Cappella degli Alpini

Auronzo di Cadore, Italy | C.1834

Photo Credit: Jacopo Pulcini

The Cappella degli Alpini is a small chapel in the province of Belluno, Veneto, about 120km (75mi) north of Venice and about 50km (31mi) north east of Belluno. The chapel is located within the area of the Tre Cime di Laveredo, or “Three Peaks of Laveredo,” which are three distinctive battlement-like peaks and one of most well-known mountain groups in the Alps.

Until 1919 the peaks formed part of the border between Italy and Austria. Now they lie on the border between the Italian provinces of South Tyrol and Belluno and still are a part of the linguistic boundary between German-speaking and Italian-speaking majorities.

From 1420 until 1797, the area was part of the Republic of Venice. When conquered by the French, it became a subject of the Austrian Empire as a part of Venetian Province. The Belluno Province remained under Austrian control after the Napoleonic Wars, as part of the Kingdom of Lombardy – Venetia until 1866, when it was ceded to the newly formed Kingdom of Italy.

In 1923, the Province of Belluno obtained Cortina d’Ampezzo, Saint Lucia and Livinallongo Colle del Col di Lana which had been part of Austria-Hungary (the County of Tyrol). The chapel was built between 1916-1917 by two bersaglieri (infantry corps) of the Italian Army. Since the mountains where the chapel were built were the scene of several bloody battles between Italians and Austro-Hungarians during World War I, the church was originally dedicated to Mary Help of Christians.

Today, the chapel is the starting point on the 10mi out and back hiking trail of Cappella degli Alpini – Monte Crocione. The trail is designed for moderate hikers given its rocky terrain and forest routes. The hike also features a walk through an old World War II tunnel.

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