The Monte Piana is a mountain in the Dolomites of Sesto in 2.325me is located in the border between Belluno and that of Bolzano, more precisely between the town of Auronzo and the municipality of Dobbiaco.
E ‘part of the Natural Park of the Three Peaks and is located geographically between Misurina Lake and the Three Cime di Lavaredo.
Its summit is crossed by the border between the Veneto Region and the Autonomous Region of Trentino Alto Adige; coincides with the border that separated in 1753 the Republic of Venice with the Austrian Empire.
Today most of the mountain is located in the Province of Belluno.
The Monte Piana was the scene during the First World War a clash that lasted more than two years between the Italian and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and today is a real “Historical Museum Open Air” where you can visit the camp battlefield located across its top. This is thanks to the work of recovery of the Associations that have occurred over time, with the support of the Alpini in the period of conscription.
In nearly 40 years, were freed Trenches, observation points, tunnels and shelters from the debris, making a recovery faithful and without addition of “foreign” material.
The Monte Piana does not have the typical characteristics of the Dolomite mountains that surround it, as its summit is almost flat, divided in two by the Fork Castrati (2.201m). On the one hand the Monte Piana (2.325m) in possession of the Italian, the other the Monte Piano (2.320m) occupied by the Austrians. Fork Castrati joins the two halves of the mountain.
Another feature is the view extending to 360 ° of the surrounding mountains, as it has a lower height; north Mount Rudo and its slopes of the Croda Rondoi are divided by the Monte Piana from the gorge of the valley of Brixen; east Croda dell’Arghena separated from Piana from Val Rimbianco. To the south / east Cadini Misurina; to the south is the Misurinasee that separates him from the mountain and from mountain Crystalline Smoke.
The Monte Piana is then isolated from all sides by steep cliffs and ravines. The only easily accessible side is facing south towards Misurina, from where the road leading to the shelter in May Bosi.
The Monte Piana is surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountains of the Dolomites, such as the Three Peaks, the Monte Cristallo, Prato Piazza, Croda of Rondoi.
The summit is a plateau stretched northward almost two kilometers long and wide in the maximum point about 700 meters, divided into two distinct areas by a depression called “Fork Castrati” where down to the val Rimbianco the eponymous valley.
The environment is almost entirely rocky, completely free of water sources and almost completely bare of vegetation if we exclude the rare mountain pines and alpine plants each year give a brief spring bloom.
The southern plateau is generally larger and more easily accessible than the North; This culminates at 2,325 m.s.l.m. in a summit slightly marked located near the Pyramid Carducci, singular monument dedicated to the poet composer Ode to Cadore destroyed during the war and rebuilt in 1923. The northern plateau is slightly lower, overlooking the Lake of Landro and surrounded by three sides by real sheer cliffs; munitissimo of trenches and tunnels, was the scene of fighting.
The name of the mountain, is evidently due to its shape (Monteplana). In 1866, after the conclusion of the third war of independence, Austria was forced to cede the Veneto treaties, but he would not give in, however, the definition of the boundaries, thus retaining the full dominion over the ridges and the highest points along the border, securing an advantage under the military point of view: the joint committee decided that the Italian-Austrian border on Mount Piana would coincide with the old route of 1753, which divided the Republic of Venice, the Austrian Empire, leaving the Austria val Rienza. This was, all along the border, the only point in which Italy had an advantage from the military point of view; the summit plateau was for 2/3 in Italian possession, the less steep slopes were all in favor of the Italian territory, and the mountain itself was a real wedge over the Val di Landro and then placed for a possible military advance towards Dobbiaco and then the Val Pusteria (Pusteral).
The Austrians never lowered the attention on Mount Piana, although it was now primarily a tourist destination, and since the early barred all access to the valley of Landro immediately after the village of Carbonin (Schluderbach), with a fortified supported by artillery positioned in the cave on Mount Rudo. Moreover, this apparent advantage Italian, was also thwarted in any troop movements on the top of the Plain, because all the planking was controlled by the positions of observation on the Monte Cristallo and kept under the constant control of the artillery placed in heavy Landro and Prato Piazza, by guns located in the tower of Scarpieri and the Tower of Toblin; access to Dobbiaco was virtually sealed.
The declaration of war on Austria-Hungary May 24, 1915, at Mount Piana and its valleys were sent seven / eight battalions. On May 24, the plain was occupied by two platoons of the 96th Alpini company, battalion Pieve di Cadore, the 7th Regiment. Other alpine company around the 67th at 08:30 were hit by a discharge of artillery fired from Mount Rudo while they were working on the road from Misurina to Mount Piana; were the first Italian fallen on a mountain in less than two years had about 14,000 victims from both sides. At the showdown the two years of the war on Mount Piana brought substantially to a stalemate, the two contenders for two long years he fought on a piece of land, without ever being able to subvert the enemy forces, and 3 November 1917 stations on Piana were abandoned by the Italian to fold and stand on the line of Grappa in an attempt to resist the offensive of the Austro-Hungarian Caporetto.
The one on Monte Piana was one of the longest and bloodiest battles; were consumed some of the most violent clashes between Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers who fought for two years on the flat top of this mountain. Despite the clear superiority of men and weapons, commands Italians were never able to conquer the dominant positions on the mountain occupied by the Austrians, both for tactical errors for both incompetence of a new war and unusual in the high mountains.
The borders established after the 1866 war with the current administrative boundary of the region Trentino Alto Adige avvantaggiava Austrians who were everywhere in a situation of geographical advantage, as they were in a high position than Italians. But the situation was different in Monte Piana, which remained the ancient border between the Tyrol and the Republic of Venice.
It was almost entirely Italian territory that penetrated into Austrian territory forming a wedge pointed at Dobbiaco. The Austrians for their part will pararono from the threat transforming Mount Rudo in a very strong position supplemented by artillery batteries positioned on the Col of Species and the Tower of Scarpieri, able to keep the plateau of Monte Piana entirely gunpoint. At the outbreak of the conflict between Italy and Austria-Hungary Mount Piana found himself in the middle of a crucial crossroads, which if achieved would bring Italian troops to enter in Dobbiaco, and then to head for Brunico or even Lienz.
The tranquility of this mountain was shattered in the early days of the war, when Mount Piana was revealed for what it was in the strategic vision of the conflict, a giant mountain paved the summit, than over ninety years ago was one of the crucial points of the Dolomite front Eastern, which if broken would lead directly in Val Pusteria and railway node vital communications Austrian.
The war on Monte Piana
The first dead Italians on the front of Cadore were two alpine 67th company, which at around 8 and a half of May 24, were hit by a grenade fired by the Austrian battery.
On May 27, the Austrians carrying on the great step of Rondoi a howitzer which immediately began to beat the Piana. In those days the line of Mount Piana that went from the Carducci pyramid overlooking the Vallon Castrati, was guarded by the Alpine soldiers who performed continuous patrols in Popena Val and Val Rimbianco.