Italië / Plaats van belang

Ancient Village of Castelnuovo al Volturno




The ancient village of Castelnuovo al Volturno is an emblematic custodian of one of the peculiarities of the passage of WWII along the Gustav Line. In fact, the village was destroyed by US troops in the summer of 1944 for the recording of a docufilm.

The ancient village of Castelnuovo al Volturno, the oldest and most populous hamlet of Rocchetta a Volturno, symbolises one of the most peculiar episodes during the Allied armies' conquest of the Gustav Line. Located in the strategic valley on the slopes of Monte Marrone, the village, which is extremely distinctive due to its conformation, was evacuated in June 1944 by US troops.

The fiercest phase of the conflict had by now gradually left the upper Volturno area and moved towards the Italian capital, yet US troops exploited the phase of apparent calm to carry out a highly unusual operation. Starting on 5 June 1944, the US military issued a proclamation to the population ordering all residents to leave their homes as soon as possible. The pretext used was that of a disinfestation procedure which would occupy the troops for the next two weeks. In reality, the Americans realised the total abandonment of the hamlet and implemented a different plan.

On 17 June, a real combat film was staged, with scenarios and elements of war as realistic as possible, documented by filmmakers and under precise direction. The village was subjected to gunfire, artillery barrages, and explosions, all filmed, edited and later played as docufilms in US cinemas, in order to emphasise the role of US troops in the liberation of Europe. However, the price paid by the population and the small village was the destruction of about 85% of the houses. Today, the remains of that tragic episode can be seen in the streets of the old village, where, among the remains of the old buildings bearing the signs of the past, one can appreciate spaces dedicated to the memory of the events of June 1944. 

Località Castelnuovo Borgo antico