Open air Museum

During the Great War, the Croda Rossa of Sesto was the scene of combat among the armies of Italy, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany. For the Austro-Hungarian and German troops, the Croda Rossa was extremely important as an observation point towards the enemy positions of the Comelico, as well as an exceedeingly strong defence bastion for the Sesto Valley. To the Italian army it constituted an insurmountable obstacle in its vain attempt to advance into Austrian territory.

The history of the Great War on the Croda Rossa is a story

of incredible feats and events: the soldiers on both sides braved the altitude, the cold, the avalanches, the difficulties of communication and reinforcements, and the solitude. Roads, cableways, storage depots, emplacements, communication trenches and tunnels were constructed on untouched peaks and inaccessible crags in what was soon to become a veritable war among eagles, a continous challenge to the mountaion.

Much of the testimony left on the Croda Rossa has by now been destroyed by the changing seasons, the snow and the ravages of time. Nevertheless, something has remained to tell us today of the valour of the soldiers, their inventiveness and their technical and technological expedients in a war which was without doubt unique in the history of man.

The Bellum Aquilarum Project is aimed at saving this testimony from oblivion: the history and the memory of the mountain troops, the Kaiserjaeger, the Alpini and the Alpenkorps who faced each other here – a history shared by the populations of all the countries arising from the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The pathways and communication trenches constructed by the opposing armies can become a sizeable open air museum, with the recovery of several significant emplacements where visitors can learn about the life of the soldiers on the mountain, the problems and the difficulties of transport and of survival, and the tactical, organisational and spiritual challenges that they had to face and solve. The project involves the identification, in collaboration with the Parco Naturale, of the possible communication pathways between significant emplacements salvaged and restored with due caution and philological respect, flanked by the creation of suitable communication pathways for walkers, thus providing the information needed for an even deeper admiration for this mountain.

The aim is to give voice to the heroic deeds and the exertion and the suffering of the protagonists of those events, to bring to light the history written in that fascinating landscape of the Croda Rossa, and to conserve that history and that memory for us and for our children. It is an act of respect for them and of faith in the new Europe that we are building together.

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