Rome War Cemetery lies alongside and within the Aurelian Wall of the ancient city of Rome. It is reached from the Piazza Venezia, the centre of Rome, by going down the Via dei Fori Imperiali, past the Coliseum, and along the Viale Aventino as far as the Porta San Paolo. Before reaching this gate and the monument Pyramid of Caius Cestius, take the road to the right along the wall of the so called Protestant Cemetery, in which are buried the poets Keats and Shelley. Across the road at the far end of that cemetery will be seen Rome War Cemetery, on Via Nicola Zabaglia 50, Monte Testaccio. Alternatively, take the metro and get off at Piramide Metro Station, which is close to Rome War Cemetery, on Via Nicola Zabaglia 50, Monte Testaccio. Cemetery address: Via Nicola Zabaglia 50 - 00153 Roma (RM) Lazio. GPS Co-ordinates: Latitude: 41.87502, Longitude: 12.477238.
On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but the advance was checked for some months at the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line. Operations in January 1944 landed troops behind the German lines at Anzio, but a breakthrough was not achieved until 18 May when, after fierce fighting, Cassino finally fell to the Allies. Rome was taken on 3 June as the German withdrawal continued. The cemetery was started shortly afterwards and was used mainly for burials from the occupying garrison, but a few graves were brought in from the surrounding country, and some soldiers and airmen who died as prisoners of war in Rome are also buried there. Rome War Cemetery contains 426 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.