This morning we will make an excursion a short distance south, then work our back to Ravenna for a free afternoon. The weather looks good again today. Here is our route!
Our first stop is the very spot where Ernest "Smokey" Smith displayed incredible courage, and earned himself the third and final Victoria Cross of the Italian Campaign. It was at the Savio River where he fought off a German attack which included tanks. When asked what makes VC recipients different, he said, "You get in that position where you’ve got to fight. Somebody’s got to fight, you can’t all sit around. They’ve got a job to do."
Time to turn the coach around and head back north, to Villanova di Bagnacavallo. The Canadians fought right through these little villages, while contending with one river crossing after another. Read Mark Zuehlke's most recent book The River Battles for an amazing account.
We stop for a coffee and then walk up the street to Villanova Canadian War Cemetery, a very small but poignant place where just 212 of our boys await a visit. We usually encounter some wonderful local villagers here, who are eager to meet Canadians and, despite language differences, tell everyone how grateful they are for their freedom.
Our half day of battlefield touring is done, we have earned a break. We head back to Ravenna where you have a free afternoon to explore and find lunch.
In the mid-afternoon, optionally and at no extra charge, those who choose it can join a private walking tour in Ravenna to see some of the world famous mosaics, with our local expert as your personal guide. It's a fascinating insight into the history of this small but important city.
We settle in for a second and final evening in Ravenna. Tomorrow, we are on the road to our final destination ... for two days of world famous awesomeness!