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Purgessimo / Puriessin

12 July 2024


5:30 p.m. guided tour of the Cold War structures of Mount Purgessimo organised by the Pro Loco Nediške Doline; departure from the garden of the house of Isabella De Crignis and Stefano Sinuello - via dell'Ancona 5, 33043 Purgessimo

8:30 p.m. refreshments provided by the organisers in the garden of the house of Isabella De Crignis and Stefano Sinuello

9:30 p.m. start of the performance in the garden of the house of Isabella De Crignis and Simone Sinuello

event language: guided tour in Italian, performance in Friulan 

information: +39 3281547471

thanks to: Comune di Cividale del Friuli, Pro Loco Nediške Doline/Valli del Natisone, Antonio De Toni, Michela Predan, Isabella de Crignis, Stefano Sinuello

“These are the gates of Italy: defend them!”

This is what General Zoppi of the Salerno brigade said to Captain Tassinari of the Avellino brigade a few days after the defeat of Caporetto, in an attempt as glorious as it was futile to stop the advance of the enemy army at the threshold of Purgessimo (an enemy which among other things had only been able to get so far thanks to the betrayal of Bolshevik Russia). 

During the Second World War, a young man from Gorizia by the name of Sergio Vescovo would have left as a volunteer for Russia, probably in search of revenge. Here he would have found an even more glorious death than Captain Tassinari: On an advanced lookout, after pointing out enemy groups trying to furtively get closer to our positions, he faced them with extreme determination. Although seriously injured by a hand grenade which shattered his arm, after the squad commander fell, he stepped in and led his comrades in the counter-assault. Wounded a second time in the eye, he didn’t give up the fight and the enemy was already showing signs of fatigue. Wounded a third time by a burst of automatic weapons, he still found the strength to drag himself against his now fleeing opponent, encouraging his comrades not to stop. As he was dying, he said he was proud of the duty he had accomplished. A shining example of valor and high military virtues. Ssolonzy - Don River, October 19th 1942. 

Then, with the Cold War, when the Bolshevik threat had returned to intimidate Purgessimo and all of Italy, it was decided to build a bunker there, where everyone, from the Celts to the Romans, from the Ostrogoths to the Longobards and the German patriarchs, had erected a fort. Not far from the bunker, a barracks was built, a barracks dedicated to Sergio Vescovo’s gold medal of military honor.

When instead of the much feared Soviet invasion, there was the collapse of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia, the barracks, now in disuse, began to host refugees from across the border and for a moment it seemed as if the threshold of Purgessimo could go from a fortified border to something different, something else. After the Yugoslav refugees had passed through, other refugees from even more distant countries have started crossing the thousand-year-old Balkan route, but the voices asking for new walls, tighter controls, faster rejections are unfortunately still hard to die. The only positive note is the fact that the former Sergio Vescovo barracks, now almost completely submerged by vegetation, seem truly destined to disappear, to once again become, finally, simply earth. To put it in the words of another Gorizia resident, to abandon the rhetoric leaving room only for the persuasion of grass, trees and flowing water.