There are in the world some little museums that have nothing to envy to the large one, because they are remembering a local history made by the personal experiences and local stories. One of this little but very meaningful museum is that of Prata Sannita.
If you are looking for a modern building, you are wrong. The museum is housed in the Castle of Prata, a wonderful ancient private building on the top of the old medieval village called Prata Vecchia. The village was probably founded by the Lombard more about 1000 years ago, after the raids of the Saracens. After so many years nothing of the original building is still there, but we can still visit the castle and see the XIV century building. In the last centuries, after having been a defensive castle, has become a cosy residence for many important families, as for example the Sanframondo, or Pandone, and now, in the last 150 years the Scuncio family.
The owner of the Castle will welcome us, and he will be thrilled to show us his little collection of WWI and WWII memorabilia and photos. His name is Vittorio Scuncio, and he started to collect relics of the First and Second World War, when he was a young boy, to save them from destruction.
The part regarding the Second World War, set up in some large ancient room on the castle, collects the memorabilia of the different Armies that fought in this area, in the 1943-1944. Vittorio was focused on the battles that took place between Salerno and Roma, with a particular interest in the area of the Medio Volturno. His exposition consists not only of relics, helmets, weapons and so on but also meaningful pictures that can help visitors to better understand the landing of the Allies in Salerno, the battles on the defensive lines of Caiazzo e Capriati al Volturno, passing through Prata, untill the conquest and breaking of the Winterline. But you can easily imagine, that a WWII addicted like Vittorio, could not avoid the possibility to collect also memorabilia about the Gustav Line and the Four Battles of Montecassino.
So his collection on display is made up also of relics coming from Cassino and Anzio-Nettuno.
Vittorio is proud to have in his collection not only relicts found in Prata Sannita, but also some that had been transformed to be used for farm work, an helmet fer example was transformed in a wateringplace for cows. He has also some Canadian tents, the Canadian Army left in the Castle. While the Allied were preparing the assault to the Gustav Line, the Canadians stopped in Prata, and because the wind in the winter period was very strong, they looked for a sheltered place to stay in the local cemetery, and the castle. When they left, the tents remained in the cellars of the castle.
Vittorio decided in the last years to collect also the ancient memories of the inhabitant of Prata, that were witnesses on the War period, and could add something personal to the official Big History.
Vittorio and his WWII museum is an absolutely must see for all the WWII enthusiasts.
If you want to visit it with a Second World War Tour Guide, write me, I will be happy to organize a guided tour of the Museum of Prata Sannita.
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Dr. Anna Maria Priora Ph.D
WW2 Monte Cassino Battlefield expert, researcher and tour guide