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Sicily-Rome American Cemetery Welcome Screen

General Cemetery Tour

An overview of the cemetery from the history of its construction and design to the personal stories of those commemorated here.

The Sicily-Rome American Cemetery commemorates the service, achievements and sacrifice of U.S. armed forces who participated in the World War II Sicilian and Italian Campaigns from 1943-1944, and related air and naval operations.

7,860 of those who perished are interred at the cemetery while 3,095 are commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing. There are 23 sets of brothers and two Medal of Honor recipients buried in the cemetery. The cemetery was dedicated on July 7, 1956.

The Sicily-Rome American Cemetery contains a visitor center with a permanent exhibition giving historical context to those commemorated at the cemetery.

The Visitor Center

The Sicily-Rome American Cemetery Visitor Center contains information about those buried at the cemetery.

To the north of the entrance is the new visitor center, which contains a permanent exhibit providing historical context to those buried and memorialized at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery.

During operating hours a member of the cemetery staff is available in the visitor center to answer questions and provide information.

The entrance to the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery Visitor Center.

At the visitor center visitors can visit a permanent exhibition, including displays and multimedia, exploring the campaigns of World War II during which those commemorated here gave their lives. It offers further information about those memorialized at the cemetery and their comrades.

Learn about the Sicilian Campaign and other campaigns of World War II at the Sicily-Rome Visitor Center.

The Reflecting Pool and Stone Cenotaph

Beyond the main entrance is an elliptical reflecting pool with a stone cenotaph, flanked with Italian cypress trees.

Just inside the cemetery gates is a large elliptical reflecting pool (82 yards by 66 yards) with a small island at its center. Several Italian cypress trees and glossy abelia flank the stone cenotaph on the island. The stone cenotaph is constructed from bronze-colored travertine and is in the shape of a sarcophagus. The large pool is accented by flowering water lilies.  Visitors can walk on the pathway around the reflecting pool to access the central mall and grave plots.

The Memorial

The memorial at Sicily-Rome American Cemetery.

The memorial consists of a museum room, connecting peristyle (an open colonnade surrounding a courtyard), and chapel which houses the Tablets of the Missing. Flanking the entrance to the memorial are two flagstaffs 80 feet high. In the middle of the peristyle lies the "Brothers in Arms" statue designed by Paul Manship of New York.

"Brothers in Arms"

The connecting peristyle, an open colonnade surrounding a courtyard, is located between the chapel and the museum room in the memorial. Flanking the entrance to the peristyle are two flagstaffs 80 feet high. The peristyle contains massive columns of travertine and Rosso Levanto marble from the vicinity of Rapallo, near Genoa. 

The "Brothers in Arms" sculpture represents an American GI and U.S. Navy sailor.

Prominently positioned in the peristyle on a pedestal of bronze-colored travertine is the “Brothers in Arms” sculpture by Paul Manship of New York. This represents an American GI and U.S. Navy sailor standing arm in arm. The statue symbolizes the critical relationship between the Army and Navy that was necessary to conduct amphibious assaults in Italy. Many more soldiers would have perished had it not been for the Naval gunfire that supported them as they landed at the beaches in Sicily, Salerno and Nettuno. This sculpture provides an opportunity to contemplate the sacrifice made by the 22 sets of brothers and three sets of identical twins who are buried here. Manship included considerable detail in the sculpture to best symbolize these two branches of the U.S. military that fought together at the Anzio-Nettuno beachhead. The haircut, style of pants, and belt buckles reflect Manship’s intense focus on detail. The bronze sculpture was cast at the Battaglia Foundry in Milan.

There are 22 sets of brothers and three sets of identical twins buried at the cemetery.

On the east façade of the chapel is a sculptured relief of white Carrara marble symbolizing “remembrance.” It portrays an angel bestowing a laurel wreath upon the graves of those who gave their lives for their country.

A view of the white Carrara marble relief symbolizing "remembrance," located on the east façade of the chapel.

On the east façade of the museum is a panel symbolizing “resurrection.” It portrays a fallen soldier being borne to his reward by a guardian angel. Both panels were designed by Manship and carved by Pietro Bibolotti of Pietrasanta.

The panel symbolizing resurrection," located on the east façade of the museum room.

The Museum Room

The octagonal table map, located in the center of the museum room, depicts a general outline of American and Allied military operations in Sicily and Italy from 1943-45.

The museum room is located in the north side of the memorial. The museum room can be accessed through bronze gates cast by the Fonderia Marinelli. The Fonderia Marinelli also cast the ornamental light fixtures in the memorial. An octagonal table of bronze-colored travertine, into which is set a circular relief map of Italy at 1:500,000 scale, occupies the center of the room. The map is of cast bronze inset with marble mosaic tile in various shades of blue to depict the sea areas. It was fabricated by Bruno Bearzi from information supplied by the American Battle Monuments Commission, and depicts a general outline of American and Allied military operations in Sicily and Italy from 1943-45.

The maps on the east and west walls of the museum room were designed by Carlo Ciampaglia of Middle Valley, New Jersey. They were executed in true fresco by Leonetto Tintori of Florence. This procedure involves mixing pigments with the plaster as it is applied to the wall. This practice was widely used in the Middle Ages in the production of  murals that have lasted through the centuries.

On the west wall are three maps: “The Capture of Sicily,” “The Strategic Air Assaults,” and “The Naples-Foggia Campaign.” To aid in understanding them, the maps bear explanatory inscriptions. Beneath the maps are two sets of keying maps, “The War Against Germany” and “The War Against Japan.”

Maps depicting The Capture of Sicily, The Strategic Air Assaults, and The Naples-Foggia Campaign," are located on the west wall of the museum room.

On the east wall is one large map, “The Landing at Anzio and the Capture of Rome.” This map portrays the landings in the vicinity of Anzio, the establishment of the Anzio beachhead, the fighting around the beachhead, the final breach of the Gustav Line following May 11, 1944 by American and Allied forces, the swift Allied advance north from the Gustav Line, the linkup with Allied troops breaking out of the Anzio beachhead, and the liberation of Rome on June 4, 1944.

The map, The Landing at Anzio and the Capture of Rome" is located on the east wall of the museum room.

The North Garden

The North Garden.

North of the memorial adjacent to the museum is a more formal garden planted in parterre arrangements with beds of polyantha roses, geraniums, white oleanders, purple bougainvillea and other flowers. At the far end of the garden is a Baveno granite fountain consisting of a large semi-circular bowl on a wide pedestal. It was carved from a single piece of granite quarried near the north end of Lake Maggiore. Cascades of water flow from the bowl into a low basin.

This fountain was carved from a single piece of granite quarried near the north end of Lake Maggiore.

The South Garden

A view of the South Garden.

South of the memorial, adjacent to the chapel, is an informal garden. This is lined on each side with connecting semi-circular planters containing beds of annual flowers. Panicled goldenrain trees and pink crepe myrtles border the planters. At the far end of the garden is a bronze statue of the legendary Greek poet and musician Orpheus, circumscribed by an armillary sphere with a sundial.

A bronze statue of the legendary Thracian poet and musician Orpheus.

The Chapel

The interior of the chapel.

Mothers, fathers, widows, and other family members have come to this chapel for decades to pray for their loved ones who are buried or memorialized at the cemetery. The chapel is located on the left (south) side of the memorial. On each side of the bronze door to the chapel, cast by the Marinelli Foundries of Florence, is a dedicatory inscription in English and Italian. The chapel contains no windows, and is illuminated by built-in artificial lighting. When additional light is desired, two huge panels on the west wall, set in bronze and on steel frames, can be swung open. The floor of the chapel is of Rosso Levanto marble; the pews are of walnut.

The interior chapel walls of white Carrara marble are engraved with the name, rank, organization and state of entry into military service of 3,095 servicemen and women that went missing in the region.

Names on the Tablets of the Missing.

On one wall of the chapel is an altar of golden Broccatello Siena marble on which rests a triptych of Serravezzo white marble from the Carrara region designed by Paul Manship. A cross in metal filigree stands before the triptych on the altar. Engraved on the left (east) end of the altar is a cross; engraved on the right (west) end are the Tablets of Moses. 

The triptych designed by Paul Manship.

The side panels of the triptych are decorated with relief carvings of angels holding palm branches. The left panel bears a quotation from Psalm 8: 3-5 with reference to the sculptured ceiling dome. The right panel bears a text from T. T. Higham’s translation of “The Greek Dead at Thermopylae” by Simonides. Carved in relief on the center panel, flying against a background of clouds, is the archangel Michael. He is sheathing his sword while four angels below him proclaim victory. Beneath them is the universal prayer: PEACE ON EARTH GOOD WILL AMONG MEN. On the reverse of the center panel is carved the Angel of Peace.

On the ceiling of the chapel is a beautiful dome sculpture, 22 feet in diameter, designed by Gugler, Kimball & Husted and executed by Paul Manship and Bruno Bearzi of Florence. Signs of the Zodiac in high-relief represent constellations. The planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn occupy the  relative positions that they occupied at 0200 hours on January 22, 1944. This was the moment when the first American and British troops landed on the beaches of Anzio. The more visible stars in each constellation are shown as points of light on the celestial dome.

The sculpture on the ceiling of the chapel.

Inscribed around the base of the dome is the text: O YE STARS OF HEAVEN BLESS YE THE LORD PRAISE HIM AND MAGNIFY HIM FOREVER. A brief explanation of the dome is cast into the bronze cover of a large switchbox just inside the door of the chapel.

The Tablets of the Missing

The Tablets of the Missing.

The interior chapel walls of white Carrara marble are engraved with the name, rank, organization and state of entry into military service of 3,095 missing in the region:

  • U.S. Army and Army Air Forces: 2,032
  • U.S. Navy: 1,063

These servicemen and women were Missing in Action or were lost or buried at sea. They represent every state in the union and the District of Columbia.

Without confirmed information to the contrary, a War Department Administrative Review Board established the official date of death of those commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing as one year and a day from the date on which the individual was placed in Missing in Action status.

Bronze rosettes mark the individuals whose remains were later recovered.

A bronze rosette beside a name shows that their remains were later recovered, identified and buried.

The Visitor Center

The Sicily-Rome American Cemetery Visitor Center contains information about those buried at the cemetery.

To the north of the entrance is the new visitor center, which contains a permanent exhibit providing historical context to those buried and memorialized at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery.

During operating hours a member of the cemetery staff is available in the visitor center to answer questions and provide information.

The entrance to the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery Visitor Center.

At the visitor center visitors can visit a permanent exhibition, including displays and multimedia, exploring the campaigns of World War II during which those commemorated here gave their lives. It offers further information about those memorialized at the cemetery and their comrades.

Learn about the Sicilian Campaign and other campaigns of World War II at the Sicily-Rome Visitor Center.