Liberation Day

Giorno della Liberazione or Festa della Resistenza is celebrated in Italy on 25th April. It recognises the end of the Italian Civil War and the end of Nazi occupation of Italy in WWII in April 1945.

The liberation led to a referendum on June 2nd which resulted in the end of the monarchy and the creation of the Italian Republic.

April 25th was designated a national holiday in 1949 by Alcide De Gaspari, the last Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy.

There are celebrations all over Italy to mark the day. There are marching bands, parades and political rallies.

We attended an event in Vergemoli in Garfagnana. It seems difficult to believe that this tiny town with a population of about 100 people was caught up in the conflict, but the most northern of the fortifications the German army built across Italy, the Gothic Line, went right through the area.

Old army vehicles assembled in front of the comune.

Inside there was a collection of old photos. The tiny village saw lots of action and the village itself was bombed.

The photos are by Attilio Viziano.

Here you can see Vergemoli being bombed.

The people in front of this air raid shelter look remarkably cheerful.

Vergemoli

This is a photo of Vergemoli. It is interesting to note that there are no forests around the town as there are today. All the land was cultivated in those days. The hills were planted with wheat, grape vines and vegetables. No doubt this helped the people survive the horrors of war.

I can’t imagine having to live through what these people did. What a pity we don’t seem to learn enough from past conflicts.

A book has been put together by Andrea Giannasi and Moreno Maffucci about the Gothic Line in Garfagnana where these photos and more have been included.

We bought it even though it is in Italian. It will be good practice to try to read it.

12 thoughts on “Liberation Day

  1. The book sounds interesting. Great old photos of the resistance. Difficult terrain to farm so intensely and good to know that Italian deforestation is now not the approach.

    • Our land at Casa Debbio is terraced. It is very steep and the terraces are narrow. Wheat was grown here and later grapes. There was a fire here about 50 years ago and most of it was burnt to the ground. When we came most of the land was covered in brambles. We have some chestnut trees, hazelnuts and walnuts and a couple of old cherry trees. The rest was acacia, which unfortunately, has taken over in the hills as it grows more quickly than the other trees. We are gradually clearing the acacia to allow some of the smaller oaks, frasino and other trees to grow. It is always fun to find a tree we want hidden away. We have also uncovered some figs and olives which are now thriving.

  2. I wonder if the people of Europe would show as much solidarity and efforts, if there should ever be a new war. And if tjhey would know how to produce enough food to eat. We need to remember our liberation days forever. Never forget.

  3. What a coincidence as we commemorated ANZAC Day here in Australia yesterday. Isn’t it interesting how the land had been cleared for farming – you would never know now as the forest has regenerated throughout the area.

    • A lot of rubbish acacia has grown in the hills. It grows more quickly than the chestnut trees and is difficult to control. The flowers are good for the bees, but it is pretty useless for anything else except firewood.

  4. I remember as a child the hillside farms were so beautiful being terraced and planted with grapevines on the narrower terraces and olives on the wider ones. Under the Chestnuts was kept clean. The potatoes and wheat were usually grown where the land was not as steep so the terraces were even wider.
    The grass on the sides of the terraces was cut fresh for the caged rabbits or cut for hay.
    Any fallen timber was collected for firewood and the walking tracks were kept clean because almost everyone used them. Very hard times but the countryside was picture perfect.

    • Casa Debbio was a farm until 60 years ago. It must have been beautiful. We are lucky to have a few surviving chestnut and hazelnut trees and some very old cherry trees. It seems such a shame that it was left for the brambles to grow over it.

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