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Fort Busa Grande

The invisible fort


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Where is

Trentino-Alto Adige

38057 Vignola-falesina TN, Italia (1,407m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

We have just left the center of Compet (1383 mslm), above Levico Terme, 4 kilometers before reaching Cima Panarotta. We take the dirt path to the Busa Granda peak, going through a dense forest for no more than about 20 minutes. And it is just inside that peak, which has the appearance of a golden helmet, that the fort is hidden. Nothing appears of it on the outside, except on the prominence, where two cannons peek out of the ground and stand four poles on which the Italian flag is hoisted.

Why it is special

The dirt path that runs along the outer circular walls of the Busa Grande (or Granda) is enhanced by the presence of stylized wooden sculptures. They represent World War I soldiers who fought and died here. All around, the wooded landscape appears heavily marked by the "Night of Vaia" in October 2018, when winds reached 200 kilometers per hour. Statues of soldiers stand amid piles of trees crashed to the ground... in an almost surreal, battlefield-like scenario...

Not to be missed

In addition to visiting the interior of the Busa Grande (restored in 2016) and retracing the highlights of the use of the armored howitzer battery during the Great War, the most exciting experience is to climb to the top of the fort and observe the landscape. Beyond the four flagpoles, the view opens to Pergine Valsugana, while on the other side is an overhang of the Levico and Caldonazzo lakes.

A bit of history

The entire design of the armored howitzer battery was completed, under the watchful supervision of Captain Emil Huetter of the Trent Directorate of Engineers, in just three and a half months. By June 1915, by the start of the war, the battery was equipped and ready to fire. Today the history of the fort is extensively covered by pictures and detailed information signs in what has become, for all intents and purposes, a veritable museum of the war, set inside a mountain.

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Luigiandrea Luppino

We arrive at the top of the hill where the fort is hidden just after lunchtime. The scenery is surreal: a forest mortally wounded by the 2018 Vaia storm, under a blue sky crisscrossed by contrails and bland veils.