Well-located and easily reachable (just a couple of hundred metres from the train station in Catania), the Museo dello Sbarco is definitely worth including in any visit to Catania. The prescribed route through the museum starts off in a reconstructed "piazza" which could be have been located in any small Sicilian town of the 1940s. Passing through a bunker, in which you get to experience what it would have been like during one of the raids, you exit into the "same" piazza after it has been destroyed by the allies bombs. It's a stark impression.
After that, the route takes you through the well laid-out exhibits, clearly labelled and displayed, and detailing some fascinating aspects of the second world war in Sicily. There is some fascinating and poignant black and white footage and plenty of maps and photographs to explain the course of events.
The route through the museum finishes with a haunting reconstruction of a war cemetery and scrolling display of the the "roll of honour".
I visited with two ten year old boys who already had a keen fascination for the topic, were inevitably wrapped up in the 'guns' and who had heard much about the stories of the war from grandparents who lived through it. However, the poignancy of this final room gave them pause for thought and they sat, immovable, for a full ten minutes just reading the list of names of the fallen.
It was an excellent visit and got the thumbs up from all of us. We stayed about an hour and a half - which was perfect for the boys - but I could have stayed at least as long again and still been absorbed.
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