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Rovereto: At the Heart of the Italian Front
Rovereto in the Italian Trentino was once an ancient fortress town standing at the frontier between Trento and the Republic of Venice, on the route leading south from the Brenner Pass through the Alps. It stood just inside the Austrian Tyrol when war came with Italy in 1915. Hostilities broke out nearby in the fortress zone east of the city and ended with the Austrian appeal for an armistice at the front line, just south of the city. Rovereto's magnificent setting holds a remarkable number of sites of interest to military history enthusiasts. A selection (not all) are shown in the photo above:
A. On Miraville Hill overlooking the city and the Adige River valley is the "Maria Dolens" bell. Made from the war's cannons, it tolls 100 times every evening at sundown in a ceremony that is the Italian Front's equivalent to the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate.
B. In the center city is the national monument to Italy's elite mountain warriors, the Alpini, who bore the brunt of the "High War" in the surrounding mountains.
C. Towering over the city's center is the Castello di Rovereto, which, since 1921, has housed Italy's national war museum, the Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra. The wonderful collection includes displays remembering all the participants in the Great War, unique items on the mountain war, and an especially good display of artillery pieces in an adjacent site.
D. Above the city, accessible by auto and by (usually) short walks, are a number of trenches, observation posts, and artillery positions of both sides. Shown here is the view from the Austro-Hungarian fortified position at Nagia Grom on the opposite side of the river from Rovereto.
E. Just south of the city is the marker commemorating the site where Austria-Hungary formally requested an armistice on 29 October 1918.
|Thanks to Robbie Patriagni, who guided me on both my visits to Rovereto and Trento and helped make my 2011 Italian Front tour a success.||
Robbie and an Alpini Veteran at Nagia Grom