Good evening Hive friends.
Today I will take you with me to discover the Monte Grappa Memorial, an imposing monument dedicated to the fallen of the First World War from half of Europe, who fought along the front, both on the Italian and Austro-Hungarian sides. A unique place of its kind and of enormous historical importance, which I believe should be visited at least once in a lifetime if given the chance.
The Ossuary is located on the highest summit of the imposing Monte Grappa at an altitude of 1776 meters, in the municipality of Pieve del Grappa, in the region of Veneto, Italy. To reach the Memorial you must take the Cadorna road, built specifically by decision of General Luigi Cadorna to give support in food and weapons for the soldiers in the front. It was inaugurated in 1935, to collect all the bodies that were scattered in the various cemeteries made during the war. It's build on a columbarium structure built with blocks of white stone, which recalls the style of the Roman Empire, strongly appreciated at the time by the Fascist regime.
In its niches the bodies of 22,910 fallen soldiers are kept, a number that makes one's blood freeze to think how many people have lost their lives unnecessarily, at the behest of a few madmen. These are only a part of the soldiers who fell in the war on Monte Grappa, a mountain that is considered sacred in its entire surface due to the innumerable blood shed along its slopes, for this reason it is forbidden to search and collect relics of war throughout its perimeter or make camping. Unfortunately most of the fallen who rest on the Ossuary are unknown and it has not been possible to identify them.
I visited the Monte Grappa Memorial in February 2018, together with my mother. It was not the first time that I went to this place, but during the hot period it is always visited by many people, so at the time we decided to go there despite the very severe winter cold at high altitudes. The day was very sunny, as you can see from the photos, but there was a freezing wind coming from the north, which brought the perceived temperature to around -20 degrees Celsius. So much so that it was very difficult to take pictures, my hands became stiff and frozen in seconds, and using the camera with all its functions became very difficult. I had to take the photos in a trance, keeping putting the gloves back on to warm up my hands a bit, but the end result was worth it.
That day with all that cold it was just me and my mother who were the only crazy ones to visit the ossuary, this allowed us to enjoy an incredible silence and peace, which made that mystical place even more intense. But another difficulty of this adventurous visit was moving around, all the snow you see in the photos was completely frozen and hard as stone, even with mountain boots you slipped continuously and to move around some points we had to go four paws.
But all these difficulties were amply repaid by the unique show that life gave us that day, the completely frozen Memorial and just for us it was a fantastic experience especially for a photography lover like me, where I was able to get unique shots, which at most other times of the year would have been impossible to obtain.
I almost forgot, we met another person that day, perhaps crazier than us, since he ventured alone, in all that cold, on an excursion with snowshoes along the peaks of Monte Grappa.
Continuing our visit, we moved south of the Memorial, where we met the Portale Roma, which is located at the beginning of the Via Eroica. The monument was processed by the architect Alessandro Limongelli and donated by Rome itself. On the top of the monument there is the inscription "Monte Grappa tu sei la mia patria", taken from the first verse of the song of Monte Grappa.
Continuing along the Via Eroica, a 300 metre avenue made up of 14 large blocks bearing the names of the main peaks where the First World War was fought. Traveling along this avenue which is located on the crest of the mountain, the view that you have on your sides of the Alps and the snow-capped Dolomites is unique, it will leave you speechless.
At the end of the Via Eroica we find the shrine of the Madonna del Grappa, the statue was placed on the Mount Grappa on 4 August 1901 at the behest of the time patriarch of Venice Giuseppe Sarto, who during the war became a symbol of the homeland, as divine protection for all those who risked their lives at the front.
At the southern end of the Memorial, a large terrace opens up with a view over the entire Po Valley, which thanks to the high altitude of Monte Grappa and the position deferred from the block of the Alpine arc, offers an incomparable and wonderful view over the entire plain , that during the days with very clear weather you can also see Venice from up there.
That day despite the beautiful sun at high altitudes, the plain was covered by a blanket of clouds, which did not allow us to see clearly, but the show was equally unique and deserved all the effort made to reach that point, walking between the frozen snow.
In many areas of the Memorial, you can see and touch the heavy weapons that were used in battle by both the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies.
During my visit, some cannons were completely submerged in frozen snow, which covered their view for a good part, but I didn't find it a disadvantage, on the contrary, I believe that the photos it allowed me to take are beautiful and particular, different from what we are used to seeing usually.
I bring you further news, which however I could not document with photos, because that day due to snow and ice it was not possible to access it. I'm talking about the trenches and tunnels that were dug during the war, some of which are located close to the Memorial and can be visited during the summer.
Frozen by the cold, after having visited the imposing Monte Grappa Memorial far and wide, we decided that the time had come to go and warm up with a good hot chocolate at the Monte Grappa Refuge, which offers refreshment to all those who wish to shelter from the cold of the summit and eat something hot.
With this dear friends, the visit to the Memorial ended, I hope you enjoyed this place full of history and unique beauty. I was enchanted that day, I will always carry in my best memories this spectacular visit to the top of Monte Grappa and its Memorial. I sincerely thank you for your precious time that you dedicate to my posts, a hug to all, see you on the next adventure.
All texts, photos, videos and images in this post are property of the author @stea90 - For CCO images that may be used, the source is always declared.
|Camera||Sony Alpha 6000|
|Lens||SELP 16-50mm Power Zoom|