CASA CORAZZA

 

ON THE BATTERFIELDS AROUND GORIZIA

From the parking place of the memorial building in Redipuglia you go towards the Hill Sant’Elia, on the right side of which there is the Museum of the Memorial Building, made up of one hall and four rooms; the exhibition includes weapons used during the First World War, reconstructions of trenches, photos about the soldiers’ life and various kinds of equipment; there is also the opportunity to watch a video from those days.
From the Museum you then go to the Hill Sant’Elia, now Memorial Park; this area was once the Cemetery of the 30.000 Undefeated which had been opened in 1923 and was then deconsecrated after the Memorial Building had been erected. The Park now looks like a large avenue made of huge steps leading to the top of the hill among bronze reproductions of old relics and epigraphs of the tombstones in the old Cemetery; on top there is a 5th-century Roman column commemorating the fallen which has been found during the excavations in Aquileia.
Going back, you reach the massive stairs of the Memorial Building in Redipuglia; it was opened in 1938 and contains the mortal remains of 100.000 soldiers who died during the war. The memorial looks like a parading army: first there is the tomb of the Duke of Aosta, commander of the Third Army, behind there are the tombs of the five generals who accompanied him during the war; behind these, the twenty-two steps containing the remains of the 40.000 known soldiers, while the last step contains two large mass graves for the 60.000 unknown soldiers; these two graves are separated by the Chapel of the Fallen. Atop the stairs you can see three large bronze crosses symbolizing the sacrifice for the country; behind the last step there are two exhibition rooms containing photos, paintings, personal belongings of the soldiers and the graves containing the remains of the fallen of the Second World War. In the garden of the Memorial Building there is the Observatory.
Along the street leading to Doberḍ del Lago you go towards Mount Sei Busi, in the “Dolina of the 15th Bersaglieri Battalion”, also known as “Dolina of the Five Hundred” because the mass grave built here contained five hundred corpses which now lie in the Memorial Building in Redipuglia; the dolina was an efficient backing position for the front lines, here there were dressing posts, protected positions for the headquarters, storehouses and ammunition dumps. Still to be seen nowadays are the remains of the field hospital, a memorial tablet listing the names of the doctors who served here, some tombs of high-ranking officials and the ruins of two buildings, probably simple sheds for the soldiers or warehouses, and reconstructions of battlefields.
Going towards Sagrado, turn into the street leading to San Martino, so that you reach the centre of this village, marked with the plaque on which a poem by Ungaretti has been engraved; going on towards the cemetery you reach the top of Mount San Michele, a large square with a view and the entrance to the museum: glass showcases, photo exhibitions with material from that period, gun barrels, gas masks and personal belongings of the soldiers testify of their life in the trenches.
You can conclude this tour by reaching the top of the mountain where from the Balcony San Michele you can see the whole valley of Gorizia.

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