Tours

If desired we will organize a WWII tour of Italy with a scheduled such as listed below:

Fans of military history are invited to join author, historian and retired USN Commander Victor “Tory” Failmezger, on a seven day escorted tour of World War II sites in southern and central Italy. This tour will follow the legendary US 3rd Infantry Division from the landing at the Gulf of Salerno through the capture of the first axis capital of Rome to fall to the Allies on June 4th 1944.

Day One: The tour begins in Naples and accommodations will be at a four or five star hotel along the beautiful Naples waterfront in this ancient city on the bay with stupendous views of Capri and Vesuvius. The first evening there will be an introduction to your guide, Commander Failmezger and a welcome wine reception and dinner at one of the famous Neapolitan seafood restaurants. During WWII these restaurants were used as Allied Officer Clubs for rest and recreation from the front line battles up the Italian peninsula.

After breakfast at the hotel the tour will depart via bus for the ancient 6th century BC Greek Colonial city of Paestum. The bus will follow the bay of Naples until it crosses the famed Sorrento Peninsula and drops down to the city of Salerno. Along the way we will stop and pickup provisions for a typical ‘al fresco’ Italian picnic. We believe that our guests will enjoy shopping in local food markets and shops with one of our five Italian speaking tour guides.

Arriving at Paestum, we will first visit the beach to get a view of the allied invasion area. Then we will visit the ancient ruins of the Greek city which has the best preserved ancient Greek temples in Italy. Here we will learn the specifics of the landing amidst the ruins and discuss the struggle faced by the Allies in fighting a war in the world’s largest outside art museum.

After our picnic lunch on the temple grounds we head into the hills where Wehrmacht forces launched counter attacks against the fragile beachhead. We will be looking for signs of war on route to the town of Battipaglia. Then we depart for the famous Amalfi drive. Luckily we will let the bus driver negotiate the perilous coast road. After a brief stop for shopping or a coffee in Amalfi, we head to a local, just west of Amalfi for a wine tasting and dinner. After dinner we depart for our Naples hotel via Sorrento, stopping for night views of the Bay.

Day Two: Again after breakfast we depart the hotel for Caserta via bus. Before visiting the former Royal Palace, which in no small way rivals the Palace of Versailles and was the headquarters of the US 5th Army for the duration of the way in Italy, we will stop and purchase our second picnic lunch. After a tour of the palace and the gardens we will then journey to the Volturno River. There we can imagine an opposed crossing of the River by the allies under very heavy German fire.

Stopping along the way for a picnic lunch by the road side, we will make our way following the route of the 3rd Division through the towns of Dragoni, Presentano, and on to Mignano. At Mignano we will visit the museum and the Italian War Cemetery, where we will recognize the Italian contribution to the allied cause. Then we will visit the WWII dedicated ghost town of San Pietro and stroll around the village that has been preserved as a memorial to WWII destruction.

In the late afternoon we will depart for the Bacoli Peninsula, passing by the ancient Greek city of Cuma, through the Roman Arco Felice and to the site of the ancient Roman Naval Base at Capo Misenum. In Bacoli we will have a special dinner at the Ristorante Garibaldi (if available). Commander Failmezger has been a frequent guest at this restaurant since 1970 and one of our guides ex-chief Petty Officer Peter Knight, is a member of the family.

Day Three: After breakfast and hotel check out we depart for Pozzuoli, where Saint Paul landed on the way to Rome. We will informally tour the Pozzuoli Quay and old town and see where the 3rd division departed for Anzio. After purchasing lunch supplies, we will see the Lucrino amphibious training area and take the coast road to Anzio. We will stop in the town of Mondragone for coffee and to and purchase the authentic and fresh Mozzarella di Buffalo.

The next stop will be at Minturno for a visit to British Commonwealth Cemetery and the small archaeological park next door. Continuing up the coast, our picnic lunch will be held at the crest of the hill at Terracina, where there is a spectacular view of the sea and the ancient Roman temple of Jove.

After a quick tour of the little museum dedicated to the Allied Anzio invasion, we will check into our hotel. The rest of the day is on your own for shopping and dining in this seaside resort and contemplating how such a beautiful town could have suffered such destruction.

Day Four: After breakfast, we depart the hotel for the US American Battle Monument Commission Cemetery at Nettuno. Here we can reflect on the sacrifice made by so many young Americans, not only from the Anzio Beachhead but from all areas of Italy. Next we will view the interior of the Anzio Beachhead, especially the Mussolini Canal and the cross roads of Isola Bella. Next we will follow the route to the cities captured during operation Buffalo and the breakout for Rome (Cisterna, Cori, and Valmontone). We will again stop along the way to buy lunch.

Lunch will be at the top of Monte Casino, prior to touring the restored Abbey. The views are spectacular and will give an appreciation for why the Allies were so concerned that the Abbey was used by the Wehrmacht as an observation post. Before descending the hill we will make a brief stop at the Polish Cemetery and visit the grave of Gen Andres and the men of the brave Polish Legion who finally captured the Abbey.

Before leaving, in Casino town we will visit one of the several local museums and then return to Anzio and dinner on your own.

Day Five: Checking out of our hotel we will climb into the Alban Hills and see the positions where the Germans were able to shell the beachhead. Our first stop will be at the Lago di Nemi; here, retreating Wehrmacht troops deliberately burned two 2,000 year old salvaged ancient Roman pleasure barges.

A short distance away we will travel to Castel Gandolfo, summer home of the popes. Here we will stop for a late morning coffee and shopping for Papal souvenirs.

Next we will cover the short distance and have lunch in the hillside town of Frascati, famous for its local white wine.

After Lunch we will follow the first Allied troops into Rome on the Via Casalina, the Via Tuscana and the Porta Furta. By late afternoon we will check into our Rome hotel and you will be free to shop and dine in the eternal city on your own.

Day Six: After breakfast we will depart the hotel for the Villa Torlonia (Mussolini’s Villa) and then continue our visit of central Rome downtown WWII sites. This will include a brief walking tour of the theater of Pizza Barberini, a red cross R&R movie theater, the Il Messaggero Building, home of the Stars and Stripes newpaper which published its first newspaper on June 6th, the day after Rome was fully occupied. Finally we will trace the route of Wehrmacht soldiers as they walked up the Via Rasella. Here Italian partisans attacked the soldiers, resulting in 31 deaths. Hitler then ordered a roundup and incarceration of men at out next stop the former Gestapo Headquarters on the Via Tasso. At the museum we shall see artifacts regarding the liberation of the city and the actual cells where Gestapo prisoners were held. Our next stop will be a short way outside the city walls to visit the site of the WWII massacre at the Ardeatine Caves. Here 350 Roman citizens were murdered as a reprisal for the Wehrmacht soldiers on the Via Rasella.

Lunch will be at a nearby restaurant along the Via Appia Antica while we wait for the 3PM reopening of the ancient Christian Catacombs. After a visit to the catacombs we will return to central Rome and the rest of the afternoon is free time and then there will be a farewell wine tasting for those departing the tour at this time. Dinner will be on your own.

Day Seven: Depart Rome or Optional Tour extensions:

We are also pleased to offer the following pre and post tour Add-ons:

Pre Tour Add-ons Naples Area: Guests may choose to add one, two, or three days

Day – Guided walk of Naples (three options): –
Option one: Partenope, Piazza Del Plebiscito, Palazzo Reale, Teatro San Carlo, Galleria Umberto, Via Toleda, Castle Nuovo, Caffe Gambrinus
or
Option two: Museo Nazionale (Archaeological), Piazza Dante, Spacca Napoli, Duomo, church of San Lorenzo, Gesu Nuovo, Santa Chiara (church, monastery, cloisters and museum)
or
Option three: Funicolare Centrale, Vomero, Castel San Elmo, Museo Nazionale di San Marino (Certosa)
Day: Pompeii
Day: Capri

Post tour add-ons Rome Area:

Day – Vatican/Sistine chapel, Campo di Fiori, Piazza. Navona, Pantheon, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Trevi Fountain

Day – Baths of Diocletian, Church of Angles and Martyrs, Saint Teresa, Roman Forum, Coliseum, Palatine Hill, Victoria Emmanuel Monument

Day – Orvieto (one hour via train) – Piazza Del Duomo, old quarter, Papal Palace

For more information please contact:

jhewitt@WW2tankdestroyer.com or hues@mindspring.com