Tracing the battle of Fonteno
Insights During the Resistance, the habitants of the hills of San Fermo assumed an impor- tant strategic role, because they would control the German troops’ transit through the Tonale State Road which in part crossed the Cavallina Valley. The Tonale State Road was of vital importance as it enhanced communications between Northern Italy and Germany and that is why the Partisans were not welcomed. Thanks to 75 well armed men by allied air launchers, the hills of San Fermo were dominated by the 53rd Garibaldi Brigade also known as “Tredici Martiri di Lovere” (Lovere’s
Thirteen Martyrs) guided by Commander Giovanni Brasi (Montagna). Fonteno’s Battle of 31st August 1944 was a response to the nazi fascist mopping up operation to liberate two German officials and their interpreter that had been captured three days before at Solto Collina and detained in a cottage at Casini. This involved one of the first warlike campaigns conducted by the Partisans resulting in a retreat of the nazi fascist troops which had captured some natives in a church threatening to burn the village and kill them all.
Equipped with fountain water from the Piazza, we will start our walk towards Via Campello. We will walk until we reach a paved road. This is the beginning of Torrezzo’s mule track along which we will find Il Santello, a small alpine chapel. At the first crossroad towards Pradetu we will keep right always going up. A few metres later we will find asecond crossroad where we will keep left on a flat plain terrain. If we had taken right over here, we would have found ourselves up at La Flora Agrituri-smo, note that at the moment it is closed indefini-tely (taking this direction as a shortcut we may half the itinerary’s distance but not the steepness).
Going forward we will come across a covered rest area where it is possible, through detailed billboards, to get to know more about the discovery of many abysses beneath the valley. The exploration tours are conducted by various speleology groups under Associazione Sebynica (www.sebynica.com). At the moment they are trying to map this complex area and are yet to allow the public in; this does not exclude that in the next future it might become a huge tourist attraction for the public once they are let in. Moving forth with our walk, we will come across an Enel cabin with a detailed billboard about the caves. Henceforth, walking along a white road immersed by fir trees, we will find ourselves at Point Colletto. We should find a geolab at the end of the road. Keeping right down the tarmacked road we should see a monument dedicated to the Fallen of the Battle of Fonteno. Turn right from here. This trek follows CAI 568 route which leads to Mount Torrezzo, but begins our descent towards Mount Boario. Here we will find a small alpine chapel descending towards Fonteno and finally at the Piazza which was the starting point.
How to arrive and where to park
This excursion starts from the square of Fonteno. You may park at the parking lot near the sports field of Fonteno (going down on your left just before Piazza Ongaro).
Credits: La Collina Outdoor