Monte Cassino. The historical site is falling apart

The retaining wall of the square in front of the monument to the 3rd Carpathian Rifle Division in the Monte Cassino massif is in very poor condition. The cause of the problem is the lack of a drainage system – determined engineers from the Military University of Technology. Their construction expertise will allow further conservation and restoration of the stone monument.

Scientists from the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geodesy WAT traveled to Italy to determine what caused the damage to the wall, how extensive the damage is, and how to repair it while maintaining the original character of the monument, which occupies a special place in Polish history.

Any repair – without removing the cause of this damage – would not make sense”. – says Lieutenant Colonel Ryszard Chmielewski, who will supervise the restoration of the wall. The co-author of the expert opinion is Leopold Kruszka, Ph. The expertise of specialists from the WAT was accepted by Dr. Janusz Smaza from the Studio of Conservation and Restoration of Stone Sculpture and Elements of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.

The experts assessed that due to the lack of a drainage system, the water washed out the joints connecting the wall elements. Its surface is overgrown by mosses and lichens, which cause the destruction of the outer layer of stones. In some places, parts of the wall have completely collapsed.

Scientists recommend urgent repair of the wall. In their opinion, first of all, the ground near the wall should be cleaned and damaged posts should be repaired. The gaps between the stones should be filled gradually by volume injection of the masonry with repair mortar.

In places where the wall has collapsed, it will have to be reconstructed completely, preserving the original arrangement of stones. The insertion of two drainage troughs is also planned. They would run along the stairs leading to the monument and along the wall itself.

Researchers point out that the conservation of stone monuments is always very labor intensive and expensive. To repair the wall, it is planned to use materials produced in Italy. Materials for the renovation of historic stone constructions produced there are known and valued all over the world.

The wall was probably built in 1945. It was built by soldiers of the 3rd Carpathian Rifle Division who stayed in Italy after the end of World War II before they were demobilized in Great Britain in 1946. It is now an integral part of the monument to the 3rd Carpathian Rifle Division.

Its revitalization is supervised and managed by the Department of Cultural Heritage Abroad and War Losses. It is attached to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage which is responsible for the maintenance of the Polish War Cemetery on Monte Cassino. As part of the work done so far, the fungal tissue destroying the travertine, the stone used to build the wall, has been removed and the inscriptions on the monument have been restored. Conservation work will be undertaken anew.

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