Anzio

Anzio [ˈantsjo] is a city and comune on the coast of the Lazio region of Italy, about 51 kilometres (32 mi) south of Rome.

Well known for its seaside harbour setting, it is a fishing port and a departure point for ferries and hydroplanes to the Pontine Islands of Ponza, Palmarola and Ventotene. The city bears great historical significance as the site of Operation Shingle, a crucial landing by the Allies during the Italian Campaign of World War II.

Anzio
Città di Anzio
View of Anzio
View of Anzio
Coat of arms of Anzio

Coat of arms
Location of Anzio
Anzio is located in Italy
Anzio
Anzio
Location of Anzio in Italy
Anzio is located in Lazio
Anzio
Anzio
Anzio (Lazio)
Coordinates: 41°26′52.61″N 12°37′44.59″E / 41.4479472°N 12.6290528°E
CountryItaly
RegionLazio
Metropolitan cityRome (RM)
FrazioniAnzio Colonia, Cincinnato, Falasche, Lavinio Mare, Lavinio Stazione, Lido dei Gigli, Lido dei Pini, Lido delle Sirene, Marechiaro, Villa Claudia, Santa Teresa
Government
 • MayorCandido De Angelis
Area
 • Total43.43 km2 (16.77 sq mi)
Elevation
3 m (10 ft)
Population
(30 April 2017)
 • Total54,428
 • Density1,300/km2 (3,200/sq mi)
DemonymsAnziati, Portodanzesi
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
00042
Dialing code06
Patron saintSt. Anthony
WebsiteOfficial website

History

Ancient era

Antium plan
Plan of Antium
Domus libreria 3
Library of the imperial villa
MNR 307 - Mosaico parietale da Anzio 1010467
Mosaico from the nymphaeum

Anzio occupies a part of the ancient Antium territory. In ancient times, Antium was the capital of the Volsci people until it was conquered by the Romans. In some versions of Rome's foundation myth, Antium was founded by Anteias, son of Odysseus.

In 493 BC the Roman consul Postumus Cominius Auruncus fought and defeated two armies from Antium and as a result captured the Volscian towns of Longula, Pollusca and Corioli (to the north of Antium).[1]

In 468 BC Antium was captured by the Roman consul Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus following a war started by the Volsci, and a Roman colony was planted there the next year. Three Roman ex-consuls were appointed as commissioners to allocate the lands (triumviri coloniae deducendae) amongst Roman colonists. They were Titus Quinctius, the consul of the previous year who had captured Antium from the Volsci; Aulus Verginius Tricostus Caeliomontanus, the consul of 469 BC; and Publius Furius Medullinus Fusus, the consul of 472 BC.[2]

In 464 BC the Antiates were suspected of allying with the Aequi against Rome. The chief men of Antium were summoned to Rome however they gave adequate explanations. Antium was asked to contribute emergency troops for the Roman war against the Aequi, however the force of 1,000 troops from Antium arrived too late to help.[3]

With the expansion of Rome it was just far enough away to be insulated from the riots and tumults of Rome. Leading Romans built magnificent seaside villas there and when Cicero returned from exile, it was at Antium that he reassembled the battered remains of his libraries, where the scrolls would be secure. Remains of Roman villas are conspicuous all along the shore, both to the east and to the north-west of the town.[4] Gaius Maecenas also had a villa. Many ancient masterpieces of sculpture have been found there: the Fanciulla d'Anzio, the Borghese Gladiator (in the Louvre) and the Apollo Belvedere (in the Vatican) were all discovered in the ruins of villas at Antium.

Of the villas, the most famous was the imperial villa, known as the Villa of Nero,[4] which was used by each Emperor in turn, up to the Severans and which extended some 800 metres (2,600 ft) along the seafront of the Capo d'Anzio. Augustus received a delegation from Rome there to acclaim him Pater patriae ("Father of his Country"). The Julian and Claudian emperors frequently visited it; both Emperor Caligula and Nero were born in Antium. Nero razed the villa on the site to rebuild it on a more massive and imperial scale including a theatre. Nero also founded a colony of veterans and built a new harbour, the projecting moles of which still exist.[4]

Of the famous temple of Fortune (Horace, Od. i. 35) no remains are known.[4]

Christian bishopric

There are records of the participation of a few bishops of Antium in synods held in Rome: Gaudentius in 465, Felix in 487, Vindemius in 499 and 501. Barbarian incursions in the 6th century put an end to its existence as a residential bishopric. Accordingly, Antium is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.[5]

Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages Antium was deserted in favour of Nettuno, which maintained the legacy of the ancient city. At the end of the 17th century Innocent XII and Clement XI restored the harbour, not on the old site but to the east of it, with the opening to the east, a mistake which leads to its being frequently silted up; it has a depth of about 5 metres (16 ft). The sea is encroaching slightly at Anzio, but some kilometres farther north-west the old Roman coast-line now lies slightly inland (see Tiber). The Volscian Antium stood on higher ground and somewhat away from the shore, though it extended down to it. This was defended by a deep ditch, which can still be traced, and by walls, a portion of which, on the eastern side, constructed of rectangular blocks of tufa, was brought to light in 1897.[4] In 1857 Pope Pius IX founded the modern municipality (comune) of Anzio, with the boundaries of Nettuno being redrawn to accommodate the new town.

World War II

Anzio and Nettuno are also notable as sites of an Allied forces landing and the ensuing Battle of Anzio during World War II. The Commonwealth Anzio War Cemetery and Beach Head War Cemetery are located here.

In February 1944 American soldiers (the U.S. Fifth Army) were surrounded by Germans in the caves of Pozzoli for a week, suffering heavy casualties. A film based on the events called Anzio (1968, directed by Edward Dmytryk) was made, starring Robert Mitchum and based on a book by Wynford Vaughan-Thomas.

Tor Caldara, Anzio
Tor Caldara Tower and the Anzio beach.

On 18 February 1944, the British light cruiser Penelope was struck by two torpedoes off the coast of Anzio and sunk with a loss of 417 crew.

In the same region Lieutenant Eric Fletcher Waters of the British Army lost his life in battle while serving as a member of the 8th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), part of the 167th (London) Infantry Brigade of the 56th (London) Infantry Division which fought at Anzio for nearly six weeks. His son, Roger Waters, became the bassist and main lyricist of progressive rock band, Pink Floyd. In his honour and remembrance Roger Waters recorded the song "The Fletcher Memorial Home", which is the maiden name of Eric Waters' mother. (Also see "When the Tigers Broke Free".)

Main sights

Statue of Nero
Statue of Nero in Anzio by Claudio Valenti (2010).

Along the coast are numerous remains of Roman villas. One, the Domus Neroniana, has been identified as a residence of Nero.

In Anzio can be found the Anzio War Cemetery, located close to the Communal Cemetery and Beachhead Museum. The Beach Head War Cemetery is located 5 Kilometre north on the No207 Road. The Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial is in nearby Nettuno.

About 8 kilometres (5 miles) north of the town there is a WWF park with sulphur springs and a medieval tower, Tor Caldara.

Near the ruins of the Villa of Nero, in scenic position near the beach, lies the military sanatorium of the Italian army, one of the most important works of Florestano Di Fausto, built in 1930–33.

All along the coast a large number of beaches and sea resorts can be found, including hotels and the famous fish restaurants of the port of Anzio. The city once hosted a Casino called Paradiso sul mare that is no longer active and now hosts cultural events. In the southern part of the town, close to the border with Nettuno, are many Italian art nouveau style houses.

Transportation

Anzio is connected to Rome by the Via Nettunense (SS207), the Via Ardeatina (SS601) and by the Roma-Nettuno railway that connects Anzio with Roma Termini in around 1 hour.[6] The railway line also stops in the stations of Padiglione, Lido di Lavinio, Villa Claudia, Marechiaro, Anzio Colonia to the north of Anzio.

Ferries and hydrofoils connect Anzio to Ponza.

Twin towns — sister cities

Anzio is twinned with:

References

  1. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 2.33
  2. ^ Livy, ii. 64, 65, iii. 1.
  3. ^ Livy, iii. 4-5
  4. ^ a b c d e  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Antium" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 147.
  5. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 834
  6. ^ "Trenitalia webpage". Retrieved 16 February 2018.

Further reading

  • Antonio Nibby, Dintorni di Roma, i. 181; Notizie degli scavi, passim.
  • F. Lombardi, Anzio antico e moderno: opera postuma (1865)
  • P. Brandizzi Vitucci, Antium: Anzio e Nettuno in epoca romana (2000)

External links

65th Infantry Division (Wehrmacht)

The 65th Infantry Division (German: 65. Infanterie-Division) was a German division in World War II. It was formed in July 1942.

A.S.D. Anziolavinio

Associazione Sportiva Dilettantistica Anziolavinio is an Italian association football club located in Anzio, Lazio.

It currently plays in Serie D.

Anzio (film)

Anzio (US title), also known as Lo sbarco di Anzio (original Italian title) or The Battle for Anzio (UK title), is a 1968 Technicolor war film in Panavision, an Italian and American co-production, about Operation Shingle, the 1944 Allied seaborne assault on the Italian port of Anzio in World War II. It was adapted from the book Anzio by Wynford Vaughan-Thomas, who had been the BBC war correspondent at the battle.

The film stars Robert Mitchum, Peter Falk, and a variety of international film stars, who mostly portray fictitious characters based on actual participants in the battle. The two exceptions were Wolfgang Preiss and Tonio Selwart, who respectively played Field Marshal Albert Kesselring and General Eberhard von Mackensen. The film was made in Italy with an Italian film crew and produced by Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis; however, none of the main cast were Italian, nor were there any major Italian characters. The film was jointly directed by Edward Dmytryk and Duilio Coletti.

In the English language version, Italians are portrayed speaking their native language, but in scenes involving the German military commanders, these speak English to each other.

Anzio (game)

Anzio is a board wargame published by the Avalon Hill game company first in 1969 and again in 1971, 1974, and 1978. The title is misleading as the game is not an operational-level treatment of the Battle of Anzio but is in fact a strategic level game covering the entire Italian theater of operations in World War II from the autumn of 1943 to the end of the war in Europe.

Battle of Anzio

The Battle of Anzio was a battle of the Italian Campaign of World War II that took place from January 22, 1944 (beginning with the Allied amphibious landing known as Operation Shingle) to June 5, 1944 (ending with the capture of Rome). The operation was opposed by German forces in the area of Anzio and Nettuno. The operation was initially commanded by Major General John P. Lucas, of the U.S. Army, commanding U.S. VI Corps with the intention being to outflank German forces at the Winter Line and enable an attack on Rome.

The success of an amphibious landing at that location, in a basin consisting substantially of reclaimed marshland and surrounded by mountains, depended on the element of surprise and the swiftness with which the invaders could build up strength and move inland relative to the reaction time and strength of the defenders. Any delay could result in the occupation of the mountains by the defenders and the consequent entrapment of the invaders. Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, commander of the U.S. Fifth Army, understood that risk, but Clark did not pass on his appreciation of the situation to his subordinate, Lucas, who preferred to take time to entrench against an expected counterattack. The initial landing achieved complete surprise with no opposition and a jeep patrol even made it as far as the outskirts of Rome. However, Lucas, who had little confidence in the operation as planned, failed to capitalize on the element of surprise and delayed his advance until he judged his position was sufficiently consolidated and he had sufficient strength.

While Lucas consolidated, Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, the German commander in the Italian theatre, moved every unit he could spare into a defensive ring around the beachhead. His artillery units had a clear view of every Allied position. The Germans also stopped the drainage pumps and flooded the reclaimed marsh with salt water, planning to entrap the Allies and destroy them by epidemic. For weeks a rain of shells fell on the beach, the marsh, the harbour, and on anything else observable from the hills, with little distinction between forward and rear positions.

After a month of heavy but inconclusive fighting, Lucas was relieved and sent home. His replacement was Major General Lucian K. Truscott, who had previously commanded the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division. The Allies broke out in May. But, instead of striking inland to cut lines of communication of the German Tenth Army's units fighting at Monte Cassino, Truscott, on Clark's orders, reluctantly turned his forces north-west towards Rome, which was captured on June 4, 1944. As a result, the forces of the German Tenth Army fighting at Cassino were able to withdraw and rejoin the rest of Kesselring's forces north of Rome, regroup, and make a fighting withdrawal to his next major prepared defensive position on the Gothic Line.

Battle of Cisterna

The Battle of Cisterna took place during World War II, on 30 January–2 February 1944, near Cisterna, Italy, as part of the Battle of Anzio, part of the Italian Campaign. The battle was a clear German victory which also had repercussions on the employment of U.S. Army Rangers that went beyond the immediate tactical and strategic results of the battle.

During this battle, the 1st, 3rd, and 4th U.S. Army Ranger battalions, the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion, and the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, which had been brigaded as the 6615th Ranger Force (Provisional) commanded by Colonel William O. Darby, were assigned to support the renewal of an attack by Major General Lucian Truscott's 3rd Infantry Division, which had previously failed to take Cisterna from 25–27 January. The 3rd Division's attack was part of a large offensive by Major General John Lucas's U.S. VI Corps to break out of the Anzio beachhead before German reinforcements could arrive and concentrate for a counterattack.

Duke of Lancaster's Regiment

The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border) (LANCS) is an infantry regiment of the line within the British Army, part of the King's Division. Headquartered in Preston, it recruits throughout the North West of England.

First Special Service Force

The 1st Special Service Force (also called The Devil's Brigade, The Black Devils, The Black Devils' Brigade, and Freddie's Freighters), was an elite American-Canadian commando unit in World War II, under command of the United States Fifth Army. The unit was organized in 1942 and trained at Fort William Henry Harrison near Helena, Montana in the United States. The Force served in the Aleutian Islands, and fought in Italy, and southern France before being disbanded in December 1944.

The modern American and Canadian special operations forces trace their heritage to this unit. In 2013, the United States Congress passed a bill to award the 1st Special Service Force the Congressional Gold Medal.

Henschel Hs 293

The Henschel Hs 293 was a World War II German anti-ship guided missile: a radio controlled glide bomb with a rocket engine slung underneath it. It was designed by Herbert A. Wagner.

Krupp K5

The Krupp K5 was a heavy railway gun used by Nazi Germany throughout World War II.

Nettuno

Nettuno is a town and comune of the Metropolitan City of Rome in the Lazio region of central Italy, 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of Rome. A resort city and agricultural center on the Tyrrhenian Sea, it has a population of approximately 50,000.

Its name is perhaps in honour of the Roman god Neptune.

Operation Diadem

Operation Diadem, also referred to as the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino or, in Canada, the Battle of the Liri Valley, was an offensive operation undertaken by the Allies of World War II (U.S. Fifth Army and British Eighth Army in May 1944, as part of the Italian Campaign of World War II. Diadem was supported by air attacks called Operation Strangle. The opposing force was the German 10th Army.

The object of Diadem was to break the German defenses on the Gustav Line (the western half of the Winter Line) and open up the Liri Valley, the main route to Rome. General Sir Harold Alexander, Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Allied Armies in Italy (AAI), planned Diadem to coordinate roughly with the invasion of Normandy, so that German forces would be tied down in Italy, and could not be redeployed to France.

Four corps were employed in the attack. From right to left these were Polish II Corps and British XIII Corps, of Eighth Army, and the Free French Corps (including Moroccan Goumiers) and U.S. II Corps, of Fifth Army. Fifth Army also controlled U.S. VI Corps in the Anzio beachhead, some 60 miles northwest.

Diadem was launched at 23:00pm on 11 May 1944 by elements, composed of the British 4th Infantry Division and 8th Indian Infantry Division with supporting fire from the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade. They made a successful strongly opposed night crossing of the Garigliano and Rapido rivers. This broke into the heart of the German defenses in the Liri valley against strong opposition and drew German theater reserves reducing pressure on the Anzio beachhead. The Free French Corps pushed through the mountains to the left on 14 May, supported by U.S. II Corps along the coast. On 17 May, Polish II Corps on the right attacked Monte Cassino.

The German position collapsed, and the Germans fell back from the Gustav Line to the Hitler Line some 10 miles to their rear.

On 23 May, the four corps attacked the Hitler Line. On the same day, the U.S. VI Corps attacked out of the Anzio beachhead.

The Hitler Line was breached by 1st Canadian Infantry Division's 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards at Pontecorvo on 23 May. German Tenth Army was forced to retire northwestward. U.S. VI Corps, moving northeast from Anzio, was on the point of cutting the German line of retreat, when Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, commander of the U.S. Fifth Army, inexplicably ordered them to turn northwest and advance on Rome instead. There is much speculation that he did this so that his Fifth Army would capture Rome ahead of the Eighth Army advancing up the Liri Valley. The German 10th Army thus avoided being surrounded.

The Germans fought a series of delaying actions, retired to the Trasimene Line, and then to the Gothic Line (identified on German maps as the "Green" Line), north of the Arno River.

Operation Maple (Italy)

Operation Maple was a series of World War II operations in Italy in support of the Anzio landings. It comprised operations by the British Special Air Service (2 SAS), starting on 7 January 1944. Thistledown was successful but Driftwood failed and its objective had to be destroyed later by Operation Baobab. None of the members of the first two parties returned safely, either being captured or going missing.To support the Anzio landings, it was required to cut rail links north of Rome and elsewhere on the east coast. Rail lines around Terni and Orvieto were to be attacked by four men of Operation Thistledown but all the team was captured. Driftwood consisted of two four man teams to cut the lines between Urbino and Fabriano and Ancona and Rimini. Their fate is unknown but they are thought to have drowned or been captured and executed. A reinforcement party (Baobab) was landed by sea on 30 January and destroyed a bridge between Pesaro and Fano.

Tre Cancello Landing Strip

Tre Cancello Landing Strip is an abandoned World War II military airfield in Italy, which is located approximately 11 km east-northeast of Anzio; about 50 km south-southeast of Rome. It was a temporary grass airfield used by the United States Army Air Force Twelfth Air Force 416th Night Fighter Squadron between 14 June and 8 July 1944, flying Bristol Beaufighters on night defensive interceptor patrols during the Anzio landing.

When the Americans pulled out the airfield was dismantled by engineers and returned to agriculture. An outline of the runway remains in an agricultural field in aerial photos today.

USS Anzio (CG-68)

USS Anzio (CG-68) is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy, named for the site of a beachhead invasion of Italy by Allied troops from 22 January to 23 May 1944. Her keel was laid down by the Litton-Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation at Pascagoula, Mississippi on 21 August 1989. The ship was launched on 2 November 1990, and commissioned on 2 May 1992, under Captain H. Wyman Howard. Anzio operates out of Norfolk, Virginia.

USS Anzio (CVE-57)

USS Anzio (ACV/CVE/CVHE-57), was a Casablanca-class escort carrier of the United States Navy that saw service during World War II in the Pacific War. Originally classified as an auxiliary aircraft carrier ACV-57, the vessel was laid down in 1942, in Vancouver, Washington, by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Company. The vessel was initially named Alikula Bay, but was renamed Coral Sea and redesignated CVE-57 in 1943. Coral Sea took part in naval operations supporting attacks on the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, New Guinea and the Marianas Islands. In September 1944, the vessel was renamed Anzio. As Anzio, the escort carrier took part in assaults on the Bonin Islands and Okinawa. Following the cessation of hostilities in 1945, Anzio was among the escort carriers used in Operation Magic Carpet, returning US soldiers to the United States. Following this service, Anzio was laid up in reserve at Norfolk, Virginia, in 1946. The escort carrier was redesignated CVHE-57 on 15 June 1955, before being sold for scrap in 1959.

Volsci

The Volsci were an Italic tribe, well known in the history of the first century of the Roman Republic. At the time they inhabited the partly hilly, partly marshy district of the south of Latium, bounded by the Aurunci and Samnites on the south, the Hernici on the east, and stretching roughly from Norba and Cora in the north to Antium (modern Anzio and Nettuno) in the south. Rivals of Rome for several hundred years, their territories were taken over by and assimilated into the growing republic by 300 BCE.

When the Tigers Broke Free

"When the Tigers Broke Free" is a Pink Floyd song by Roger Waters, describing the death of his father, Eric Fletcher Waters, in the Battle of Anzio (codenamed Operation Shingle) during the Italian Campaign of the Second World War.

Winter Line

The Winter Line was a series of German and Italian military fortifications in Italy, constructed during World War II by Organisation Todt and commanded by Albert Kesselring. The series of 3 lines was designed to defend a western section of Italy, focused around the town of Monte Cassino, through which ran the important Highway 6 which led uninterrupted to Rome. The primary Gustav Line ran across Italy from just north of where the Garigliano River flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west, through the Apennine Mountains to the mouth of the Sangro River on the Adriatic coast in the east. The two subsidiary lines, the Bernhardt Line and the Hitler Line ran much shorter distances from the Tyrrehnian sea to just North East of Cassino where they would merge into the Gustav Line. Relative to the Gustav Line, the Hitler Line stood to the North-West and the Bernhardt Line to the South-East of the primary defenses.

The Gustav Line, though ultimately broken, effectively slowed the Allied advance for months between December 1943 and June 1944. Major battles in the assault on the Winter Line at Monte Cassino and Anzio alone resulted in 98,000 Allied casualties and 60,000 Axis casualties.

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