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Itri


Atina and the Val di Comino

Caira



Caira is a small village, situated 3 km north of Cassino, with a newer expanding scattered community.  There is evidence of Roman activity in the area, the  remains of a Roman bridge and an aqueduct  which carried water down to Casinium / Cassino.

It is thought that the ancient church of San Basilio Vescovo, which stands in the centre of the village, was founded by a Greek colony during the Byzantine period.

For many years Caira was an isolated agricultural community which existed on a subsistence peasant economy. It was not until after the unification of Italy that a road was constructed linking Caira with Cassino.  The people are deeply proud of their local traditions and dialect.

Behind Caira rises Monte Cairo to a height of 1669 metres, which forms part of a mountain chain.  This area is now a protected natural reserve and an area now popular with paragliders. A winding road leads up to the town of Terelle.


photo from ww2today

Sergio Saragosso, who was once a teacher in Caira, has written 2 books (in Italian)  about the history of this community. The first is entitled: “Caira, Dalle Origini Ad Oggi” / "Caira From Its Origins To Today".

The second is called "Caira 1943 - 1944".  During the battles to liberate Montecassio during the Second World War Caira, being sited directly on the German Gustav Line, was amidst the heart of the fighting and bombing during this period.  Sergio Saragosso  describes the town’s suffering ...

“A terrible scene that had to be told”:

72 died of the direct consequences of war: of malaria, dysentery, and other lung diseases

29 died in the bombing between December 1943 and March 1944

3 deaths in German reprisals or shot by the Germans

24  killed by land mines that had been planted in the area

27 died during the displacement

39 for various reasons: among these were also 18 children

In all there were 194 civilian victims plus 16 soldiers who also died serving on various fronts during the war.

In all there were 210 victims.  The population of Caira before the war was around one thousand inhabitants: thus more than 20 percent were killed due to the fighting.

Just outside of Caira, on the secluded hill of Colle Marino, now stands the German War Grave Cemetery, the final resting place for more than 20,000  German soldiers who lost their lives during the fierce battles in the Salerno and Montecassino areas. A path leads up to the entrance lobby where there is a sculpture entitled “Grief and Consolation”.


The headstones are arranged in circular tiers around the hill, which is punctuated with sober pines and cypress trees.

In between the graves spreading Hypericum bushes have been planted.

Local Feasts and Celebrations include :


Festa di San Basilio Vescovo - 20th / 21st June

Festa di Maria Santissima Addolorata - September

Sagra della Pasta Cairese - September

I Felicii Cornutelli - A procession through the town of the lovers and married couples - November


Common Surnames of Caira

CAVALIERO

DE ANTONE, DE ANTONELLIS, DE CRAPONE, DE DUCE, DE FAZIO, DE FORLINO, DE GIORGIO

DE MIELE, DE MUNDO, DE MUNNO, DE NARDONE, DE PITTILLO, DE ROSSILLO, DE RUSSO, DE SARRAGOSA,

DE TISEO, DE TOSTI, DE TOSTO, DE VARONE, DE VECCHIS, DE VELARDIS, DI BELMONTE, DI LORENZO

FARDELLI, FARIGNOLO

MIELE

NARDONE

PAOLELLA, PAROLA

RUSSILLO

SARRAGOSA, SOAVE

TARI, TARO

VARONE


Does anyone have any more names to add to this list ?  

If you have family that originated from  Caira  please feel free to Contact me.   

I would love to hear from you.  Perhaps you have some photos or family information to share and contribute to this site.


Interesting Links Relating to Caira


Caira - Mapcarta

Facebook page - Parrocchia San Basilio Vescovo

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Last Update May 2016