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Hemingway Adventure

Redipuglia

Redipuglia, Italy 
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Details of the massive war memorial at Redipuglia, which commemorates over a hundred thousand Italians killed on the Eastern front in the First World War.
Michael Palin - Hemingway Adventure'Chasing yesterdays is a bum show,’ Hemingway confided to readers of the Toronto Daily Star after visiting Fossalta in 1922.

Hemingway was in his element when writing about war - not what caused it, but how it was fought. No wonder he found battlefields in peacetime such a let down. It must be like finding that your childhood home has become a car park - or the hospital where you first fell in love has become a bank.

Hemingway never flinched from describing the brutality and the destruction of war but he could not write it all off as barbarity. War was a crucible in which something positive could be forged. In battle, acts of loyalty, bravery, and self-sacrifice were everyday occurrences.

I can’t help thinking of all this as I climb up the vast terraces of the First World War memorial at Redipuglia, an hour’s drive east of Fossalta. Entombed in the hillside below me are the remains of a hundred thousand soldiers of the Italian Third Army who fought and died against the Austrians and Germans in the Great War. It’s been estimated that a million were killed on both sides.

At the bottom is a monument to the Duke of Aosta, commander of the Third Army; behind him are five black granite blocks marking the remains of his five generals and behind them, rising up the slope, are twenty-two white limestone terraces, each one a hundred and fifty yards long and twenty feet deep. The remains of those who died are set into the walls of these terraces and the leading edge of each terrace is embossed with the endlessly repeated word ‘Presente’.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Redipuglia
  • Country/sea: Italy
  • Place: Redipuglia
  • Book page no: 55

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RELATED LINKS

  • Italy
  • Day 2 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 3 
  • Around the World in 80 Days

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