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Hemingway Adventure

Fossalta

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 AdventureHe then has his hero bury a ten thousand lire note. The burying of the note is generally considered to be what Hemingway himself did when he came back here in the 1940s. I try a bit of amateur archaeology and see if I can dig around and find it. I get lots of help from the locals, all of it contradictory. The daughter of the man who runs the toll-bridge points me down the slope and nearer the river. The father of the local journalist who has a collection of unexploded First World War shells in his back garden says this is all wrong and it’s actually buried at a site further up-river opposite a small island. As I’m scraping around in the sand, a lean and bearded local computer expert points unequivocally to the island itself. It’s December, and though a smudgy sun is reflected off the water I’m not swimming over there.

Then it occurs to me that if I really want to be true to the precedent set by Hemingway and Colonel Cantwell, I should be burying, not digging.

I look around for something suitable to leave by the banks of the Piave and there in my shoulder bag is the obvious choice.

My contribution to the rich undersoil at Fossalta is the Penguin edition of A Farewell to Arms, which helped me to pass my English Literature ‘A’ Level exam in 1959.
Fossalta di Piave, Italy 
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The Piave river at Fossalta. The Italian positions were on the left bank, Austrian on the right, when battle began at midnight on 8 July 1918. Moments later Hemingway was struck by a mortar blast.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Fossalta
  • Country/sea: Italy
  • Place: Fossalta di Piave
  • Book page no: 54

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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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