The route: Province of Gorizia

Austro–Hungarian War Cemetery


Less than a kilometer away from Redipuglia’s shrine, towards the village of Fogliano, it’s possible to visit the Austro–Hungarian war...

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Austro–Hungarian War Cemetery


Less than a kilometer away from Redipuglia’s shrine, towards the village of Fogliano, it’s possible to visit the Austro–Hungarian war cemetery which gathers 14.5000 Austro-Hungarian fallen who were transferred there from other surrounding graveyards.
2.500 corpses have been identified and their tombs, that are aligned in mounds of earth and marked by concrete memorial stones, display the name of each warrior. At the yard’s centre, in a grand common grave surmounted by a cross, lie 7.000 unknown soldiers, while 5.000 more rest in two tombs at the cemetery’s sides.


Gorizia's Great War Museum


From June 1915 to October 1917, on the Isontino Karst, have taken place some of the First World War’s cruelest battles. A million soldiers...

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Gorizia's Great War Museum


From June 1915 to October 1917, on the Isontino Karst, have taken place some of the First World War’s cruelest battles. A million soldiers, belonging to both armies, have scarified their lives in continuous assaults to conquer a few meters of soil.
The Karst was very inhospitable to the soldiers. The harsh climate included sultry summers and icy winters. The chalky stone made it almost impossible to dig trenches, and, moreover, it turned into crumbs when hit by bombs, whose explosion were even more lethal. Furthermore the absence of surface water terrorized the soldiers who could very easily die of thirst.
Life was a hard and terrible challenge on the front that started from the Timavo’s springs, spread towards the Vallone and finally climbed the mountains that protected Gorizia.
On the plateau it is still possible to see the remains of those battles, which have lasted more than two years. Trenches, caves, monuments, milestones, graveyards and charnel houses remind of the terrible suffering that soldiers from all over the world found there.

Gorizia’s Great War Museum is located in the basements of Borgo Castello, the compound that develops at the feet of the fort walls. The exhibition itinerary is structured in nine rooms.
The first room is dedicated to the trench warfare and to all the fallen. It recreates a small portion of the battlefield where two rival soldiers find a common deathly end.
The other rooms follow a thematic path which considers: uniforms, relics, weapons and scale models, and focuses on the everyday life of trench soldiers, reproducing, among the others, a real trench. The museum gives also prominence to a collection of documents and relics that belonged to General Diaz which were given as a gift by the family in the 80’s.



Ara Pacis Mundi


The Italian troops entered in Medea, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on May 24, 1915, at war’s beginning...

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Ara Pacis Mundi


The Italian troops entered in Medea, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on May 24, 1915, at war’s beginning.
Some months later, on the hill that dominates most of the friulan plain, an observation post was erected. King Vittorio Emanuele III and his Generals employed the height to inspect the Italian front, and, as a matter of fact, from that perspective, they could watch the mountains surrounding Gorizia, the lower course of Isonzo and the entire Karst. After the defeat of Caporetto, Medea was once again occupied by the imperial troops until November 4, when it once again became part of the Italian Kingdom.
On July 18, 1915, during the conquest of Mount San Michele, the most crucial point of the entire Karst front, the Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna chose to follow the battle from Medea’s observatory, instead of using Udine like he used to.
Italian soldiers lost and won the San Michele twice, but the human loss was tremendous. On the 26th, rival troops forced the Italians to beat a retreat in order not to be encircled.
On that circumstance Cadorna wrote: “I witnessed to Medea’s show and it was magnificently tragic".
On Medea’s hill rises now the grand Ara Pacis Mundi, built in 1951 by the Milanese architect Mario Baiocchi. It was dedicate to all war’s dead, as a symbol of hope of peace, freedom and justice.
Inside the Ara Pacis there’s a wooden urn with the following incision “Odium parit mortem, vitam progignit amor” (Hate produces death, love generates life). It contains 800 cases that keep the soil of all the fronts, of many war cemeteries, of concentration and extermination camps as well as water taken from the places where thousands of mariners and soldiers found death. It symbolizes the pain and the destruction that follows every war.
Not far from the Ara Pacis there’s a milestones that shows exactly where the observatory used to be.


Monfalcone


Monfalcone was struck by war since its early stages, when the Italian troops, while conquering the isontino, entered the town and transformed...

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Monfalcone


Monfalcone was struck by war since its early stages, when the Italian troops, while conquering the isontino, entered the town and transformed it into a massive control centre that consisted of hospitals, graveyards, warehouses, housings and so on. The high grounds (or “quote”) behind Monfalcone became the main front in the war between Italians and Austro-Hungarians. Eleven, bloody battles preceded the twelfth Battle of Isonzo, that led to Caporetto’s defeat. Every meter of that soil was disputed, occupied, gained and lost by both rival troupes endless times causing uncountable deaths. Conquer one “quota” meant blood, woundeds, death, dishonor or glory.
This territory is still deeply marked by those tragic years of war: milestones, trenches, fortified caves, machine guns posts and shelters, fill The Great War's theme park, an open air museum built on the high grounds surrounding Monfalcone.
The theme park is divided in three main sections. The first one comprehends the “quota 121”, the highest of all: from there the Austrians repelled the continuous attacks of the third Italian army until the August of 1916 when, after the sixth battle on the Isonzo, the Italians won the hill. It’s still possible to visit trenches, machine gun posts that were built by Italians over the preceding Austro- Hungarian front. Along the way, visitors can also read many war’s inscriptions, wrote by soldiers in moments of peace (“Farewell my home”, “We want peace”, “Stop! You shall not pass”, ”Savoia”, ”Down with war” are some of the incisions that were left by soldiers, along with dates, names, drawings and so on).
The second section comprehends the trench of the “Quota 85”, also known as “Enrico Toti”, as a memorial to the famous Italian volunteer who lost his life during the Sixth Isonzo Battle. In the sink-hole still exists some machine gun posts and ruined shacks. Some milestones, on the other hand, recall the units that fought in the zone between 1915 and 1917, as well as the fallen warriors who were given a purple heart.
The third section is marked by two natural caves that were adapted for military purposes. The discovery of a huge underground cave, the so called Virgin Cave, gave to Italian troupes an excellent shelter from rival cannons. Over the cave’s entry hangs a half ruined plate and a feminine figure holding a palm branch. The trenches connected Monfalcone’s railway station with “Quota 98”, cutting the way out to enemies’ invasions.

The theme park’s entrances are in via del Carso and in Salita Mocenigo, not far from Monfalcone.


Oslavia's Shrine


The Oslavia’s shrine was built in 1938 to contain the remains of 57.741 soldiers, 36.000 of which unknown, who died in the battles of Gorizia. Most troopers are of Italian origins...

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Oslavia's Shrine


The Oslavia’s shrine was built in 1938 to contain the remains of 57.741 soldiers, 36.000 of which unknown, who died in the battles of Gorizia. Most troopers are of Italian origins (13 gained a golden medal), but 540 of them came from Austria.
The monument, which looks like a solid and severe fort, is composed by a big central mast, that surmounts a crypt, and three others lateral towers, located at the vertexes of a triangle and connected by underground passages. On the outside, not far from the left tower, there’s a bell named “Chiara”, which plays every day at twilight to honor the fallen.


Redipuglia


The historic-military complex of Redipuglia, inaugurated in 1938, includes: the Shrine, which collects the remains of 100.000 WWI fallen; the near trenches and the museum which...

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Redipuglia


The historic - military complex of Redipuglia, inaugurated in 1938, includes: the Shrine, which collects the remains of 100.000 WWI fallen; the near trenches and the museum which displays a great variety of war relics, photos, films and documents and a full size reconstruction of a trench and of a battlefield portion.
The complex, built on the western slope of Mount Sei Busi, bitterly contested in the earlier phases of the Great War, looks like a military deployment at whose base rises the tomb of the Duke of Aosta, commander of the 3rd Army, which includes, at the sides, the graves of his generals. Arranged in a twenty-two steps building, it contains the remains of 39,857 identified fallen. On the last step two large common graves were built to keep the corpses of 6.330 unknown soldiers. In the adjacent chapel, as well as in two other rooms, are collected many personal objects belonging to austro-hungarian and italian soldiers.
At the feet of the shrine, the museum “Casa 3^Armata” recollects a great deal of weapons, equipments, relics and objects that were found on the front. It also contains a full size reconstruction of a trench and of a battlefield's portion. In two rooms, dedicated respectively to the Third Army and to the Air Force, hang many old documents and photos.


Mount San Michele


The Sacred Area of Mount San Michele is one of the Great War symbols. On these peaks, tens of thousands soldiers....

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Mount San Michele


The Sacred Area of Mount San Michele is one of the Great War symbols. On these peaks, tens of thousands soldiers died to win but a few meters of land.
Mount San Michele, the main stronghold of the Austro-Hungarian Empire on the Isonzo Karst, was bitterly contested by the two armies, since its conquest allowed to control both the plain of Gorizia and the valley of Vipacco, and the plateau of Doberdò.
Any italian attempt to attack was blocked by the constant bombing carried out by enemy troops, that were sheltered by the large and heavily armed caves that opened just below the summit. From here the Hungarian departments of the 4th regiment "Honved", at the dawn of June 29, 1916, attacked Italian troops with nerve gas. That was the first recorded use of chemical weapons on the Italian front and it caught the wards completely off guard, especially because of the lack of adequate gas masks. About two thousand foot soldiers passed directly from sleep to death. Several thousand, who turned out to be more or less intoxicated, died afterwards in rear hospitals or remained crippled forever. On August 7, 1916, Italians conquered the San Michele: trenches and posts were reinforced and refurbished. Those that once belonged to the Austro-Hungarian army, were pointed at the new enemy and were opened to the east, to control the Austrian lines that retreated for a few kilometers in that direction. You can still visit the system of trenches, the broad underground structure of the gunboats tunnels and various military buildings: in these shelters, forced to live in harsh and abominable hygienic environmental conditions, the soldiers were dying by the thousands.
In the monumental area of San Michele there are also several memorial stones and pieces of artillery and you can visit a small museum, which hosts many photos, some memorabilia and a model of the arrangement of the mountain after the Italian conquest.

The small village of San Martino del Carso, that was completely destroyed during the war and is universally known thanks to the famous poem by Giuseppe Ungaretti, was the center of clashes between the Austrians, on top of Mount St. Michele, and Italians, who were attacking from the slopes of Mount Boscocappuccio.
Here, the Austrians used poisonous gasses for the first time (chlorine and phosgene) that, on June 28, 1916, caused the death of 6,000 italian soldiers and 3,000 Austro–Hungarians warriors: the gases fell on the first line trenches of the XI Army Corps, finding the Italian soldiers completely unprepared and killing thousands with maces. Hundreds of soldiers were also hit in the Hungarian rear guard, as a result of a sudden change in wind direction. It is on this tragic event that focuses the permanent exhibition that is housed in the Museum of San Martino.


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