During WWI, Val di Sole became a strategic area during what became known as the "White War": Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops fought to have control of the surrounding mountain peaks and glaciers, among the freezing temperatures of the Adamello and Ortles-Cevedale mountain groups.
There are many different types of battle remains in this area like trenches and forts that changed Val di Sole's landscape forever. Over the years, a considerable and above all commendable amount of work has been carried out to conserve and preserve war forts and trails used during WWI in addition to the creation of museums where many historical artefacts and remains have been placed in order to enrich our historical heritage and to never forget the past. Since this year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, we would like to describe several itineraries and historical points of interest.
Since 2006, this museum is located within the Cultural Centre of the town of Vermiglio. This exhibit, at the “White War Museum”, has a wide range of historically important war remains.
The museum hosts a vast collection of war relics that were personally retrieved from the surrounding mountains by Emilio Serra.
This museum, created in 2003, tells the story of the soldiers that fought during the war. The exhibit gives visitors the chance to experience the daily life of soldiers on the warfront and how life was like for people living in the valley.
A wide range of relics can be found at the museum: equipment, weapons, documents, photographs, books and videos that will help visitors to never forget the past, which is never far away from us.
Located in a strategic position, right along the road that from Vermiglio goes towards Passo Tonale, Fort Strino has undergone extensive restoration.
The fort was opened to the public in 1998 and it has become both an important historical and educational destination, with an interesting war exhibit and several interactive areas.
A long tunnel, that was dug in the granite rock during WWI, and used by the soldiers as a shelter: here, at a height of 2585 m at Passo Paradiso, right at the foot of the Presena Glacier, you can visit an interesting selection of war relics. The voices and the sounds that you will hear within the tunnel are what make this exhibit truly unique.
This museum, opened on Saturday July 12th, 2014, is located near the Punta Linke peak, at a height of 3632 m; it was one of the most important and strategic Austro-Hungarian sites during the war but it was then abandoned by the troops during the “White War”. Over the decades, the ice and snow on this peak perfectly conserved the fort in its original state, making it the perfect place to create an exceptional museum exhibit high up on the mountains.
There are numerous other forts in the area that are all part of the complex "Sbarramento Tonale", the Austrian fortification system on the Italian border:
Many of these sites, which were abandoned for many decades, have recently undergone extensive restoration and are now partially open to the public. The best way to learn more about these locations is to visit them by following several excursions described at the following website: Great War Itinearies (only in italian language)
Various events have been organized to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War including both commemorative and historic-cultural events.
This is the most important event during summer 2016:
Festa della Fratellanza (Brotherhood Festival)
Passo Tonale - Passo Paradiso, August 2016
This event was created to condemn all wars and to celebrate peace, bringing together both Austrians and Italians that were once on enemy fronts and are now united under the European flag.