In 1944, the Germans set up their last bastion, the so-called Linea Gotica or Linea Verde
In 1944, the Germans set up their last bastion, the so-called Linea Gotica or Linea Verde. It ran from Pesaro to the Ligurian coast, crossing the Val di Serchio, south of Borgo a Mozzano. Built using forced Italian labor, the line was equipped with small forts, anti-tank walls, trenches, and gun posts for marksmen. The territory along the Linea Gotica was the theatre of numerous massacres, which the Nazis carried out on the local population as an act of revenge and intimidation on the civilians who had joined the partisan movement, which fought against the Germans. Bloody clashes occurred in the Province of Lucca, in particular from the end of June and the beginning of August in 1944. The Italian Resistenza led to the liberation of Lucca on the 5th of September 1944. This helped the Allied forces breakthrough the Linea Gotica in spring 1945.
For information: Istituto storico della Resistenza e dell´età contemporanea in provincia di Lucca Address: Piazza Napoleone 32, 55100 Lucca, Casella postale 421, Tel. e fax 0583/55540, When to go: All year round
First stage: At Farneta, between Quiesa and Compignano, is a Carthusian monastery. It is still inhabited by monks today. It is the location of a deadly massacre that occurred on the 2nd of September 1944, when a group of about twenty armed German Nazi soldiers entered the monastery and deported or killed the whole community. Twelve holy men were killed by the Germans, among them the prior, the procurator and other senior friars.
According to the Germans, the monks were guilty of having sheltered 30 Jews, given food to numerous civilians and kept important works of art from Lucca inside the monastery. Material on the Second World War in the Province of Lucca has been collected by the "Istituto storico dellaResistenza", founded in 1977, and can be seen also in the "Museo storico della Liberazione". Both institutions are in Lucca.
Second stage: The Val di Serchio was occupied by the Germans on the Linea Gotica for a long time. In Anchiano, there is a monument that reminds of the existence of a concentration camp, where 2500 people were kept and used in the construction of a fort and an anti-tank bulwark. At Borgo aMozzano, an impressive anti-tank wall spanning the Serchio River was built. It was protected by a series of pillboxes and can still be seen today.
In Fornoli’s Peace Park, you can see a monument dedicated to a girl that was deported by the Germans. Nearby, in Bagni di Lucca, a concentration camp for Jews was set up and on the 6th of February 1944, between 5.45 and 9.00 am, 111 of them were deported to Auschwitz, where they were killed. In the whole area you can see a great number of stone monuments and panels in memory of the partisans that died while fighting the Nazis.
Third stage: A compulsory stop on the itinerary of the Italian Resistenza is Saint Anna di Stazzema. Here, you can find historical material and several works of art donated by painters and sculptors in the Museo Storico della Resistenza. Above the museum, there is the large Charnel house-monument in memory of the 560 victims of the massacre that occurred on the 12th of August 1944. This monument was created by architect TitoSalvatori together with the sculptor Vincenzo Gasperetti. The piazza in front of the church and the charnel house are linked by an itinerary, where the stations of a twofold Via Crucis in which scenes of the massacre and Nazi violence are depicted alongside those of Christ’s Passion.
In 1970, the Tuscan Region underlined the historical and moral importance of Sant’Anna, a village that had already received the Military Gold Cross, by declaring it the Regional Centre of the Italian Resistenza. The whole area of the Apuan Alps and Versilia was a theatre of violent clashes between groups of partisans and German troops. In retaliation, many civilians were killed and are now remembered in a series of monuments scattered throughout the territory.
An enchanted territory, enclosed between the Apuan Alps and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, and carved out by the Serchio River, rich in history and waiting to be explored: the Garfagnana, with the mid Serchio Valley, is a fascinating area, made ...