Publication Date: 10/8/2013
Author: Cristiano Formicola
The USO Rome Center is conveniently located in the heart of the Eternal City near the Vatican. Located near the Ottaviano Metro stop, our center is easy to find and a great starting point during your Roman Holiday. We offer a hotel reservation service, great tours, airport transportation and free area information. And while in Rome, visit our center to relax and meet our friendly, informative staff, who can answer all your questions and provide you with area info, maps and more to help you make the most of your experience. Our services also include a free cyber net café, a comfortable lounge, American television, a canteen featuring American coffee and sweets, a kid's corner and the cleanest bathrooms in the city. Let us make your visit to Rome a sweet one!
Following the Allies liberation of Rome in June 1944, the first overseas "USO canteen" was established right here in the Eternal City. The canteen served American troops in Rome in the midst of World War II. Legend has is that after the Allies freed Rome, Monsignor Walter J. Carroll rode his bicycle from the Vatican to meet the commanding U.S. General Mark Clark in Piazza Venezia to request an urgent meeting with Pope Pius XII. The General insisted that he was not presentable to meet the Pope as he still needed a shower and a shave. But the Monsignor insisted at the Pope's urgent request.
Eventually, they both rode back to the Vatican by bicycle. The Pope warmly greeted and congratulated General Clark and then asked, "Now that we have so many American soldiers in Rome, what can we offer them 'to deliver them from evil' and keep them out of trouble in this town?" The Pope then suggested a piece of Vatican real estate in front of St. Peter's to create an 'American Catholic club for Allied Forces' center which evolved into the USO Rome Center, with the mission of creating and servicing a positive and healthy environment for U.S. Military personnel while in Rome.
Over sixty year later, the USO’s commitment to be America’s link with her men and women in uniform has withstood the test of time and that is nowhere more true that in Rome. With the continued dedication of the USO legion of volunteers and charitable support from individuals and corporations, the USO and its Rome Center will provide its "touch of home" for as long as we have those in service to their country.