Italy During The First World War

Italy During The First World War

The Campaigns In The Dolomites

BattlefieldHistory

Italy During The First World War

The Campaigns In The Dolomites

BattlefieldHistory

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Tour Introduction

Set amongst some spectacular mountain scenery, these infrequently visited battlefields have changed little over the years. You will marvel at many of the precarious and exposed positions occupied by both sides and visit many of the ingenious caverns and tunnels that were built for warmth and protection during the severe winters. The contrast with the topography of the Western Front is remarkable; from rain and wind swept trenches built in chalk and mud, imagine trenches hewn out of rock to protect against snow, ice and avalanche.

Today the area over which these battles were fought straddles the border between Italy and Slovenia and we shall enjoy some of the best hospitality and cuisine that both these countries have to offer.

Background

Whilst the Italians prevaricated over whether to join the Entente powers in their struggle against the Central powers, the Austro-Hungarians set about fortifying their Alpine borders. When Italy finally decided to take up arms, the only really practical terrain to take the fight to the enemy was along the River Isonzo, where she made as many as 11 major attempts to drive through the Ljubljana Gap until they were finally thwarted by the spectacular Austrian counter-offensive at Caporetto (where a young German Officer called Erwin Rommel earned his spurs). This resulted, in late 1917, in the arrival of five British and six French divisions around Asiago to bolster the realigned Italian positions. This small force was to play a disproportional role in repelling the last Austro-Hungarian thrust on the Piave in June 1918 and spearheaded the pursuit during the final battle of Vittorio Veneto, assisting the Italians in their ‘land grab’ before the end of the war.

Highlights

  • With Maj Gordon Corrigan
  • Well preserved battlefields including Caporetto
  • Spectacular Alpine scenery
  • On the borders of Italy and Slovenia

"A wonderful tour, great chemistry between Gordon and tour manager. They provided unique knowledge of both culture and historical knowledge"

Itinerary

Day 1 - Palmanova.
Fly London to Venice with Easyjet. Drive to the perfect Vaubanesqe town of Palmanova and check-in to our hotel for one night. Welcome drinks and evening lecture ‘Italy and the First World War’.

Day 2 - Isonzo.
We examine the battles of the Isonzo and from the commanding heights of Monte San Michele we gain magnificent views over the river valley and right down to the Adriatic. We explore the remains of many of the trenches and tunnels that riddle the position and visit the museum. We descend the heights to take lunch at the café situated in the heart of the 3rd Army battlefield park at Redipuglia before crossing the border into Slovenia and travelling northwards to Kobarid where we check in to our hotel for two nights.

Day 3 - Caporetto.
After visiting the excellent museum of the battle in Korbarind, we follow the path of Oberleutnant Erwin Rommel, commanding a company of mountain troops, on his way to winning the Pour le Merite in the Battle of Caporetto. In the afternoon we visit the trenches and tunnels of the Italian defence line, which are still remarkably well preserved.

Day 4 - Asiago.
Moving to the sector taken up by the British and French after the disaster of Caporetto, we travel through some spectacular scenery through Treviso to the Asiago Plateau arriving mid-afternoon and check-in to our hotel for two nights.

Day 5 - Asiago.
The British in the north: trench raids, battles and cemeteries, including the grave of Edward Brittain, brother of Vera Brittain.

Day 6 - The Piave.
After examining the Battle of Nervessa, the Italians last throw in this war, largely thwarted by the newly formed RAF, we follow the British to the crossing of the River Piave in the final advance of the war in Italy. Thence to Venice and our return flight to London.

Recommended Reading List

Photo Gallery

  • Italian Line Of Defence
  • Treviso
  • Italian Trenches
  • Asiago Plateau
  • Barenthal Cemetery

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Tour Review

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