Vanoi Valley History



The first inhabitants

The history of Vanoi has always been closely linked to that of Primiero.

The first inhabitants are thought to have come in from the Feltre area walking along the ancient pathways that passed over the Gobbera pass or the Cortella valley.

Different groups of people speaking Italian(Latin routes) and German settled in the valley and judging from the traces left in local place names some groups also came from Slovenia.




The influence of Feltre

Shortly after the middle of the sixth century, the descent of Langobardic in Italy marked the fate of the two valleys, linking them to Feltre for eight centuries. In 1347, Charles of Luxembourg became Emperor under the name of Charles IV and granted the jurisdiction of Primiero and Vanoi to Bonifacio Lupi of Parma, Marquis of Soragna.




TheTyrolean Influence

In 1373 the valley came firmly under the Tyrolean?s policy even though it remained ecclesiastically part of the diocese of Feltre.

The dukes of Austria became interested in the exploitation of mineral resources in this the area causing an economic and population growth (consider that numerous skilled labour from Germany settled in the territory.)

The long period of Austrian domination ended with the First World War when the valley was once again united with the Kingdom of Italy.






The valley during the First World War

The conflict ran over in full this valley, causing suffering and ruins.

On May 24 1915, Italy entered into war against the Austro Hungarian Empire. Austrians chose as their defence zone the mountains at the head of the valley while the Italian Alpine soldiers occupied the surrounding areas.

During the war years 1915 and 1916 the Italian lines were almost 3 to 4 kilometres distant from the Austrian lines and so rare clashes occurred.

From December 1915 to May 1916, the inhabitants of the valley were evacuated and the refugees were diverted to Italy?s southern regions.

In 1916, the commander of the 4th army authorised a series of military operations on the Cismon and Vanoi sector. The tactical unit Ferrari, recently formed, moved his troops from Primiero to the upper part of the Vanoi valley.

At the same time, the Alpine soldiers of the Monterosa and Feltre battalions started an action near the most elevated Austrian defences to the conquest of the Cauriol Mountain.

Despite the Austrian violent reaction, the peak was reached and conquered on August 27. The Cauriol Mountain is also known and remembered for the heroism of the Alpine soldiers, which prevented the recapture, by the Austrian troops on 3rd September 1916.

After the defeat of Caporetto on October 1917, Italian troops withdrawal was followed by the Austrian occupation. For the valley it was a moment of high terror.  The Viosa electric power station was destroyed along with the stone crushing machinery of the Pralongo mines.

The granite bridge over the Vanoi River and the bridges on the Rou and Lozen collapsed. The baker oven in Canale was blown up, whilst the Cortella road at St. Antonio and the Brocon pass road (at the tunnel) were interrupted because mined.

After the battle of Vittorio Veneto, the Austrian front collapsed and Italians returned to the valley. On 4th November 1918, the Austrians signed the Armistice.