Matassone’s Entrenched Field
In Vallarsa, a fortified system fought over by Italy and the Austro-Hungarians
Less than half-an-hour by car from Rovereto, along provincial road Number 89, you will find the entrenched field of Matassone, which you can visit without climbing to high altitudes. The system of fortifications was comprised of two closed circular strongholds, protected by barricades of barbed-wire fences. It included howitzer stations, trenches and walkways, some of which in tunnels, which allowed the soldiers to reach various outposts. There was also an observatory, a communication station through optical signals with nearby Forte di Pozzacchio, and a reinforced-concrete shelter for housing the garrison.
The recent restauration of the fortification allows you to walk through the trenches, the walkways and the machine-gun posts, as well as overlook a spectacular view onto the Vallarsa, the Zugna and the Pasubio.
In the proximity of the outbreak of World War I, the defense of the Vallarsa was one of the main objectives of Austria-Hungary, both as a way of penetration towards the Po Valley, as well as for the possibility of defense that the valley offered, in the case of an Italian offensive toward the Alps. That is how Forte di Pozzacchio on the right side of the valley, and an entrenched field in Matassone, on the opposite side, came to be.
At the beginning of the war, the Austro-Hungarian army withdrew their own defensive line in Rovereto, abandoning the Vallarsa. The Italian army was therefore able to advance nearly unopposed, and occupy Pozzacchio and Matassone, until June of 1915. During the Strafexpedition, in May of 1916, the Austro-Hungarians recaptured both places. In the counter-offensive that followed, on June 28, 1916, the Italians were able to take back possession of Matassone, while Forte Pozzacchio remained in the hands of the Austro- Hungarians until the end of the war.
The Tourism Company organizes educational trips to Rovereto for schools, with excursions to the entrenched field in Matassone led by experts from the War Museum.