The tiny town of Montemaggiore al Metauro was witness to an epic event in World War II. The Nazis' last major line of defense, the Gothic Line, stretched for 320 kilometers across the northern Apennines, from Pesaro to La Spezia. When the Allies wanted to drive the Gothic Line further north, they hatched a plan that became known as Operation Olive. So it happened that Operation Olive was launched in the Metauro valley on August 25, 1944. The idea was to assault known German positions along the Adriatic Coast and inland, to drive them further north, but also to draw attention and resources away from Operation Overland and the invasion in France.

This valley and the nearby coast, as well as the inland hills, were the scene of battle. But another event put Montemaggiore on the map: Winston Churchill, accompanied by General Alexander, came to Montemaggiore al Metauro and stood on the ramparts of the walls, at their elevated position over the Metauro Valley, to watch the operation begin to unfold, just a couple kilometers away. This was the closest to the front that the prime minister ever came. The piazza is now named Belvedere Churchill in his honor. (Belvedere means 'beautiful view' or 'overlook'.)

A cute de-consecrated church holds photographs of that epic event and important battle, along artifacts, documents, military uniforms and interpretive exhibits. Officially called the "Museo Civico-Storico-Ambientale del Fiume Metauro," it is most commonly referred to as the Winston Churchill Museum.

The museum is open on Saturday from 9:00 AM til 12 PM, and by appointment. It is located next to the town hall.

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Address in Montemaggiore al Metauro:

Via Roma.

Ph. (+39) 072 189 5521.

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