War Tragedies in Capezzano

We realised soon after we moved in here that we were living in what had been a turbulent area during World War II.  The massacre that occurred in Santa Anna is only a few miles over the hills and we are quite near what was called the 'Linea Gothica' - an important front between the Allied and Axis forces.  This area was an active Partisan zone and the hillsides are scattered with crosses and memorials to long-forgotten battles.

A couple of days ago we began exploring our olive grove and went right down to the bottom, where we found a path that led through the woods.  Just past our neighbour's olives,  about a hundred yards from the bottom of our olive grove, we found this memorial to the massacre of six 'unarmed and defenceless' men who had been killed there.

Their names are also on a plaque in the village, which we'd read, but had  had no idea where they had died.  There are no ages listed on the memorial.  As most of the men of military age were in the mountains fighting, it was probably only young boys and old men who were left.  According to our landlord, Roberto, whose family have lived in this village for generations, the German forces came along the path below our olive grove, taking the village by surprise.  These six were taken down into the woods and shot on the 12th August 1944.  The memorial is very well tended, with fresh flowers and the Italian flag planted in the ground under the trees beside it.   

Coming from England, it is very difficult to imagine having to live, as Europe does, with this kind of history - it's many centuries since we were occupied by a foreign power.   But many of the people here are relatives of those who died and are old enough to remember them.


  1. How such an event must have torn the heart out of a small community.
    Alas we have a number of memorials scattered around our countryside. They of course recall our violence to Aboriginal people as occupiers.
    At least we have grown up enough to recognise that aspect of our history.


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