The Dolomites formed an unusual battlefront in World War I. Italy had joined the Triple Entente powers early in confusing outbreak of hostilities in the hopes of gaining additional territory (including the Southern Tyrol) from the failing Austro-Hungarian empire. As on the Western front, events soon settled into a stalemate, but this time fought in the mountains with shells and massive mines. Most soldiers were killed by deliberate shelling from the other side to trigger avalanches.


War memorial (close to Rif. Guissani [46 32 40 N, 12 3 37 E])


Great screeds of rusted barbed wire from WW1 were everywhere during the giro di Tofana di Rozes. Most was not so artistically arranged!


View from emplacement close to Col de Bos [46 31 57 N, 12 2 13 E] cut out of the rock. The small defensive complex has a commanding position over the Travenanzes valley.

The following photos are from a visit to the Lagazuoi “open air museum”. It was an odd sort of museum that hired out safety helmets and torches and left visitors to explore steep, slippy tunnels and mountain paths – not one for your granny!

Views back down towards the Falzarego Pass before entering the tunnels in mount Lagazuoi.


Reconstructed huts and tunnel entrance. The weather had turned and snow was starting to fall by this point (July in Italy!).


Views across the massif from the top of Lagazuoi.


This view from the rifugio at the top of Lagazoui (2752 m) looks almost like a satellite image!


The original plan had been to follow the original Austrian troup path down to the pass, but the path down the cliff (visible snaking down on the left) is very exposed in places. Although the snow had stopped by this point, we thought better of it and took the cable car instead!


Shells at the small WW1 museum at Passo Fedaia. The largest shell (305 mm) is Austrian. Surprisingly some American troups had fought on this front and some US communications equipment was on show.

Dolomites V – World War 1