Rovereto, on the trail of history
Trekking in battlefields, through the forts, trenches and tunnels of WWI
Walking along the Path of Peace in Trentino you will visit some symbolic places of the First World War, an event that changed the lives of millions of people.
The frontlines of WWI ran along the mountains of Rovereto. The Italian Alpine troops on one side, on the other the Austro-Hungarian Kaiserschützen. For 4 years the soldiers engaged in “high altitude” warfare, a tiring succession of attacks and counterattacks, of underground explosions and bayonet skirmishes to gain a few meters of ground, which may be lost the next day. Trench life was engraved in the memory of the veterans who fought there and was passed on to later generations thanks to the works and stories of Montale, Hemingway, Lussu. The Path of Peace traverses scenes of war events, so that excursionists can see the scenario of WWI in Trentino.
Length: 3 days
Period: March – December
Location: Rovereto, Valli del Leno
Target / Suited to: weekend couples/families/groups
Theme: history and nature
Begin your WWI journey at the Italian War History Museum of Rovereto, the largest institution in the world dedicated to WWI. In Castel Veneto, a venetian fortress that protected the city during the domination of the Republic of Venice, you will see collections of weapons, relics, documents and testimonies of the war in Trentino, from armed conflicts to the heroic deeds of civilians interned in faraway regions of the empire. Then pay homage to the fallen at the memorial of Castel Dante that houses the remains of over twenty thousand soldiers. A short walk – marked with quotes by great men of peace in Italian and international history – from Nelson Mandela to Martin Luther King, from Giorgio La Pira to Aldo Capitini, all the way to Mahatma Gandhi – brings you to the Maria Dolens, the largest bell in the world, cast using bronze of the cannons of the nations that took part in WWI. Every evening its one hundred tolls commemorate all the soldiers killed in battle.
The itinerary of Monte Pasubio begins in the early morning from Giazzera, a hamlet of Trambileno. A path (trail sign n. 101) will lead you to the hollow of the Lancia regufe (1,802 m.), passing through Malga Cheserle. Several paths radiate from the refuge: n. 102 will lead you along a breathtaking itinerary from Bocchetta delle corde to Bocchetta di Foxi. Just a bit longer and you will reach in one of Pasubio’s symbolic places: Monte Corno Battisti (1,760 m.). A memorial stone commemorates the capture of Irredentist martyrs Cesare Battisti and Fabio Filzi (July 10, 1916) and their execution in Castello del Buonconsiglio in Trento, two days later.
You can also visit it by climbing Monte Testo (1,998 m.), where several tunnels dug by the Austrian army were recently made accessible. But take care: you must proceed with caution and carry a torch. Path n. 131 leads to the peak of Col Santo (2,112 m.): from its green prairies you can see the peaks of the Trentino Dolomites and the snows of the Adamello, Presanella and Ortles glaciers. At sunset, Paolo will prepare an excellent dinner with local products and, after a bit of stargazing, you can go to sleep at the Lancia refuge.
Wake up early on the third day for some trekking in the heart of the mountain, where you can still see vestiges of the war. The Path of Peace, that here coincides with the E5 itinerary, will lead you to the Italian and Austrian-Hungarian “jags”, where the two armies confronted during bitter winters, where the cold, sicknesses and avalanches took more lives than enemy fire. You can see the consequences of the large mine the Austrians exploded on March 13, 1918 under the Italian Jag: the explosion of 50,000 kg of TNT mountain’s orography, but did not change the fortunes of the war. All the area around Cima Palon (2,230 m.) is dotted with the craters of explosions, trenches, walkways, tunnels dug out of rock, wires, machine-gun nests and artillery observation posts. To this day war material is still found. On the slope of Pasubio nearest Vicenza Refuge Papa awaits to offer you a delicious dinner. You can also stay overnight, before you leave the next day.