A little off the beaten track, MonteCassino is a wonder to behold.  You’re probably wondering how I learned about this monastery – well, in one of my Italian classes, we learned that the Germans used MonteCassino as a sort-of protective-shield during WWII, which didn’t do much good because the Allies completely bombed the monastery to bits.  But, as you can see, it still stands!  In fact, what was surprising to me to learn, the Italian State was the benefactor for the reconstruction after WWII.  What’s even more interesting, is that it has been destroyed four different times: 577 by the Longobards of Zotone (no idea who they are), 833 when the Saracens sacked and burned it, 1349 when an earthquake struck, and then 15 February 1944 when the Allies bombed it.  But through it all, it has always been rebuilt.  (taken 3.1.2015)