Has anyone been to these towns?
I have been to Monte Cassino as well as the city of Cassino (directly below the abbey). There's nothing in Cassino itself worth seeing (it's a modern city since it was destroyed in WW2). Monte Cassino along with the nearby Polish cemetary are definitely worth a visit. Is there something in particular you would like to know about the city? I'm sorry I can't help you with Subiaco.
Sarah, how did you get the MonteCassino ? I will be coming from Rome and want to do a day trip either here or to Subiaco.
Sonny, I have family in Aquino (about 10 min. away) & my cousin took me. If you're going by train, there are taxis in Cassino and I would imagine they could take you up to the abbey. If you're driving, there's an exit for Cassino off the A1. Also, if driving, watch going up the road to the abbey -- there are a lot of tour buses that go up and down and the road zig zags up the side of the moutain & it's not very wide.
My father in law comes from just outside Cassino, so I've been there three or four times. The abbey is beautiful, the area itself has a wonderful rugged beauty, but the town of Cassino itself is nothing special, as the PP noted, it was all destroyed during the war. The cemetaries are interesting to see, I remember I really enjoyed the climb up the mountain (by car of course) and seeing the abbey.
Kim - we visited Monte Cassino about 10 years ago. We were traveling with my husbands parents who are Canadian. When we visited the cemetary they actually recognized names of older brothers of people they had known. When we went to Monte Cassino my husband and I were also sobered. The museum is a testament to what was there before the Allies (we) bombed it all - the incredible Abbey of Monte Cassino. It was a strange feeling for us to be on the other side - i.e. not exactly celebrating the Victories of WWII. It was very worthwhile.
Though the town is new, we still found it charming. In the evening we happened into a small restaurant and by the end we were the only ones left besides the family. They came and sat with us and we talked with the patriarch who was about the age of my in-laws. With our limited Italian we were able to understand his story of being in Cassino when the bombs dropped and "death came from the sky". Thanks for the chance relive this travel episode.
Kim, we found visiting the monastery at Monte Cassino to be an extremely moving experience.. we drove there with my Italian cousins who live about an hour away. There are some decent and reasonable restaurants in Cassino. Very reasonable English-speaking guides give a good tour of the monastery. If you are going I suggest you try to get a little background on the WWII battle and the subsequent events. I am still hunting up and reading accounts of the camapign from both the Allied and German sides. Fascinating and eye-opening...