Fascist monuments in South Tyrol

Anna Rydholm

The Victory monument

Location: Victory Square, Bolzano

Erected: 1928Architect/Artist: Marcello Piancentini

The Victory Monument at Piazza Vittoria in Bolzano

Background: The Victory monument was erected on the orders of Mussolini. It was originally dedicated to the “Martyrs of World War I. For many of the German-speaking people, however, it was interpreted as a symbol of the Italian annexation of South Tyrol. The inscription on the façade reads “Here at the border of the fatherland set down the banner. From this point on we educated the others with language, law and culture”.

The Mussolini relief

Location: Courthouse Square, Bolzano

Erected: 1942 (Although it was not completed until 1957, 14 years after the end of Fascism in Italy).

Architect/ Artist: Hans Piffrader

Mussolini and the Fascist motto

Background: The Mussolini relief is placed on the façade of the House of Fascism, which was built as a part of the Italienisation of South Tyrol. The piece is 36 meters long and 5,5 meters high- and thus the largest relief in Europe. It commemorates the March on Rome, and thus celebrates 20 years of Fascist rule in Italy. In the picture, we can see different scenes from this era. In the middle is Mussolini portrayed sitting on a horse. Directly under him is the motto of Italian fascists:”Crede, obbedire, combattere” (Believe, Obey and Fight). The picture also contains the names the names of several fascist organisations, which are all forbidden in Italy after 1945. Today, the building is used by the local tax office in Bolzano.


The Ossuaries

Location: Gossensass, Burgeis and Innichen

Erected: 1937-1939

Architect/Artist: Giovanni Greppi and Giannino Castiglioni

Ossuary in Innichen, close to the Austrian border

Background: In 1931, the fascist regime closed several military cemeteries, since these were not longer properly maintained. In stead they decided to build special graves near important battlegrounds of the First World War all over Italy, as commemorating places. In the provinces that were recently annexed by Italy, like South Tyrol, the monuments also functioned as a silent mark of the new border. However, it is today known that the Ossuaries were mainly used for Fascist propaganda. The transition of mortal remains was made without any deeper consideration, with the result that many soldiers from the Austro-Hungarian army have been buried here as well.


















About Anna Rydholm