The cemetery is a small garden located nearby the Aurelian Walls in an area untouched by contemporary urbanization, and originally included into the Romans’Meadows next to the Protestant Cemetery.

The cemetery holds 426 graves and was built after the entry of the Allied force into Rome on the 4th June of 1944. At the entrance, an inscription, written in Latin and English, recalls the period of the war and commemorates the soldiers who had contributed to the regained freedom of the Italian people. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is entrusted with the cemetery’s maintenance. Founded in the 1917 by Sir Fabian Ware and then called the Imperial War Graves Commission, it has six independent member countries; the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa. Its task is to build and maintain cemeteries and memorials commemorating the Commonwealth forces Soldiers who died in the two world wars. In Italy there are approximately 50,000 Commonwealth war dead of whom 42,000 died in the Second World War.

The cemeteries have common design features: at the entrance, a bronze register box holds a list of the dead and, in the larger cemeteries, a memorial plaque recalls the military campaigns. Cemeteries with more than 40 graves, such as Rome War Cemetery, have a “Cross of Sacrifice”, a sculpture comprising a cross on an octagonal pedestal. The graves are marked by simple rectangular headstones with a curved upper side and laid out in parallel rows. The nationality, rank and religion of the casualty are inscribed on the headstone. Horticulture plays an integral part of the cemeteries’ design. Flowering plants are near every grave whilst the rest of the cemetery is laid to grass. The design intention is to present a homely atmosphere of peace and serenity to the visitor.

(A. Contino)