Benvenuti / Welcome to
Atina and the Val di Comino
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.
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 -
“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 -
Festa di Maria Santissima Addolorata -
Sagra della Pasta Cairese -
I Felicii Cornutelli -
Common Surnames of Caira
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
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
Website, text, photos
© LM Shapcott 2009 -
Except where photos have been rightfully accredited to the photographer / owner
Photos marked ● are in the Public Domain
Last Update May 2016