Sacrario Militare di Castel Dante (Castel Dante War Memorial) in Rovereto, Italy

Halls inside Castel Dante War Memorial

Trentino Alto Adige, now an Italian region, was contested between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I, with much of the fighting concentrated in Southern Trentino. The area was located around the former border between the two powers. Here, thousands of people lost their lives in combat. Now, the remains of around 20,000 soldiers from both sides of the conflict are contained in the Sacrario Militare di Castel Dante (Castel Dante War Memorial).

The war memorial is located on a hill just south of the city of Rovereto, overlooking the village of Lizzana. A castle was located on this hill and was known as Castel Lizzana or Castel Dante. According to legend, the famous poet Dante Alighieri was a guest at the castle in 1310. The castle was destroyed in 1439 by the Venetians and was abandoned until World War I, when trenches were constructed around the ruins. Now, only small portions of the castle’s walls remain. Between 1933 and 1938, the war memorial was erected where the fortress once stood.

The two-story building became a symbol of Italian victory during World War I. It also contains the remains of two famous Italian irredentists who were executed by the Austrians, Fabio Filzi and Damiano Chiesa.

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