Skip to main content

Kobarid / Caporetto

21 July 2024


6:00 p.m. guided tour of Kobarid and the surrounding area, organised by the Pot miru Foundation; departure from the Mrzli studenec Park in Kobarid - trg Svobode 12, 5222 Kobarid

7:00 p.m. "Between two rivers", a talk with Nadja Velušček, Anja Medved and Zdravko Likar at the museum of the Pot miru Foundation in Kobarid - Gregorčičeva ulica 8, 5222 Kobarid

8:30 p.m. refreshments provided by the organisers at the museum of the Pot miru Foundation in Kobarid

9:30 p.m. start of the performance in Mrzli studenec Park

event language: Slovenian

information: +386 30313488

thanks to: Občina Kobarid, Fundacija Poti miru v Posočju, Maša Klavora, Leon Četrtič, Nadja Velušček, Anja Medved, Zdravko Likar

As a long-term member of the Italian national school system, it’s impressive to arrive in Kobarid and discover that here the famous defeat is called čudez pri Kobaridu, das Wunder von Karfreit, or the miracle of Caporetto. Although this episode gives me proof of the need for continuous changes of perspective to create Europe, on the other hand it’s somewhat disappointing to recognize the same stupid patriotism on the other side of the border as well. A rhetoric capable of calling a battle in which tens of thousands of people died, a miracle. Yes, a miracle in the sense of a sudden and perhaps even unexpected resolution of a stalemate that had been going on in the trenches for almost two and a half years, but nevertheless... 

But it’s once again the location that’s striking, and it would really be worth having studied geology to better understand how the Nadiža took such a sudden curve to the south instead of continuing a little further on, throwing itself directly onto the Isonzo, right there on the slopes of the Baba hill, where Kobarid is located. For one reason or another the high valleys of Nadiža and Isonzo have ended up constituting one of the main connections between Friuli and Carinthia, and Caporetto has always lived with both Mediterranean and continental influences, often becoming a refuge for antagonistic beliefs, thoughts and practices as well.

It’s on a hill just above the modern town that Roman refugees took shelter during the invasions of the late ancient period, giving life along with non indigenous elements to a settlement where two basilicas coexisted with a third, of Arian worship, even in the aftermath of the Council of Nicaea. It is in the exact center, at Mrzli studenec, that next to a lime tree and a cold water spring the Slavic inhabitants of the area used to gather to celebrate pagan rites, at least until the intervention of the Inquisition of Cividale, which in 1331 eradicated the tree and sealed the spring with stones (the repression was not however sufficient and the ancient beliefs survived for a long time in these areas only to be defeated by the devastation brought by the First World War). 

And it is always here that there’s a monument dedicated to Marko Redelonghi (1912-44), a Friulian worker from Cividale who, despite his different nationality, immediately collaborated with the Slovenian anti-fascist movement of the TIGR. He was discovered, arrested and sent into confinement in Calabria but right after September 8th he returned here, becoming a commander of an Italian-Slovenian partisan battalion. Standing now in front of  this monument positioned willingly or by chance between the two rivers, the two valleys, the two worlds, I like to think that it also participates in this eccentric, perhaps marginal story that talks about Europe as the possibility of getting rid of the horror of the nation once and for all.


“The walking body” talk

NADJA VELUŠČEK Co-author of documentary films made with her daughter AnjaMedved and cultural promoter in the Italian-Slovenian border area. For years, she collaborated in the programming and production of the Kinoatelje film association. For her work, she has received awards both in Slovenia and Italy. She is co-founder of KINOkašča/CINEMattic, a film production and memory archive.

ANJA MEDVED Author of documentary films, video installations and cross-border projects, graduated in theatre directing from the Academy of Theatre and Film (AGRFT) of the University of Ljubljana. A director and screenwriter, together with her mother Nadja Velušček she is co-author of a documentary opus that has been stitching together the memories of the people of the Italian-Slovenian border for more than twenty years. She is co-founder of KINOkašča/CINEMattic, a film production and memory archive.

ZDRAVKO LIKAR Social and political worker. He is the founder of the Kobarid Museum of the First World War and the current president of the Pot Miru Foundation for the preservation of the First World War heritage in the Upper Soča Valley. He is the author of the text Kobariška Republika (2018), about the experience of Europe's first transnational partisan republic.

ANTON ŠPACAPAN VONČINA Illustrator, sculptor, recycling performer and set designer. Publishes in magazines, covers, records, books. He has worked in set design for countless short films and films, including Zoran, My Dumb Nephew, Drevo, Babylon Sisters, Menocchio, The Wild Man, The Guiltless Man, River or Death!. He is one of the founders of the international festival Če povem 83. In 2022, he published Il figlio della lupa (Bottega Errante Edizioni) with Francesco Tomada.