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Hidden Treasures - Itinerary The Blue Line of Lake Garda

Historical itinerary which follows a part of the “Blaue Linie” (Blue Line), the last defense line of the German army at the foot of the Italian Alps in 1944-45, a part of which is located on the northern shore of Lake Garda and the foothills of Monte Baldo near Torbole.


Start: Punta Lido, Riva del Garda or Piazza Lietzmann, Torbole
End: Piazza Lietzmann, Torbole
Length: 6 km (2 km from Torbole)
Duration: 3 h. (2h from Torbole)
Elevation difference: 100 m
Difficulty: medium
Notes: Can be started from either Riva or Torbole. Important: On the way it is possible to visit a few bunkers (Busatte, Dos Tenim, Castel): bring along a torch and suitable footwear, and pay close attention to your surroundings at all times.

1. Blaue Linie

The “Blaue Linie” (Blue Line) was the last defense line built by the German armed forces at the foot of the Italian Alps in order to stop the advance of the Allies after the predictable failure of the “Grüne Linie” (the Green Line, better known as the “Gothic Line”). It followed the old Austrian-Hungarian border for about four hundred kilometers, linking Stelvio pass to the upper Lake Garda, the mountains north of Belluno, the Julian Alps, Gorizia and Monfalcone, making use of old defensive works from the First World War whenever possible.Work on its construction began between summer and fall of 1944 but was never finished. In the northern area of Lake Garda, to guard the lake and the two roads on either side, about sixty bunkers were partially functional at the end of April 1945 when, between the 28th and the 30th, the Tenth Mountain Division of the US Army defeated the Germans after a tough and bloody battle for Torbole.
2. Ringstand at Punta Lido

At Punta Lido in Riva del Garda we can see a Ringstand (the Allies called it a “Tobruk pit”) a defensive post for two people, built in reinforced concrete. Its entrance is protected against shrapnel by two walls. Inside is a small room used as entrance and storage space, from which a few steps lead up into a smaller room tapering off into a circular opening at the top, with a radius of ca 80cm. Here the weaponry was installed, on a circular rail track which allowed to swing and tilt it easily. As a post it was difficult to detect with aerial surveillance due to its small footprint. Continuing on the promenade to Torbole we can see a few other buildings, dating back to the First World War, which were refurbished in 1945 as part of the Blue Line.
8. Bunker Alla Val

Located in Torbole, in via Pescicoltura (once via “alla Val”- valley road). The bunker, the largest one of those in the upper Garda Area, was built in 1944 to host a command post of the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force. After the Luftwaffe was dissolved, the bunker was repurposed as a bomb shelter for the population of Torbole. It consists of two tunnels converging on two interconnecting rooms. Inside you can still see the shallow drains for collection and disposal of water infiltrations; some of the floor planks (the planks that covered the walls disappeared soon after the war); the ceramic insulators for the electric cables, and close to the two entrances, we can see two receses with the function of breaking shockwaves produced by explosions near the entrance. The first part of either tunnel is further reinforced with concrete due to the thinness of the rock layer. In the last days of the war it was used as a shelter by most of the population of Torbole. 

"I remember the life in the shelter well. Inside were all those of Picalof  (popular name of the town center area) and refugees from Lombardy. The shelter had become a public toilet, and children started not to wake up anymore due to the terrible fumes from the urine and the rest. There was neither air nor water, because the shelter was unfinished. We were so many in there, we did not even know who everyone was, and perhaps there were even disguised Germans, who knows. The last times we were in there for 3 or 4 days straight. I remember Carmela and her sick child, who died after the war "(Testimony of Sofia Gioppi).
9. Adige-Garda tunnel

Just south of Torbole the opening of the Adige-Garda  tunnel can be seen, where the factories of the aviation enterprise Caproni had been transferred to escape Allied bombing, similar to what had happened with the factories of FIAT, BREDA and others which had been relocated to 70 tunnels on the western Gardesana road. The Adige-Garda tunnel had been designed as a drainage canal to, if necessary, divert the waters of the Adige river into Lake Garda (from the water intake at Mori) in order to prevent previously recurrent catastrophic floods in the Polesine area.

At the outbreak of war the excavation, originally begun in 1939, was interrupted. By then the shaft was two kilometers deep. In late spring in 1944, after adapting the tunnel to industrial requirements, Caproni enterprises, who could count on 1,300 employees, including workers and technicians housed in shacks at Linfano, was ready to start working in accordance with Messerschmitt production schedules.In Torbole Caproni produced support support equipment for fighter aircrafts (Me 163, Me 262), for the flying bomb "V 1", the missile "V 2", and other similar but more modern missiles.
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