The route: Alto Tagliamento (UD)


Following the General Plan’s approval for the defense of the national territory in 1908, in the years immediately preceding the First World War, along the border between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was built a defense line designed to block or slow the advance of a possible invading army. This fortified line, that started in the mountains, proceeded along the hills of Friuli, following the course of the Tagliamento to the sea, consisted of 44 military work: forts, dams, battery stations and armored towers with the necessary shelters, powder magazines, stores and troop quarters.

The defensive system was divided into 3 zones :

- Upper Tagliamento: garrisons on the outlets of the Valleys of Fella and Tagliamento, with the Forts of Chiusaforte, Monte Festa, Osoppo, Mount Ercole and the nearby auxiliary batteries; other structures on Mount Miaron and on Col Rementera ensured the synergy with the &Ridotto Cadorino”.

- Middle Tagliamento: focused on the moraine belt (installations of Monte Bernadia, Buja, Tricesimo, Santa Margherita, Fagagna, Col Roncone, Buja, Monte Faeit and Colloredo) and on the bridgehead of Ragogna - Pinzano, it covered bridges, which covered the important centers of gravity of the largest river in Friuli, Cornino, Pinzano and from 1916 onwards also Pontaiba.

- Low Tagliamento: consists of the bridgeheads of Codroipo (with the strongholds of Sedegliano, Beano, Rivolto, St. Martino, Varmo) and Latisana (with the forts of Rivarotta and Precenicco).

The complex was to be able to hold an invasion for the necessary period of time for the general mobilization of the Armed Forces. The networks of workstations, sometimes the forts were served by stores, reserves, logistics, housing, entrenchment roads designed to confront the modern "sieges" as independently as possible. Of course, the sites also made use of various instruments of communication with the outside and the other forts.

 

Text by Enza Chiara Lai

The Fort on Monte Festa


The Fort on Monte Festa, near Gemona, was built between 1905 and 1912 and is the only Italian stronghold that was able to resist the Austro-Hungarian invasion in 1917...

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The Fort on Monte Festa


The Fort on Monte Festa, near Gemona, was built between 1905 and 1912 and is the only Italian stronghold that was able to resist the Austro- Hungarian invasion in 1917. Even today it is perched like an eagle's nest: from here all backgrounds from the valleys of the But and Fella could be controlled. In the early years of war, as all the other fortifications in Friuli, it was not affected by the fighting, but after the Defeat of Caporetto, the garrison was entrusted to delay the Austrians’ advance. Captain Riccardo Winderling managed to stop the enemy forces for a few days, and although the ammunition and the food were finished, the Italian soldiers did not surrender but resisted until November 6. That morning an Austrian patrol approached the fort waving a white flag. They were accompanied to the stronghold and handed the commander a statement which called for surrender. The message was the following: "To the Royal Italian Garrison on Monte Festa: you are surrounded on all sides and are asked to surrender. Our Parliamentarian is expected to return today at 11 am." Just as laconic was Winderling’s response: "I have the honor to respond negatively." The garrison’s fort, once finished the ammunition stocks, blew up the guns and retreated south, trying to join up with other retreating Italian troops. The fortification has a battleship battery where you can still see the 4 slots on the domes and, lower, barracks and services. Particularly interesting are the caves which the former powder warehouses. Many premises have been built inside the caverns made of perforated bricks with a waterproof coating and wooden floors to prevent the formation of sparks between the floor and soldiers' boots. At half-height between the lower caverns and the armored battery, there is a tunnel that cuts through rock and a cave for the two ammunition lifts and the associated motors. The fortress was used for radio relay links during the Second World War and in the 60s by NATO, in the middle of the Cold War, as strategic location.


The hill of Osoppo


Since ancient times, the hill of Osoppo was the site of many military settlements. It was a Celtic settlement and later an Roman oppidum (fortress). In 610 it was besieged by the Avars...

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The hill of Osoppo


Since ancient times, the hill of Osoppo was the site of many military settlements. It was a Celtic settlement and later an Roman oppidum (fortress). In 610 it was besieged by the Avars and in 902 it was looted and destroyed by the Hungarians. After 1420, the year of the ending of the Patriarchate of Aquileia, the fort became a crucial point of defense of the Venetian Republic "ground state". It was later occupied by the French, and in 1848, during the wars of the Risorgimento, was held by a group of Italian volunteers who resisted for seven months against the Austrians who wanted to conquer it again.
In 1866 Friuli was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy and, from 1900 on, the fort became part of defensive system in the Upper Tagliamento, but was never affected by clashes during the Great war. On October 29, 1917 the fort was occupied by the Schutzen unit that had found it unarmed. Declared a national monument in 1923, in 1951 was permanently demilitarized . The fort is a very special one because it is made up of a superposition of buildings of various ages and preserves structures dating back to different periods: defensive works, tunnels, ditches, trenches, mad houses, the subsistence storehouse, a powder keg in the cave, the aqueduct reservoir, the barracks, the wireless station, the stables from the First War; the citadel of Gerolamo Savorgnan, which was the main defense point during the 1514 siege, the Church of St. Peter built between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, where, on the inside, archeologists have brought to light the archaeological remains of the original church, the bastion and the Venetian artillery depot, which was re-used by the Italians and transformed into a barracks, the Austrian door and the Napoleonic barracks, the cave of Santa Colomba, who lived on the hill in the sixth century, and the area where dozens of fossil footprints of mammals were found. They lived from two to ten million years ago, is of great scientific interest because we still know very few fossil footprints of Cenozoic mammals, not only in Italy but worldwide.

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