Werk Gschwent - Fort Belvedere

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The History

 

Overall View of Fort of 1918

The Fort, which is within 2 km of Lavarone Cappella hamlet, was built between 1908 and 1914 and is the only one of the seven Fortresses, collectively knows as the iron belt of the Highlands, to survive and retain its original form and structure. The road leading to the Fort has been dedicated by the Municipality of Lavarone, to the Tirolers Kaiserjäger, in their memory and to the memory of the 40% of “Trentini”, who formed their troops. Together with the Fort of Cherle or Werk S. Sebastiano, it strategically controlled the “Val d’Astico” and like its competitor, the Italian Fort of Campomolón, at 1.853 m, it overhung from exactly the opposite side of the valley.

 

 

Moment of life in the Fort.

The motto of the Fort was: "For Trento I am enough". Because of its defensive capabilities and the impossibility to conquer it with a frontal attack, the saying meant that the Fort alone would have been enough to defend the city from the Italian threat. Built on a rocky buttress of the peak on the Val d'Astico it was built in the middle of the defensive line of the highlands, which include the Fort of Spitz Vezzena, Fort Verle and Fort Campo of Luserna to the east, and Fort Cherle, Sommo Alto and Dosso delle Somme to the West. Of the various Forts, it was also the nearest to the Italian lines being located on a peak high above the counties of the “Vicentino”, close to the Italian-Austrian border. The Fort and the whole zone were subjected to a heavy bombardment from the Italian Fort Campomolón from May 28th to June 11th 1915.

View from one window of the Fort.

Is the only Fort of the Highlands that has not suffered the demolition to recover the iron, which was necessary to Italy in the autarchy era. For this, thanks are due to the intervention of the podestà of the epoch Cav. Quarto Stenghele who with the King Vittorio Emanuele III° and the head of the Italian Government Mr. Mussolini, having visited it in 1935, decided to leave it intact to the memory of those tragic times. Seeing it in good condition and only partially damaged by the work of the iron recovery, they decided not to give it the same fate like all the others, by reducing it to rubble with the explosive to extract the precious steel beams (putrelles). 

 

 

Entry view of the Fort.

Other Forts, like those of the Dosso delle Somme, which survived almost intact from the repeated Italian bombardments, were irredeemably destroyed for the recovery of the steel parts. The family of Osele Vittorio acquired the Fort from the Municipality of Lavarone in 1964 and having cleaned it up and installed some pumps to remove the infiltrated waters, then proceeded to install illumination and after some time it was transformed in a museum with an interesting collection of military finds, photos of the era, military and topographical papers, etc. In 1996 the family decide to sell it to the Municipality of Lavarone, who continued with the management of the museum and in the search of new finds for its enrichment. In 1998 the Municipality provided new electrical installations accordance with the latest standards.

 

Internal view of the Fort.

In the spring of 2.000, with the help of the Autonomous Province of Trento, the work was begun for the complete refurbishment of the waterproofing for the roof of the principal building, as well as other important inside renovations and consolidations.

View of the Fort Belvedere and Astico Valley.
Copyright © 1998 Foto Ducia ZT Gmbh

Today, the Foundation Werk Gschwent, named after the Fort, is fully operational with the participation of the association of the Tiroler Kaiserjägerbund of Innsbruck and the Municipality of Lavarone. The purpose of the Foundation is the development and the management of the Fort and all its activities, as well as the promotion of friendship between the Italian and the Tyrolean people. The Foundation has the support from the group of the Kaiserjägers of Lavarone establish in 1996 and which today numbers around 60 subscribers.

 

Officers within this group include: -  

 

The Commander Gianpietro Per. Ind. Bertoldi.  
.
The ex Mayor of Lavarone Carlo Rag. Marchesi.  
.
The Mayor of Folgaria Alessandro Avv. Olivi.  
.

The Fort Werk-Gschwent, was the only one of the seven Fortresses, that constituted the iron belt of the Highlands, built by the order of the Field-Marshall Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf the States Greatest Austrian, that had the fortune to be saved and is a fine example of the historical memory of that period. This is shown from the interest of the Italian and foreigners historians, and from the large numbers of tourists, of which a high percentage are Austrian, German and Dutch and they take the climb to Lavarone on to visit it (in 1999 it numbered 45.000 visitors).

The Fort Belvedere is opened from:

Beginning of April to end of October.

The cost of a ticket for the visit is:

£ 8.000 (€ 4,13), reduced to  £ 4.000 (€ 2,10) for groups of 10 persons or more, ANA and Kaiserjäger, for the holders of the Lavarone Card, for the children up to 14 years and adults over 65 years.

For more information send a E-mail to the followings addresses: 

ComuneLavarone@seldati.it  

Kaiserjaeger@kaiserjaeger.com

Or to contact the followings:

APT Altipiani: Tel. +39 0464 783226
                        Fax. +39 0464 783118  
Municipality of Lavarone: Tel. +39 0464 783179  
Fort Belvedere: Tel. +39 348 2231760  

 

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Copyright © 1999/2002; Gianpietro Per. Ind. Bertoldi all rights reserved. 
This page has been updated on
09/10/05 .