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Stelvio and Bormio - lest we forget.

creato da Ventrix ultima modifica 20/06/2008 15:10

We visit the Dolomites in the International Year of Mountains and remember those who laid down their lives on these peaks during the First World War.

Stelvio and Bormio - lest we forget.2002 is the International Year of Mountains, the ideal occasion for mountaineers and historians alike to pay tribute to those who laid down their lives on the rugged Alpine peaks during the First World War. This was the theme of an evocative exhibition in Bormio. The show included a series of photographs taken by Lt. Bertarelli on the summit of Trafojer Eiswand (3588 m.) overlooking the magnificent Val Zebrù. We're on the Alpine Front, where the Italian Alpine corps and the Austrian troops faced each other during the first world war, fighting out their bloody battles for these towering peaks in what was to become known as the White War.

The battle
The post was held by the Italians who used it as a lookout point manned by a minimum of soldiers. The Austrian troops bored a tunnel in the rock beneath the lookout point which opened up right under the Italians' feet. The Austrian offensive started on August 27th. The Imperials took the Italian troops by surprise and only one managed to escape and raise the alarm at the nearest garrison, Milano hut (which is now used as a refuge, the V Alpine refuge in the Zebrù valley). 40 Italians troops took part in a counter attack by climbing back up to the vantage point along a rock face which the enemy has deemed inaccessible. The platoon split into three roped parties and after a long and arduous climb stormed the enemy on September the 1st, regaining their position.

Visit the Valliano Museum in San Nicolò di Valfurva which boasts amongst its exhibits the belongings of the little-known hero Captain Berni.
The Carlo Donegani Museum at the Stelvio Pass (2757) is dedicated to the great civil engineer Donegani (1775-1845) who built the Imperiale road over the Stelvio. The museum is open when the pass itself is clear and has a section dedicated to WW1, with information on the Ortles-Cevedale front and a replica of an Alpine trench. The museum is the ideal place to start an excursion through these one-time battle grounds.
From Bormio, the main town in this part of the Valtellina, you can visit many of the sites of the Alpine war: Stelvio Cevedale, Ortles, Cristallo and Gran Zebrù to name but a few . And those of you who prefer to stay away from the peaks may enjoy a visit to the thermal baths.
Want to admire the view but aren't fit enough to make it to the top? Then leave your car at the station of Tirano and take the wonderful red train up Bernina for some breathtaking views of the valley.

The Battle of Trafojer Eiswand - The official site of the exhibition (in Italian only)
An Unfortunate Region - A comprehensive travel guide to the Italian front
Carlo Donegani Museum - In Italian only
Spas in Bormio - - Thermal baths in the Bormio area (in Italian)

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