Anne's Blog

Bologna’s Sacrario, a Stirring Memorial

Date: February 22, 2017 - categories: , , - 1 Comment

Somewhere near the main piazza of any Italian town – no matter now small – il monumento ai caduti (literally, “the monument to the falllen”) – pays tribute to those townspeople who died in World War I and World War II.

In tiny Collepino (pop. about 25) near Assisi, pink limestone memorial to the six village boys who died in World War I


Sometimes, the tribute inscribed with the names of the town’s caduti will just be a simple limestone or marble plaque on the bellower base, on the wall of city hall or flanking the medieval entryway to the town.

In Talla (Tuscany), memorial plaque on City Hall.



Coppito (Abruzzo), a city hall memorial with all the soldiers’ names, the laurel wreath of honor and Italian flags


Near Spoleto, in the tiny hilltown of Eggi, you’ll see the memorial to the left of the medieval entryway


In the Umbrian mountain town of Vallo di Nera, the memorial is at the base of the bellower


Torgiano’s memorial at the base of the medieval bellower, laurel wreath below


…or the war memorial might be on a church wall – or even inside the church…..

Only a handful of (week-end) residents in San Giovanni (near Spello) but the war memorial is there, on the church wall



In Deruta, citta’ della maiolica, the maiolica war memorials are inside a church:



In Assisi, memorial plaques in the Cathedral of San Rufino commemorate those who died in the World Wars as well as in Africa, indicating the Assisi parish of each boy




Laurel wreaths of victory often hang near the memorial, sometimes renewed by the locals every April 25th (“Giorno della Liberazione”, celebrating April 25, 1945 when Milan was liberated, marking the end of World War II):



A visitor finds Spello’s monumento flanked with laurel wreaths on the once-frescoed wall of their 14th- c city hall


Palazzo di Assisi commemorates April 25th with flags waving in front of their monumento ai caduti


Quite often, a dramatic statue of battling soldiers or a hero on horseback will be the centerpiece of the monument:

San Ginesio (The Marches), monumento ai caduti


On the war memorial of the tiny Abruzzo town, Coppito, a fallen soldier grasps an image of la Madonna



Gubbio’s World War I monument, erected in the Fascist period, flaunts a barrel-chested soldier resembling Mussolini!


Fallen soldier in bronze on Bevagna’s war memorial


Quite often, the names of the caduti are inscribed on a oolumn:

Near Assisi, in the village of Rivtorto, a memorial column


Bolsena’s memorial: a simple column, topped with a bronze statue of a winged Victory


Island of Ventotene war memorial column in front of City Hall


The limetone memorial column of San Marcello, small marchigiano town, is topped by eagles, flanked by torpedoes


In some towns, like Poppi (Tuscany), funerary monuments are grandiose, imposing:


But, for Pino and myself, no funerary monument is more moving than the Sacrario in Piazza Nettuno a Bologna:  on the external wall of the elegant Palazzo d’Accursio, the photos of over 2000 bolognesi resistance fighters – partigiani – hang where captured blindfolded and bound partigiani faced firing squads, 1943 – 1945.  After the war, families of the partigiani  visited the site, posting photos of deceased loved ones on the wall, vases of flowers at the base.  And so the Sacrario was born.






An element of joy is on the monument, too: photos of the liberation of Bologna, April 21, 1945. Mille grazie a tutti voi partigiani.





Read about our trip to Bologna
Read about April 25th, La Liberazione
Read about another significant war memorial – in Gubbio

1 Comment

  • Ann Krapf says:

    It’s amazing that all these towns have their own memorial to honor their heroes. I wish I had known about the one in Bologna…we were just there in September.

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