Built between 1911 and 1914, Fort Montecchio Nord is the only Italian military fort of First World War that has kept its original armament intact and remains one of the best preserved in Europe. The historical complex, well-placed in the defensive system of the Northern Frontier, the so-called Cadorna Line, is magnificent: built into the rock, it is characterized by walls of St. Fedelino white granite from the nearby quarries of Novate Mezzola carved by local highly skilled stonemasons. It also includes a variety of environments and underground walkways, including an explosives storage room over 60 meters deep. The main function of the fort was to control the roads from Spluga, Maloja and Stelvio in the event that the Austro-Hungarian Empire, violating the neutrality of Switzerland, decided to invade Northern Italy.
A visit of the fort today allows you to observe the architectural, technical and organizational solutions, some of which were quite innovative for the time, adopted by the military at the beginning of the century in the building. All details remain intact today, including not only the four imposing cannons in rotatable positions under armored domes, model Schneider 149 mm (with a range of 14 km), but also the electrical systems, all of the original armored windows and doors in addition to the complex systems of ventilation and the water supply.
The structure consists of two separate blocks: the floor that housed the four guns, and the shelter for the housing of the troops. The two blocks are connected by a covered walkway curved and fortified about 140 meters long and backing the mountain on the east side. The trench has a width of 2.5 meters and a height of 3 meters while the upper vault has a thickness of about 1.5 meters and is constructed with irregular stones of granite. The walls of the trench were made with ten slots which allowed a broad range for shooting the enemy, and at the same time reducing a particular target. The area devoted to the shelter is located in the lower part; in this space, obtained thanks to the partial excavation of part of the hill, was the dormitory place destined to the troops. One heated room could accommodate about 40 people and as many camp beds and lockers for personal belongings.
At the time of its construction the fort was called “Montecchio Nord”, after the place where it was located. This was typical procedure with Italian forts, naming them after the location on which they were built. Only later, in 1939, was it dedicated, as was customary at that time, to the gold medal holder for military valor Aldo Lusardi, mortally wounded on November 5th, 1935 in the Addi Gundi Italian zone in East Africa.
Given the events of the war, the fort, which was the strong point of a complex system of barriers that extended until Mount Legnone, remained inactive throughout the First World War. The structure was not even used in military actions during the Second World War. The only gun shots were fired on April 27th, 1945 to the opposite side of the lake against the Italian-German armed forces moving towards Switzerland after dropping Mussolini in the hands of the partisans in Dongo. The incident prompted the Captain Hans Fallmeyer to start negotiations with the partisans to put an end to incidents of war in the upper lake area. Later the fort was used as a weapons depot and was manned and active until 1981, when it was handed over definitively to the Civil State property. In 1998 the Ministry of Finance entrusted the management of the Montecchio Nord to the Council of Colico. Since 2009 the City of Colico has entrusted the management to the Museo della Guerra Bianca in Adamello in order to improve the tourist usability.
Thanks to its strategic location you can enjoy a splendid view of the upper lakes, with a lovely view also of the nearby nature reserve of Pian di Spagna, Lake Mezzola, the mouth of the Adda river and Mount Legnone.
(Text from the Brochure "Colico Outdoor")
Closed, reopening in Spring 2021.
The fort can be visited by appointment for organized groups any day of the year. For agreements contact the secretariat.
Adults: € 8,00
Children 6-17 years: € 5,00
Children up to 5 years: free of charge
Comulative ticket (Forte Montecchio Nord and Forte Fuentes): Adults € 10,00 - Children 6-17 years € 6,00