WWI in the Dolomites: During & After
World War One was a war so different from previous wars, due to the sheer magnitude, military equipment, and manpower needed to fight. The war came with many consequences for soldiers, civilians, and the countries involved. There were many large-scale battles during WWI, but one unique smaller-scale battle would change the course of history for both Italy and Austria.
Between 1915 and 1917 the little-known Dolomites front was bitterly fought over between Italy and Austria. Unlike the larger-scale battles, this battle was dictated by the landscape of the sizable mountain range. Because of the challenging terrain, both countries had to rely on innovative methods of warfare and outstanding acts of bravery. Both sides used to attack and mine tunnels that they created to help survive the harsh climates including heavy snowfall and avalanches. When visiting the Dolomites, these amazing networks can be accessed through a variety of war-themed hikes and via ferrata. These include a circular hike to Monte Piana (2,324m / 7,625'), a climb through the spectacular trenches of Col di Lana (2,462m / 8,077'), and a descent in a well-preserved First World War tunnel in the Sass di Stria (2,477m / 8127). The battle ended the morning of October 29th when Italy launched a final victorious offensive drive into the town of Vittorio Veneto.
The battle of the Dolomites may not be the most well-known battle of WWI, but it was a battle of man-against-man and valued heroic actions of individuals. The bitter battles fought at cities like Col di Lana and Caporetto can be seen through themed walking tours, hikes through trenches and ruins, and exploring the mine tunnels. The Dolomites are rich with WWI history – don’t miss out!