Mount Castelaz and Cristo Pensante

Castelaz
  • The Castelàz (2,333 m asl), also known as Monte Castellàzzo, is an isolated rock that looks like a natural fortress. The 22nd of October 1915, during the first part of WWI, the Italian troops occupied the summit, building a system of outposts and trenches on the top of the mountain with the aim of monitoring the enemy front line. 
  • From the summit of Castelàz, it is possible to have a complete overview of Cima Bócche, Passo Rolle, Val Travignolo, Val di Fiemme and Buse dell’Oro. The strategic position of the outpost allowed the Italian troops to point the artillery towards the Austro-Hungarian lines positioned by Cima Bocche, Paneveggio and Colbricón.
  • By the plateau called Pian della Vezzana (approx. 1,920m a.s.l.), it is still possible to see the ruins of an old military camp (here is the exact location), used as a lower altitude camp hosting troops and supplying ammunition (presumably through a lift) to the outposts on the top of Monte Castelàz. About 1000 men from the Calabria and Basilicata brigades were stationed by the Castelàz.
  • While the trenches and outposts on the top of Castelàz are now a tourist attraction, the ruins in Pian della Vezzana have never been repaired nor included as part of any WWI itinerary, so they just stand fully abandoned.
  • The Austro-Hungarian troops have never struck against Castelàz, thus the summit remained occupied by the Italians until November 1917 when, following the devastating defeat of Caporetto, the Italian troops withdrew to the new line on the Piave river.
  • Before 2009, the Castelàz (tr. ugly castle) has been undoubtedly one of the least popular summits in Primiero. Since 2009, tens of thousands of visitors have been walking to visit the statue of Cristo Pensante (tr. thinking/pondering Jesus). The statue was made by Paolo Lauton with a single block of white marble from Predázzo (Predazzìte). Remarkable is the crown of the statue, built with WWI barbed wire. Pino Dellasega is the actual creator of the idea of developing a special trekking around the statue (Trekking del Cristo Pensante), with the aim of enabling young people and families to stay in contact with nature, having some spiritual thoughts  at the same time.

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