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Fort of Busa Verle

Town: Levico Terme
Built by the Austro-Hungarians between 1907 and 1914, it is situated almost at the border of the province of Trento and Vicenza, on the Highland of Vezzena, between the mountain huts Busa Verle and Cima Verle at an altitude of 1506 m. Together with Campo Fort of Luserna and Belvedere Fort of Lavarone, it was part of the defensive belt between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Reign of Italy and it blocked the Road to the Highland of Asiago.

Heavily bombed during the first months of the war and since May 1916 with the beginning of the Strafexpedition (punitive expedition) and the shift more to the South-East of the frontline, it became home to the accommodations and optical point of connection.

It was dismantled in the 30s and sold to the town of Levico, together with Pizzo Fort, for 2600 Lire. The fort stretches out in a single line with 4 jumps to adapt to the contour lines of the land. Each jump is about two stories high. The main blockhouse is about 70 meters long, it is equipped with rooms for the garrison, a position for close combats (left side), a set of howitzers and a lateral fire station positioned south of the trench.
It is equipped with four rotating cupules and blinded cuniculus connecting different sectors.

The fort was then attacked by the Italians in two different occasions, but after the unsuccessful bombing, they planned to realize a mine tunnel to make it explode. The punitive expedition of May 1916 blocked the plan of the Italians.

At the fort worked, for a while, the director and writer from Val Gardena Luis Trenker. The writer Fritz Weber wrote about this fort in his “Granaten und Lawinen” saying “The inside is like that of a warship: narrow corridors, iron stairs, steel spars on the ceiling, bundles of cables along the walls, artificial light, electric fans, machineries, the smell of naphtha and lubricating grease. The spaces are narrow, with cement walls one meter thick; the two tanks, one of these containing clean water, allow the fort to be independent from the outside world. They even thought of the dead: in a morgue metal coffins are waiting for the victims of the fight for this military technique’s masterpiece.”

The town of Levico obtained in 2012 the contributes to restore the massive fort that was, at the time kept as a ruin, on a very busy path for the excursionists visiting Piz de Levico.

How to get there: The fort can be reached from Passo Vezzena along the pedestrian road that reaches Cima Vezzena, this way is not transitable by cars. From Lavarone, from the Monterovere hotel going to Passo Vezzena, on the left on paved road.

To discover more: M. Maltauro, C. Gattera, A. Povolo, Guida ai forti italiani e austriaci degli altipiani – itinerari e storia, Gino Rossato editore, Valdagno 1995, pp. 105-112
Helmut Dumler, Camminando sul sentiero della Pace verso le Dolomiti, vol. 2, Dal Monte Pasubio alle Dolomiti di Sesto,  Athesia Spectrum, Bolzano 2006, pp 42-43.
“Forti Cima Vezzena e Verle” progetti di recupero al via, in Trentino 3 june 2012, p. 35.
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