Redipuglia is the largest military shrine in Italy. Its numbers-more than 100,000 remains, 39,857 identified remains, 22 steps, 52 hectares of memorial area-remind us of the tragic events that cost the lives of so many men during World War I.
The monument is massive and imposing; the climb to the top allows you to appreciate its majestic architecture. “Present” is sequentially engraved on the steps; the word refers to the chorus of fellow soldiers in response to the commander’s shout calling the name of the deceased comrade during the roll call.
Every year on Nov. 4, a memorial ceremony is held at the Redipuglia memorial to honor the 651,000 soldiers who fell in the Great War, with the president of the Senate in attendance.
The shrine is a majestic monumental cemetery erected in memory of the fallen soldiers of World War I. The site is impressive; the sight of the mighty structure takes one’s breath away.
The climb up to the Three Crosses, consisting of 22 steps with 40,000 tombstones, is reminiscent of a military deployment, with the graves of the Duke of Aosta and his generals in the front line.
Near the shrine you can visit an armored trench from the Great War and Sant’Elia Hill, a large park of Remembrance, which houses the military museum.
The path leading to the top of the shrine starts from the forecourt, where the large tomb of Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, is located, surrounded by the tombs of his generals-Chinotto, Monti, Paolini, Prelli and Riccieri. Immediately beyond is the “Heroic Way” bordered by 2 rows of bronze plaques commemorating the names of the locations of the fighting that took place on the Karst. From here, the monumental staircase extends to the top of the Shrine, which represents Mount Golgotha with the three Crosses.
The staircase consists of 22 steps, containing the bodies of the 40,000 known fallen, arranged in alphabetical order from bottom to top. At the top of the staircase are two communal graves for the bodies of unidentified fallen soldiers. A large anchor chain, which belonged to a torpedo boat, marks the entrance to the shrine.
On top of the shrine is a former votive chapel, which has become Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, a museum area, and an observatory on which the locations of major battles are engraved.
St. Elijah’s Hill rises on the side opposite the shrine.
Originally, the hill housed the monumental cemetery and the remains of the fallen soldiers, which were later transferred to the shrine. The place had a highly symbolic reference and its architecture represented these allegories. The hill was divided into seven concentric sectors that reached from the base to the top and depicted the circles of Dante’s Purgatory; the tombstones were crowned with war materials found in the Mount Sei Busi area.
Today, St. Elias Hill has become the Park of Remembrance. The memorial park consists of a wide avenue; on either side of it are tanks and reproductions of memorabilia and the original epigraphs, like an open-air museum. On the top is a Roman column from the excavations in Aquileia, laid in memory of the fallen of all wars. The avenue is surrounded by cypress trees; the atmosphere is meditative.
Mount Sei Busi and the Isonzo Karst line, the scene of famous and bloody battles, can be distinguished from the hill.
Near the square, an armored trench dating back to the Great War can be visited. The trench was built in June 1915, in reinforcement of the war movements of the First and Second Battles of the Isonzo. The trench can be visited and its external and internal walkways can be walked.
The Redipuglia military shrine is a sacred monument, so it is always open, as is the park of remembrances.
The Shrine Museum, the Military Museum near the parking lot, and the Great War Multimedia Museum, located in the train station near the parking lot, have varying openings depending on the season, which can be viewed on the official website.
Visits to the shrine, church and museum areas are free of charge. Parking for cars, RVs and buses is also free, with no parking after 8 pm.
Adjacent to the parking lot are a bar-restaurant and restrooms.
The Redipuglia shrine is located in the province of Gorizia, in the municipality of Fogliano Redipuglia.
The shrine has convenient free parking in front of the forecourt and parking for coaches and campers (no parking after 8 pm).
The Redipuglia memorial is a sacred monument; polite behavior and a respectful attitude are required. In addition, smoking is prohibited in the entire area and dogs are not allowed.
The Redipuglia memorial is open year-round. Since it is an outdoor facility, it is recommended to visit on a sunny day. It is also advisable to equip yourself properly on hot days, as there are no shaded areas in which to shelter.
Since this is a sacred place, access to dogs is prohibited.
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