Alta Badia in the Dolomites area, recent past
The Dolomites area has been the central theatre of the bloody and hard battles fought between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy during the First World War. The cruel struggles carried out in order to secure the territory and define the borders often took place along inaccessible and dangerous mountain crests. A cruel war in Alta Badia faught in a merciless natural environment; many soldiers, not used to the tough and bitter conditions of the alpine climate, died of the so called “white death”, which means they perished under avalanches, snow or because of the freezing temperatures.
The Hikers in the Alta Badia
Many of the paths in Alta Badia used by hikers nowadays, used to be military mule tracks and many of the vie ferrate were created as a way to help troops move fast at high altitude in very difficult conditions.
As both armies were trying to gain control of the peaks, ladders, suspension bridges and fixed iron cables were permanently installed, the vie ferrate. There are still many relicts scattered around those beautiful mountains, a witness of a dark past full of fear and uncertainty. In order to keep the memory of those events alive, you can visit open air war museums at Cinque Torri and Lagazuoi.
Most impressive the Kaiserjäger path, a quite strenuous secured hike starting at the Passo Falzarego and leading you along the original track used by the Austrians. Original but restored wartime tunnels, trenches and fortifications are to be seen along the way. Alta Badia became part of the Italian territory after the First World War.