(Guided tours for groups can be booked at: +393480552582, Simone)
The Pontebba’s WWI theme park “Bombaschgraben” is an open-air museum opened in the summer of 2015 and run by the local association “Quello che le montagne restituiscono” (What mountains give back). Visitors can discover the line of outposts – the first defensive line built by the Austro-Hungarian troops to counter a possible Italian invasion from the south – and a series of shelters, caves and emplacements now restored. The visit comprises three sectors that one can walk in a single itinerary or separately, depending on one’s interest and physical fitness. The first sector, marked in green, is the easiest (from the car park at km 3 along the road to Passo Pramollo (6) and includes the line of outposts (7) (initially steep but short). Then to the right there is a belvedere that offers a perfect view over the mountains to the south (8), the villages of Pontebba and Pontafel and what used to be the border. Continuing northwards, the path leads to a cavern, which at the time was used as a machine-gun and cannon emplacement (9). At this point, it is possible to either turn right and descend back to the initial parking area or left, where the second uphill blue sector begins. Here, one can first observe the remains of various barracks used as machine-gun shelters (10), a former power generator (11 Villa Olga), artillery barracks and the emplacement of the telephone operator (12 Villa Furhterlich and Hubertusheim). The last two have been accurately reconstructed, trying to retain as many details of the time as possible. The interior furnishings such as beds, tables, period photos and shelves offer the visitor a true time machine. At the end of the path, the third sector (red) begins at an altitude of 950mt. Walking through the trench of the main Austrian frontline, it is possible to observe a short section with metal defence shields, an anti-aircraft machine gun emplacement (13), the large artificial reflector cave (14 it is advisable to enter with a torch) and an observatory on the enemy lines, today splendid panoramic viewpoint (15). Walking inside the trench, one can observe numerous rifle positions and a small cavern in perfect condition that was once used to house a machine-gun that dominated the Italian positions at “Costa” (16). Following the path back, the visitor finds him/herself near a large cavern with two entrances used at the time as an ammunition depot and shelter during enemy bombardments (17). This cavern was reopened in 2021-22 because its entrances were totally obstructed by debris deposited over 100 years. If you walk backwards, you will find a path after a few hundred metres that leads to the officers’ barracks sheltered among the rocks (18). A small cave and a marble plaque recall the presence of Commander Zivic. If you wish to shorten the route, it is possible to descend directly to the provincial road via a connecting path, which also leads to several shelves (20). One in particular had been used as a field hospital. At the same spot, there is a period photo to testify to this.
Reaching the forest road, after a few hairpin bends downhill, the visitor reaches the provincial road to Passo Pramollo/Nassfeldpass and on either side, you can observe some artillery emplacements (19). Descending below the asphalt road, one can visit the patrol hut and a beautiful spring with a marble plaque on the old road (Kraselstrasse 4-5). The theme park ends here and the car can be reached by following the asphalt road just above the last southern section. Alternatively, it is possible to reach the track on foot starting from the square in Pontebba (1) and following the gravel road to the right of the Provincial Road 110 (2). In this way, one makes a round trip backwards, which is longer but rich in other testimonies and breathtaking landscapes immersed in the nature of the Bombaschgraben.
Traduzioni Robert Maixner – Alessandro Ambrosino