A mountain as a national shrine
The 1776-metre-high Monte Grappa is located north of Bassano del Grappa and gave both the city and the brandy its name. It is best reached by way of Romano d'Ezzelino, east of Bassano del Grappa, on the SP148. In the First World War the Monte Grappa massif was a scene of heavy fighting between the Italians and Austrians. In many desperate and ultimately successful defensive battles the Italians prevented a breakthrough by the Austrians through their last line of defence, and thus the invasion of the Venetian plain. Since then, the Monte Grappa is a national shrine and a symbol of the Italian will to defend.
To commemorate the battles and heavy losses and to honour the dead the monumental Sacrario Militare di Cima Grappa was erected below the summit. Here rest the mortal remains of 12,615 Italians and 10,295 Austrians. The complex consists of five concentric circles and the connected chapel includes a statue of the Madonna, which was damaged by a grenade in 1918. The remains of the fortifications below the summit, with their branched tunnel system and various bastions and gun emplacements, give a good idea of the extent and nature of the Italian line of defence.