Florence American Cemetery and Memorial

The Florence American Cemetery is situated approximately 7.5 miles south of Florence, Italy on one of the main roads connecting Florence with Siena and Rome.

(Click on the above photos for a larger jpeg version)

The cemetery is open daily to the public during the following hours:

Open 9:00 a.m. - 17:00 p.m. daily

(closed on Easter and Christmas)

World War II in Italy history

(as inscribed on the granite panels located on the grounds)

On 19 July 1943, American and British forces, covered by gunfire of the Western Naval task force and aircraft of the Twelfth Air Force, landed on the shores of Sicily. The U.S. Seventh Army advanced rapidly over the west and north of the island, with the British Eighth Army on its right. This swift campaign liberated the island in 39 days.

On 9 September, under cover of naval and air bombardment, the U.S. Fifth Army landed near Salerno. Fighting its way inland it joined the Eighth Army which had crossed the straits of Messina. By 1 October, Naples and the airfields near Foggia had been seized; from the latter the U.S. Fifteenth Air Force launched its strategic attacks on Austria, the Balkans and Germany.

Against determined opposition, the Fifth and Eighth Armies drove northward. To assist the advance, Allied troops on 22 January 1944 landed in the Anzio region but the enemy's prompt reaction prevented exploitation of this beachhead. On 11 May the two armies launched a general attack; the Fifth Army aided by the Twelfth Air Force breached the enemy defenses in the mountains north of Gaeta. The troops in the beachhead joined the attack and on 4 June the Fifth Army entered Rome.

Following the liberation of Rome, the Allies maintained their pursuit of the enemy. By 18 July 1944, the U.S. Fifth Army had advanced 150 miles up the west coast and had liberated Leghorn (Livorno). In central Italy and along the Adriatic the British Eighth Army had paralleled this advance. After pausing to reorganize, the Fifth Army crossed the Arno and pursued the retreating enemy into the mountains to the outposts of the Gothic Line.

After difficult fighting the Fifth Army cut through this strong defense system to reach Firenzuola and the Santerno Valley on 21 September. The same day, British troops having forced successive defended river lines, entered Rimini. the U.S. Twelfth Air Force and the Desert Air Force materially contributed to these advances by their close support and their continuous attacks against rear areas. The advance to the Santerno Valley had outflanked the strong defenses of Futa Pass, which was occupied on 22 September by American forces. During October, the Allied advances continued at a slower pace against stiffened resistance. By the end of the month, hampered by bad personnel and difficulties of supply, the Fifth Army, now only nine miles short of Bologna and within sight of the Po Valley, prepared for its second winter in Italy.

Early in April 1945, gains along both coasts marked the end of the winter halt. After a week of heavy fighting our troops broke into the Po Valley. Preceded by bomber and fighter aircraft which harassed the fleeing enemy, the Allied advance continued unchecked across the Po, then spread out to the north, east and west to close the frontiers. On 2 May 1945, the enemy in Italy surrendered unconditionally.


The Florence American Cemetery, 70 acres in extent, is one of fourteen permanent American World War II military cemetary memorials erected on foreign soil by the American Battle Monuments Commission. The site was liberated on 3 August 1944 by the South African 6th Armoured Division and later became part of the zone of the U.S. Fifth Army. It is located astride the Greve River and is framed by wooded hills which rise several hundred feet to the west.

The 4,402 servicemen and women interred in the cemetary represent 39 percent of the temporary burials originally made between Rome and the Alps. Most died in the fighting which occurred after the capture of Rome in June 1944. Included among them are casualties of the heavy fighting in the Apennines shortly before the war's end.


Architects for the cemetery and its memorials were McKim, Mead and White of New York. The landscape architects were Clarke and Rapuano, also of New York.


Go back to the HOME Page

(Last update: 25 July 1995)
Copyright © 1995 by The Amerigo Vespucci Committee