Memorial Day Weekend starts summer season at Camp Darby

Story and photo by Chiara Mattirolo
USAG Livorno Public Affairs

5/21/2009- Memorial Day Weekend at Camp Darby, Italy, marks the beginning of the summer season with the opening of the American Beach in Tirrenia, the Annual European Softball Championship and the Memorial Day celebration at the Florence American Cemetery.

“The American Beach is the ideal resort for families, where children can play and have fun in a safe area and parents can relax, enjoy good food, sun and clean sand while professional lifeguards are checking on our children's safety,” said Rosemary Musto, Purchasing Agent, Army NAF Contracting Europe. “The beach is fully equipped with a guarded parking lot, umbrellas, chairs, cabanas, covered pavilions, beach volley court, kayaks, pedal boats, boogie boards, playground equipment, showers, snack and drink bars.

U.S. Army Garrison Livorno Command Sgt. Maj. Felix Rodriguez added that ”this long weekend represents a unique occasion for the U.S. families in Europe to come to Camp Darby and discover the beauty of this area. Besides, this is the only American beach in Europe and this fantastic location offers the possibility of visiting numerous major tourist cities like Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terre and Siena, just to name a few,” said Rodriguez.

Camp Darby is host to numerous sporting tournaments. The Annual European Softball Championship held on Memorial Day Weekend, draws top Men and Women's teams from across Europe.

“We have 20 teams that have already signed up,” said Jimmy Roddy, Camp Darby Fitness Center director. “Interested teams can contact the Fitness Center at DSN 633-7438.”

While enjoying the upcoming summer season, on Memorial Day Weekend, it is imperative to find some time to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers. The Florence American Cemetery, an hours drive from Camp Darby, holds a very touchy memorial honoring of those who lost their lives during World War II.

“Memorial day is a time when our Nation comes together as a whole to celebrate and pay respect to those who lost their lives fighting in war,” said John Luncheon, Florence American Cemetery superintendent.

According to Luncheon, the Memorial Day ceremony starts at 11 a.m. on May 25.

Camp Darby offers an array of lodging options

Photos and story by Chiara Mattirolo
USAG Livorno Public Affairs

    Military members and their families don t have to give up planning a summer vacation in Tuscany due to the dollar to Euro exchange rate. Camp Darby, perfectly situated along the Italian coast in Tuscany, offers an array of lodging options with prices much more economical then on the economy.

    "During the month of May, tourists can get a special reduction at Sea Pines Lodge- they stay for five nights and they only pay for four," said Francesco Licata, Sea Pines Lodge operations Assistant. "The Sea Pines Lodge accommodations feature standard rooms and deluxe rooms all equipped with bathroom, refrigerator, microwave, TV/VCR/DVD, kitchen area with table and air conditioning or heating system; the deluxe rooms have a private patio with table and barbecue grill."

    Mr. Licata adds that Camp Darby recently finished an additional eight new standard cabins completely equipped with microwave, refrigerator, TV/VCR/DVD, and air conditioning or heating system that can host four people.

    "We now have 15 standard cabins and five deluxe available to rent; the deluxe include indoor plumbing," said Mr. Licata. "Camping fans can enjoy our large campsite with electricity, water points, picnic tables, barbecue grills and shower facilities."

    Accommodation can also be found at the Casa Toscana, the official Army Lodging Facility.

    At Camp Darby, pets are welcome to come and relax at the campgrounds or at the climate controlled Darby Kennel. Customers need to make reservations at least two working days prior to drop-off at Outdoor Recreation at DSN 633-7589.

    With lodging in every price range and configuration, make Camp Darby your destination of choice this summer.