Asiago’s WWI Monument and Monte Zebio

Ciao,

Here it is, another week gone by and I could almost call it relaxing. I don’t think Will would necessarily agree and I am not sure I could or should ever go so far as to say relaxing and Karyn in the same sentence. A dozen things happening at once… squirrel… back to projects… that is really more my speed. Luckily, Will balances me out most of the time. It’s a good thing otherwise I might just explode one day from all the activity in my brain.

But I digress, this last weekend I got the idea to head up to Asiago and check out the World War I Memorial and then take a drive up to Monte Zebio. I didn’t quite know what I was getting us in to. Luckily, neither did Will or he might have had a different plan for the day. It was a good thing he didn’t because it was really neat.

We grabbed Will’s music friend “D” and headed up the very windy road to Asiago. (Yes, D, the one that plays guitars but is no longer allowed to pick the adventure plans! I am kidding, he finds some good adventures. No seriously, the whole Nove chicken thing came from him and now his wife if a proud owner of an anti-assassin chicken too!)

The road to Asiago has 14 hairpin turns and it is the one road that I see the most concentration and the least line crossing by Italians. (They are horribly distracted drivers). Once at the picturesque mountain town we hit up a cafe for dinner. It was overpriced (though Asiago is like a Telluride, and everything but cheese is over prices.) but the food was really good. I also got the idea for dinner tonight from the restaurant, chickpea burgers with thick slices of mozzarella on top, they should be tasty.

After lunch we headed to the World War I Memorial. It sits at the top of a hill (a short walk) overlooking the town. The hours are strictly kept and the area guarded and gated when not open. After reaching the top and walking around the outside (several different artillery weapons were set up outside) we headed inside. It was overwhelming, I had not known it was also a crypt and that the remains of over 50,000 Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers were interred there. The inside was quiet, a place of contemplation and reverence for those that had made the ultimate sacrifice for their countries. I was able to find five soldiers that I share a last name with (maiden not married), and after searching through rows of names and visiting the small museums displaying artifacts and pictures from the Great War we quietly left.

My next idea for the day was to drive up to Monte Zebio because I had read there were still remains of trenches up there. The distance between the two was less than 10 km (roughly 6 miles) but I had no idea what I was asking my poor little two wheel drive car (CHIPS for short) or Will to do. The road started out winding up what I will loosely called a paved track. The asphalt had caverns in it that could swallow half my car but it was still asphalt so paved it was. To say it actually got better when we hit the dirt is a small stretch but there was some improvement. Anyway after about 40 minutes of winding our way up this hill/mountain that really was only wide enough for one vehicle at a time we came to the bottom of the trenches of Monte Zebio. The area is owned or maintained by a rancher with a large herd of dairy cows, we had to do the cow patty jump and avoid all the way up the hill. Still their bells gave the mountaintop a riotous symphony that was scenically beautiful. When we made it part way up the grassy green, wild flower covered hill we took a left instead of a right and found a track of trenches that surprised us (actually the whole trench line of the hillside was surprisingly intact). Me, being me, ignored the wooden sign that read “Pericolo” (danger) and jumped right in to walk the trench line. Some places were dug out of solid rock, then that rock was used to fortify other areas, creating a trench line of sturdy rock that helped protect the inhabitants from attack.

In fact, the Italians held this ground for over 40 months. After viewing their fortifications it is something that can be easily believed. Though there was a devastating accident of landmines set off days too early by a lightning strike, killing over 120 soldiers the area was so well fortified that the Austria-Hungarian troops were forced to find another way into Italy through other mountain passes.

After climbing out of our first set of trenches (Will couldn’t resist the lure of traveling the trails for too long but D took the high ground as our guide) we move back to the right and found another complex set of trenches and fortifications that included tunnels and storage depots cut out of the rock.

We cut some of exploration short due to the time and some concerns about a storm heading across the mountain (2-wheel drive car, narrow dirt roads, just saying) and headed back down to the Vicenza valley with the intention of stopping at the best ever (in the Vicenza area) gelateria for some gelato. So yummy!!

Sunday was a yard work day for me and a guitar day for Will. I potted plants that had outgrown their current location and added a couple new plants, turmeric, mint, and shockingly another lavender plant, as well as some succulents. By the time I cleaned up it was hot and I was ready for a couple hours inside.

Then out of nowhere, bam, Monday happened, wth? Where does it come from? Monday is always sneaking in without any warning.

But here it is Tuesday and I am already planning a low key weekend to write about next week.

Until then

Ciao miei Amici

 

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