The route: Province of Udine

Aquileia


Being in Austrian territory, the Great War began for Aquileia in the summer of 1914. After crossing some barricades at the entrance of the...

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Aquileia


Being in Austrian territory, the Great War began for Aquileia in the summer of 1914. After crossing some barricades at the entrance of the village, the first units of sharpshooters entered in Aquileia on May 24, 1915, continuing their march towards Monfalcone. The patriarchal city and the surrounding area thus became one of the main rearguards of the 3rd Army in line on the Karst plateau.
There were built: barracks for the resting troops, warehouses, medical facilities as well as an airport (in Farella) and a narrow-gauge railway that connected Villa Vicentina to the port on the Natissa. The cemetery of Aquileia, that had been arranged for centuries around the basilica, was moved to another place to make way for an Italian war cemetery, where they began to be buried the first fallen from the Karst front. The Heroes Cemetery is a site of great historical importance because, unlike other cemeteries, ossuaries and memorials, is the only one to has retained its original shape, since the burials started in 1915. Also, exactly from this place, in 1921 departed the remains of the Unknown Soldier brought to the Fatherland’s Altar.
For the many families of those who died without a name, and for the entire nation prostrated from the conflict, Italy (as well as all the countries involved) established the figure of the Unknown Soldier. He’s a fallen man with no name, who died in battle, that establishes a religious and civil liturgy to represent the sacrifices and the patriotism of the whole people in arms.
Eleven bodies, of unknown fallen from the various battlefields, were gathered in the Basilica of Aquileia, where, through a complex ritual, the mother of a dispersed volunteer from Trieste, Maria Bergamas, chose the dead body that had to symbolize the sacrifice of the whole nation. Loaded on a special train with the symbols of victory, the chosen coffin was hoisted on a wagon adorned with flags, weapons and remnants, which, accompanied by a guard of honor, traveled from Trieste to Rome, covering half of Italy between reverent crowds and indescribable scenes of patriotism and mourning. The most impressive patriotic demonstration of united Italy culminated on November 4, 1921 in Rome, in the presence of King Vittorio Emanuele III, with a big parade and the remains of the Unknown Soldier buried with full honors at the Vittoriano, the royal mausoleum inaugurated in 1911 which then became the Altar of the Fatherland of all Italians.
The Heroes Cemetery in Aquileia is characterized by the elegant, wrought iron and bronze crosses, decorated with a tangle of laurel and oak, which in the circular plate contain the words " Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" (Sweet and beautiful is to die for the Fatherland) with the fallen’s name right in the middle. Within the cemetery you will find important marble groups, such as the arched stone niche above the grave of ten soldiers with no name, at the foot of which lies the burial of Maria Bergamas, the mother who chose the body of the Unknown Soldier to transfer in Rome. “The dying Christ”, which depicts Jesus Christ on the cross while comforting two infantrymen at his feet; “The angel of charity” where a wounded soldier is supported by a female figure with wings. Among the important tombs there’s that of Giovanni Randaccio, commander of the "Wolves of Tuscany".



Cervignano del Friuli


On May 23, 1914, Italy declared war to Austria and entered the conflict. The following day, as first military statement...

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Cervignano del Friuli


On May 23, 1914, Italy declared war to Austria and entered the conflict. The following day, as first military statement, the Italian army aimed its cannons against Austro-Hungarian troops, barricaded in Cervignano del Friuli, which was going to be freed a few hours later. It is from the square immediately adjacent to the current bridge on the Ausa river, that the first artillery shot was fired by Italians. On site there is still a plaque commemorating the event, as well as the projectile cannon, never exploded and defused, still stuck in the wall of the building. On the same bridge, on the facade of an old house (known as the "hermitage"), is placed a commemorative stone in memory of the staying in Cervignano of Gabriele D'Annunzio between July 1915 and May 1917.



Jainich


In Janich, a small village near San Leonardo, in the heart of the Natisone Valleys, on the wall of the small St. Nicholas church, some black...

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Jainich


In Janich, a small village near San Leonardo, in the heart of the Natisone Valleys, on the wall of the small St. Nicholas church, some black crosses are engraved with names and a date. They mark the graves of some German soldiers who died on October 27, 1917 while pursuing Italian troops that were retreating after the breakthrough on the front of Caporetto. The church, which dates back in the Middle Ages but was restored in the mid-nineteenth century, stands on a ledge overlooking the villages below. On the building’s side there is also a memorial stone and a plaque commemorating the events surrounding the Battle of Mount Spig which saw the 8th Grenadier Regiment of Brandenburg fight against about 500-600 soldiers of the 3rd Italian division. Without ammunition, and incessantly hit by enemy artillery fire, after a long and strenuous defense, Italians were surrounded and taken as prisoner.


Santa Maria la Longa


Santa Maria la Longa has never been directly involved in the war, but it’s has been a crucial point in the cantonment of thousands of...

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Santa Maria la Longa


Santa Maria la Longa has never been directly involved in the war, but it’s has been a crucial point in the cantonment of thousands of soldiers sent to fight on the Isonzo front. Its restaurants, taverns, the Soldier's Home (which was occasionally helped by the “Teatro al Fronte”), became places of rest and illusory tranquility to soldiers who waited to return to the forefront. The four field hospitals, set up in the municipal area to accommodate the wounded from war zones, were housed in as many mansions: Villa Bearzi, Villa Morelli de Rossi (hamlet of Mereto di Capitolo), villa Torso (hamlet of Tissano); villa Porta-Braida (hamlet of Ronchiettis). The villa of the Counts of Colloredo was the seat of the aerial photograph Department of the first Airplane Group, and occasionally, for about six months, the house of Gabriele d' Annunzio who, before that, had lived for a month in villa Bearzi.
Santa Maria la Longa is also remembered for the most serious revolt in the Italian army during the conflict, which occurred in July 1917. After many months of war, the brigade Catanzaro was sent to the rear for a rest, the news of a new re-employment in the first line trenches slowly assembled, in a few hours, what would become a real revolt. The rebellion lasted all night and was quelled only at dawn thanks to the intervention of a police officers’ company and the use of heavy weapons. The brigade’s commander ordered the decimation of those soldiers: from that dawn to the next day, sixteen soldiers were shot near the boundary wall of the cemetery of Santa Maria La Longa and buried in a mass grave.
A metal stele by artist Giorgio Celiberti in front of the town hall and a plaque on the cemetery’s wall remember this painful episode.

Among the many soldiers who found rest in Santa Maria there was also the infantryman, Giuseppe Ungaretti. In the winter of 1917, while in Santa Maria, he composed three poems: "Sleeping", "Solitude" and the famous "Morning", a masterpiece of Hermeticism only two words written on January 26, 1917: "M'illumino d’immenso". To commemorate the event, in the central Piazza Divisione Julia, was placed a statue in karstic stone by friulan sculptor Franco Maschio, depicting a body that rises and arches. Nearby, there are also three karst rocks that bear etched the poems by Ungaretti.



Visinale's War Memorial


In the little village of Visinale (hamlet of Corno di Rosazzo) a symbolic monument was built. It is related to the event, in between history and legend, that saw two...

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Visinale's War Memorial


In the little village of Visinale (hamlet of Corno di Rosazzo) a symbolic monument was built. It is related to the event, in between history and legend, that saw two financiers, guarding the near bridge on the Judrio (that back then was the boundary line), that suspicious of unusual movements during the night of May 23, 1915, fired the first Italian gunshot in World War I, making vain the action of some Austro-Hungarian military who had tried to undermine the bridge. For their gesture the two financiers received a bronze medal for military valor. The official documents, while confirming the incident and its protagonists, can’t prove that those shots were actually the first to be fired by the Italian troops in the First World War. The work is composed of a metal bas-relief depicting a soldier with his rifle while shooting, supported by a god of war, and by a plaque that narrates what happened that night.


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