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

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Italy's Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra

Castello di Rovereto

In Italy's Trentino, looming over the city of Rovereto, is a castle on a rocky crag at its western edge. Today it is the home of Italy's Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra (Museum of War History), inaugurated in 1921 to house artifacts from several wars but mainly featuring World War I.  Outside here are a number of large artillery pieces and plaques along the walls at the base of the castle and marvelous views are to be had from atop the castle ramparts: from here can be seen the town's red tile roofs, its church steeples, old world streets and city walls. The River Adige sparkles below.

A Bersagliere ( A Mobile Light Infantryman)

The museum itself includes small arms and ammunition; uniforms of several units from a variety of countries; posters and displays related not only to Italy but to the Czechs, Austro-Hungarians, and other countries as well; and much other material. A proclamation from Austrian emperor Franz Joseph to his Italian subjects is appropriately signed "Francesco Giuseppe." The daily life of the soldiers can be glimpsed from the articles they manufactured giving a strong sense of what army life was like during the war.

The Larger Artillery Pieces Are on Display in a Museum Annex

Also to be seen in the museum are such things as gas masks, flamethrowers, alpine uniforms and snowshoes, body armor, trench clubs with spikes, knives with brass knuckles handles, bugles and signaling devices, maps and topographic models, medals and decorations, photographs and old newspapers. Among the latter is a photograph showing Austrian soldiers carrying a white flag of surrender on 29 October 1918.

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