German Breakthrough and the Paths of Italian Retreat in the Natisone Valleys
The reasonably easy footpath starts in the village of Tribil Superiore/Gorenji Tarbij, and mostly runs above and next to the main road, passing the smaller hamlets of Gnidovizza/Gnjiduca, Clinaz/Klinac and Varch/Varh. The path then takes us past the manmade entrance to the Klance shaft that takes you to the two Italian artillery positions that controled the old military road which led to the Judrio/Idrija Valley below. Soon after these positions we arrive at the Church of St. John (San Giovanni), one of numerous examples of sacral architecture in this area, also included in the trail 44 Chiesette votive delle Valli del Natisone (44 votive churches of the Natisone Valleys). Beautiful views of the Kanalski Kolovrat Ridge and other visible remains of World War I accompany you along the way. After an hour’s walk you will reach the church of St. Nicholas (San Nicolo), in the vicinity of which, during the German breakthrough in the Twelfth offensive (27 October 1917), fierce battles took place with the Elba Brigade that had the role of the protector. After three hours of fighting, the German grenadiers managed to surround the Italian positions. Many Italian soldiers were taken into captivity, and dozens were killed or wounded. Today, some of the original tombstones of the fallen German soldiers and a cross commemorate this battle next to the church.
The trail then slightly ascends towards the hill of San Nicolo and then descends towards the asphalt road leading to the hamlet of Trivio Špik, after which the signposts soon direct you to the trail that takes you to hill Spig/Špik, which the Italian army strongly fortified between 1916‒1917. At the top of the hill, which was part of the Fourth Italian defence line during the Twelfth Isonzo Battle, you can get the feeling of the dramatic events of the Italian retreat on 27 October 1917. Recently cleared positions allow you to see the trenches, artillery positions in the cavern, Buse dal Diàul (Devil’s Cave), etc.
The path then directs you towards Castelmonte/Stara gora, the location of one of the most famous shrines in Friuli Venezia Giulia. The Franciscan monastery, together with the basilica on Sveta Gora and the church of Marijino Celje in Lig, forms three pilgrimage churches.
The price depends on the size of the group.
Length of the guided hike: 13.5 km
Assembly point: parking area by the playground at the village of Tribil Superiore/Gorenji Tarbij