I know my major is tourism and hospitality management, but one of my favorite subjects in school was always history. I love learning about the past and seeing how it influences our lives today. One of the most influential events in history was World War II and I have a fascination with it. So when the opportunity was presented to me to join some of the other IES Abroad Rome classes on a field trip to a World War II monument and museum, I couldn’t pass it up.
This field trip proved to be more than a curiosity-driven endeavour though. I learned a lot about the Italian front of World War II, something many of my history classes didn’t have the time to cover. Getting to visit a monument commemorating one of the most important battles, the landing at Anzio, was definitely a treat.
This monument is actually run by the US Government, under the American Battle Monuments Commission. This monument recognizes the lives lost during the Landing at Anzio and how pivotal it was for the Allied Powers. One of the most interesting parts was the guided tour we got, where we got to hear a few stories of individuals who had fought at Anzio. If you come to Rome and have the chance to visit the monument at Anzio, I definitely recommend it. Not only is it an extremely informative monument, it also serves as a gorgeous public park for residents in Anzio to use and enjoy. The combination of everyday life and the reminder of the past makes for a very interesting visit.
The other part of our field trip was to the Piana delle Orme museum, which is not too far from Anzio. This museum is home to a family’s private collection of both agricultural tools from different eras and World War II artifacts. The museum is huge and could take an entire day to go through. The World War II collection is among the largest in the world. That’s not the most interesting part though! The family does not just display all the uniforms, weaponry, and vehicles they’ve found and restores. No, they have put these artifacts into massive hangars and created walk-through recreations of the different battles they have gotten their collection from. For example, there is a hangar dedicated to the landing at Anzio. There are dummies in Allied uniforms moving towards the beach, radio and other communication transmissions from the landing, and recreations of the aftermath.
Piana delle Orme holds some incredible treasures and the family that owns the collection has even lent out some pieces to the film industry! They are the owners of the Sherman tank used in the ending scene of ‘La Vita è Bella’ and have it proudly displayed with a panel telling you what other movies it has appeared in. The coolest and most mind blowing part though is that because this museum is so hidden away, not many people know about it or visit it. Piana delle Orme is a hidden treasure full of things to explore and learn about and yet so many people, both tourists and locals alike, will never get the chance to visit it. I guess this is me nudging anyone reading this to find a way there, especially if you are a history buff.
This entire field trip was a great experience and I loved learning more about World War II. Taking advantage of field trips to see things that you just can’t see in the US is definitely a perk of studying abroad.
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<p>I am a junior tourism and hospitality management major at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. I have a passion for exploring and dreaming, which lead me to study abroad! You can probably find me with my nose in a book or cup of coffee, daydreaming about my next adventure or wishing I was in the woods. Or truthfully, wondering how the New York Rangers are doing back home. Studying abroad in Rome has been a dream of mine for years and I cannot wait to share the adventure!</p>