The Tofane were one of the bloodiest battlefields of the Great War. In May 1915, the Italian Army, once they had walked through the Cadore Valley, and occupied Cortina d’Ampezzo, began to besiege the enemy fortresses on the South and West sides of the Tofane, until they were able to conquer, on July 7th, Cima Bois and Forcella Bois.
After a long period of position war, a command of volunteers from Feltre subverted the situation, conquering the top of Tofana di Rozes. However, between this peak and Cima Bois, the “Castelletto” went on resisting to the Italian attacks. This was a huge rock tower, dominating the Costeana and the Travenanzes Valleys. It had been completely inaccessible until July 11th, 1916, when the Italian soldiers made it blow up with a huge mine, being able in this way to continue their advance on the massif, and driving back the Habsbourg Army behind the Lagazuoi-Furcia Rossa line.
With the Caporetto Italian defeat, in November 1917, the Italian soldiers had to withdrew from the Ampezzo Valley, and move towards the South. They were forced to leave their positions, and create a new front behind the Piave river, where the Austro-Hungarian Army would find their final defeat, one year later.
POINTS OF INTEREST IN THE TOFANA AREA:
Great War Ice Gallery
Used during war to shoot towards the Travenanzes Valley, it can be reached through the Ra Zestes path.
Cave of the machine gun and Baracca degli Alpini
Descending from Cima Tofana, along the Tofana di Dentro via ferrata, you will meet a cave used for the machine guns during war, and through which you can have a glimpse on the Travenanzes valley. Nearby, you will find also a bivouac, called Baracca degli Alpini (2922 m), nestled into the rock.
Crucifix on the top of Tofana di Mezzo
Accessible from Cima Tofana with a short walk, along an equipped path, enjoying a wonderful 360° view on the Ampezzo Dolomites.
The cave of the Holy Mary
Along the path n.446, before descending towards the Cianderou gravel road.
Following the tracks of the Great War, you will be driven to the Marmolada Great War Museum (Museo Marmolada Grande Guerra 3000 m) in Serauta – Marmolada. This is the highest museum in Europe, completely renewed in 2015, it is easily accessible thanks to the Marmolada cable car, whose downhill station is in Malga Ciapela. In the area nearby there are many more open-air museums, as those in Lagazuoi, in 5 Torri, the one of the Sasso di Stria, and the Forte Tre Sassi museum, all reachable walking through easy paths.