The Isonzo Front

06 September 2010 Written by   Published in Friuli Venezia Giulia Itineraries

First World War trenches were designed to remain below the horizon, and completely hidden if possible. So it's not surprising that traces of the ferocious battles in the province of Gorizia, following Italy's declaration of War against Austria in 1915, have to be pointed out to the casual visitor.

The best place to start is in Redipuglia and the huge memorial constructed by Mussolini to remind those who might have forgotten what patrotisim was all about.

The 'Sacrario di Redipuglia' is a tremendous sight. It occupies one side of the Monte Sei Busi and the huge stepped stairway is the resting place for 100,000 victims of the III Armata and the old front line. Check out the trenches at the foot of the memorial.

What is interesting is that those who fought here came form every corner of Italy and it was one of the first great cultural and linguistic exchanges in modern Italian history.

Perhaps the First World War only really finished on the May 1 2004 with the entry of Slovenia into the European Union. What remained as a symbolic border was removed completely and the horrors of the 20th century finally put to rest.

Do seek out the Museum of the Great War in Gorizia, located within the walls of the old castle, Borgo Castello. It was opened in 1924 and was intended to demonstrate the Italian character of the city, only just annexed. Today it is an effective representation of wartime events as well as their human and social repercussions.

The horror of the First World War is perhaps best demonstrated in Room IV where crude weapons are displayed. Marvel at how hand grenades were invented to take the place of iron plated clubs and knuckle dusters in close contact trench fighting, assuming the new fangled machine guns didn't get you first.

RECCOMENDED LINKS

Museum of the Great War
Borgo Castello 13
34170 Gorizia

Consorzio Turistico Gorizia e L'Isontino
www.gois.it

Philip Curnow

Buongiorno, I co-founded Delicious Italy in 2000. We have always aimed to support local incoming tourism initiatives, as well as provide a trusted reference for anyone seeking information and contacts for a vacation or visit to the Italian regions.