Among the many surviving buildings that were built during the Isonzo Front (1915–1917) there are also sacred buildings. One of them is the Italian military Chapel of Mary, Consoler of the Afflicted or Our Lady of Consolation, also known today as the Chapel Bes. The platform on which it was built was situated at the upper edge of a larger military camp located on the saddle between Mts. Planica and Pleče.
According to the inscriptions in the surviving photographs, it was built towards the end of 1916 on the initiative of Major Celestino Bes, the commander of the Val Tanaro Alpini Battalion. In addition to the Val Tanaro Battalion, the Dronero and the Monte Bicocca Alpini Battalions also took part in its construction.
The chapel was dedicated to Mary, Consoler of the Afflicted, as indicated by the Latin inscription Consolatrix Afflictorum above its entrance. A large image of Our Lady of Consolation was also mounted on the altar which was built entirely of brass and iron cases of shells of various dimensions. Motifs of crossed rifles and ice axes, presented in relief at the entrance, and shells of various dimensions at the edge of the façade further emphasize its military origin. Metal parts of the façade fell prey to metal collectors in the post-war period.
The first known renovation of the Chapel Bes was carried out in 1938 by members of the Vicenza Alpini Battalion, who replaced the metal parts of shells that had been removed from the façade with concrete replicas. At that time, the interior as we know it today was probably also arranged. Repeated renovations were done in 1996, 2003 and the last one in 2020.
You can reach the Italian Chapel on Mt. Planica from different directions, up from the village of Drežnica (2 hours) or from the parking area by the Kuhinja Mountain Hut (1 hour). If you are coming up from Kuhinja, be extremely careful when passing the landslide area of the ravine.