Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Forgotten and Somewhat Unpopular War Memorial: Bolzano, Italy

During the war, Bolzano, Italy, formerly within the Austro-Hungarian Empire was the key rail depot for the only line supporting the empire's forces in the Trentino. It is also the site of possibly the least-liked and least-known World War I National Victory Monument. The reasons for this include the fact that Mussolini's Fascists built it, that it was placed in a smaller, little-visited city, and that much of the present population, while comfortable with their present arrangement with the Italian government, does not necessarily identify with the victors of World War I. Then, again, there was the German occupation in World War II, but that is another story. 

Note the Surrounding Fence and the Fascist-Style Architecture

Built on the site of a former Austrian monument, the victory gate opened in 1928. It is located at the Piazza Vittoria near the city center, and there is a small museum nearby. According to Wikipedia, the monument still is a focal point of the tensions between the Italian- and German-speaking communities in Bolzano and is fenced off to protect it from defacement.


  1. From what I understand, you are saying that this monument was built after a victory for the empire forces, which the Italians did not fully support at the time. I also understand that the said monument is now allegedly a source of tension between the Italian- and German-speaking communities. I think that this tension between the two communities helps to elude to the fact that a second war can easily be sparked if any type of argument or disagreement were to occur.

  2. Interesting article! I'm curious as to why there would be an unfavorable statue still erected, considering the unpopularity. If it faces constant defacement and disdain, why wouldn't strives be made to demolish the statue? I understand it has historical context, but often the feelings of disdain can be stronger than historical preservation efforts.