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Slovenia and the Great War

A hundred years ago the Great War fell on the continent as a devastating fury, bringing millions of people away. When we talk about Great War we imagine far away places but in fact could not be more wrong. These places can be visited today and provide an incredible and silent testimony to what the conflict was like.

Italy entered into the war on 24th May 1915, nearly a year after the declaration of war by the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Serbia. In those tragic months of Italian neutrality the other two fronts had already demanded millions of lives. With the declaration of war by Italy a third front, the Alpine one had opened.

A front very different front the other two, a less muddy one but with immense rocks and stones on its peaks and mountains sometimes stretching nearly four thousand feet high. Conrad and Cadorna were the two commanders to face each other with their two armies.

The territories of present-day Slovenia were at the very point of break-through designated by Cadorna to enter in the heart of the Empire marching on Ljubljana.

Departing from the original plans in reality things went differently, the two armies began a terrible trench war gaining and losing a few hundred meters at the expense of incredible heroisms and endless blood tributes.

The Slovenes found themselves fighting on what is today Italian soil and the Italians on what is today Slovenian soil.

The scars left by those fights can be visited today all throughout the Soča Valley and the Soča River in Slovenia and beyond. A journey that can safely start from the surrounding Kranjska Gora valleys, reaching the gorges with the emerald waters of the Soča River, passing from Bovec, Kobarid, Tolmin, and further following the path going down to the Adriatic, passing the karst stones, reaching Gorizia and Redipuglia, where the largest Italian War Memorial is located.

Redipuglia derives from the Slovenian language and means “middle ground”. Caporetto today is called Kobarid. It was torn to the Austro-Hungarian empire and subsequently re-captured. Its battle marked the story, but we’ll tell you this next week’s post.

Are you passionate about the Great War and would you like to see the places again? Do not miss my book, coming out at the end of this month thanks to the Hoepli publishing house, where I can take you on a photographic journey not just along the whole front. Ti have more info click here on the editor’s webpage.

Do not miss the previous posts to discover Maribor and the oldest vine in the world, Ljubljana the City of the Dragon and the interview with the eclectic artist Jakov Brdar, Ptuj and its spa and the next post dedicated to Caporetto out next week. For a complete guide, full of photographs, curiosities and travel tips, you can browse my travel guide Slovenia edited with Morellini Editore and available for both online shopping and bookshops.

Info and Link:

To visit the combat zones today in the Slovenian territories, do not miss the site of the Pot Miru Foundation, Path of Peace. At Caporetto, in their home, you can find a wide selection of information material and book local guides to accompany you along the trenches.

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