A cannon of the Second World War marks the road, and then continues on foot in a beech forest until it reaches the monument erected in 1993, on the fiftieth anniversary of the massacre.
A plaque mentions “On December 28, 1943 German troops slaughtered 38 unarmed citizens of Cardito and four soldiers of the dissolved Italian Army. They were guilty of having done their utmost, with an exceptional sense of self-denial and Christian charity, to alleviate the suffering of others, including those of their executioners, and had given help to those who were in need in the fury of the battle that the war had brought upon these mountains. Their sacrifice is rooted in the common cultural heritage of our people and makes the place you are visiting sacred. We kindly ask you to respect them ”.
We then find ourselves in front of a stairway surrounded by dry-stone walls, at the foot of which are placed two tombstones on which the names of the victims are read, including many children, and on the other, a touching ode by the Mayor of 1993 .
At the top of the staircase stands the iron memorial sculpture, by the artist Umberto Mastroianni, on an altar.
Path in one of the most beautiful natural sites in Italy