Mountains talk to us

Walter Bonatti, great man and alpinist, wrote: “Great mountains have the value of the men who climb them, otherwise they would be nothing but a pile of rocks”. For this reason we want to show you our mountains through the historic value of the events that took place here, from the Cadorna Line to the iron mines.

Cadorna Line

Val Fraina

Part of the Orobic stretch of the defensive line “Occupazione Avanzata Frontiera Nord”, also known as Cadorna Line, , winds in the mountains of our territory. This fortified line was built between 1899 and 1918 by the Kingdom of Italy, in order to protect the Italian territory from a possible attack.

Its construction had a huge economic cost and required the effort of more than 20.000 workers, but the line was never used for military purposes, even though during World War II some battles between Partisans and Nazi-Fascists took place in some parts of it.

To this day there are many visible ruins of the Line in the area.

overview of the fortified line at the “Bocchetta di Stavello

Bocchetta di Stavello

Val Fraina

At “Bocchetta di Stavello”- follow the itinerary for Mount Rotondo and Colombana you can find two dry stone walls emplacements and concrete slits. Going up the ridge towards Mount Rotondo there are ruins of a small barracks and a series of communication trenches, in addition to a tunnel carved into the rock where artillery was hidden..

Another emplacement lies at an altitude of 2120 m a.s.l. towards Val Gerola, with a series of slits and a bay with riflemen posts. At 2380 m a.s.l. you can see the ruins of a hemicycle emplacement, and almost on top of the mountain there’s an emplacement with a cannon post.

Bocchetta Stavello. Resti fortino militare.
Dry stone walls and concrete slits at “Bocchetta di Stavello”

Part of the Orobic stretch of the Cadorna Line winds in the mountains of our territory.

Bocchetta di Colombana and Cima Fraina

Val Fraina

At Bocchetta di Colombana you can notice the solid ruins of two barracks and a large emplacement for heavy weapons. Going up the southern side of Bocchetta Colombana there are three stone emplacements; on the northern side a bay leads to an artillery post protected by a masonry trench.

Not far from there you can find two other trench stretches. Going up towards Cima Fraina, at 2280 m a.s.l., there is another trench with slits, then cannon posts and, on the top of the mountain, a small observatory.

To learn more:

Museo etnografico di Premana

Cima Fraina
Cima Fraina, 2280 m a.s.l.

The “Fim

Valle dei Forni and Valvarrone

. Fim is the best-preserved steel and iron mill of our area. It dates back to the second half of the eighteenth century and its ruins are visible and visitable at the beginning of the Valle dei Forni – follow the itinerary for the Valle dei Forni – right after the industrial area of Giabbio.

Here you can find good-preserved ruins of the old forges and of the mill which generated energy by channeling the water from the Varrone stream.

We invite you to visit the area in a safe way and not to go inside the ruins.

La fim a Prema
The Fim: old steel and iron mill.

The Partisans in Barconcelli

Valle dei Forni and Valvarrone

Premana and its territory became without a doubt the main hiding place for the rebels of the lecchese area. The geography made this valley an impervious, almost inaccessibile locality, since it was far away from all the communication routes. (…)

The Trona pass was the reference base for the guerrilla, but many other places were home to partisan bands, including Barconcelli.

Here you can find a memorial cross in the rocks, where 4 Partisans were killed by the Fascists. It was October the 8th, 1944, and the end of the war was near.”.

SOURCE: Antonio Bellati, “Viit de Quai Sort”.

CrocePartigiani barconcelli premana
The memorial cross for the 4 partisans killed on the path towards Barconcelli

Valvarrone mines

Valle dei Forni and Valvarrone

The mines are located in the upper Valvarrone – follow the itinerary for Alpe Varrone – not far from the mountain refuge “Casera Vecchia”. The mines are made of many tunnels (some of them collapsed) and were active from the XII to the XVIII century. After the industrial revolution and the emergence of new technologies the mines were abandoned.

Some of them are visitable (don’t forget to bring a flash light!). To learn more:

Alpeggio Varrone
The iron mines are located not far from Alpe Varrone

You can reach the Bocchetta di Trona by following the military route which goes up to the Varrone plateaus

The Cadorna Line at Bocchetta di Trona

Valle dei Forni and Valvarrone

At Bocchetta di Trona, which you can reach by following the military route up towards the Varrone plateaus, near the pass you can find a concrete redoubt with two foreparts in the northern and southern corners, characterized by rectangular slits. A half-moon shaped emplacement aims at the Trona lake: on this side there’s a tunnel communication trench which leads to an observatory on Val Varrone.

The former blockhouse was built in 1917 in order to stop the Austrians from advancing, in case of breakthrough of the Stelvio-Adamello front, through Valtellina and the Pianura Padana, towards Milan. After the war it became a chapel.

On the opposite side, going down towards the new Trona dairy hut, you can find the trenches which protected the pass from a possible attack from Val Gerola. This defensive line is part of the Cadorna Line, which runs to the summits of Val Fraina.

the blockhouse at Bocchetta di Trona

“Pio XI” House at Bocchetta di Trona

Valle dei Forni and Valvarrone

At Bocchetta di Trona, on the Cadorna Line, you can see the ruins of “Pio XI” House. Built in 1924, it was a mountain refuge and holiday camp of Milan’s Oratories Federation. On March 21st, 1944, the Nazi-Fascists set it on fire to take a shelter away from the Partisans. Some ruins of the house are still visible at 2122 m a.s.l. on the side towards Varrone near the Trona pass.

historic photo of “Pio XI” House at Bocchetta di Trona

Rock-carved cross

Northern-western side above Premana

On the path which goes up towards the alp of Piancalada – follow the itinerary for Premaniga and Deleguaggio – you can find the so called “Piöde dal Croos”, “the Rock of the Crosses”. On this rock the first engravings of our territory were found.

In 1995, on the initiative of the premanese writer, historician and poet Antonio Bellati, the rock was shown to the expert Oleg Zastrow, who recognized the ancientness of the engravings.

In the same period a lot of engravings were discovered, all of them between 1300 and 1800 m a.s.l and on south-faced slopes.

The engravings are cupels of many shapes and dimensions and the crosses have various shapes and are engraved using different techniques.

The discovery has an important historical value, since it proves the presence of human activity in the area since milleniums ago.

PiodeDalCroos Premana
Piode dal Croos on the path for Piancalada

Masentìghe Chapel

Northern-western side above Premana

The Masentìghe Chapel, near the alp of Deleguaggio – follow the itinerary for Premaniga – is dedicated to a Partisan who was killed by the Nazi-Fascists.
Achille Ratti (then Pope Pio XI) spent one night here on its climb to Mount Legnone. There’s a plaque in his memory.
Deleguaggio was also shelter for the survivors of Spartaco Cavallini’s Partisans band, which operated in val Varrone and val Gerola. They were stationed at Grassi and Pio X refuges (which were then destroyed), and they escaped the German’s encirclement by hiding at the alp for a month.

Masentìghe Chapel, on the path for Deleguaggio