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Military roads and fortications

Fortification in the Maritime Alps

As Mussolini said before the Second World War «It is not difficult to shut our valleys off: we have to pour mountains of concrete onto mountains of stone» this was the «walled nations» period.
But even before his time there had been attempts to seal off the Maritime Alps, mountains of an ambiguous nature: both barriers and passing places on the routes from Provence to the Po valley. Impervious yet penetrable, obstacles and obligatory passages. Over the centuries, armies of every nation have trodden the ancient routes over these mountains and have created new ones, leaving marks we can see today: sentry posts, forts, trenches, mule tracks...Every political storm brought a renewed effort to seal off the Maritime Alps, where the border of Italy has been since 1860. History shows that these efforts were not flawless, despite the renewed rallying to «shut our front doors», to make «breaching not only impossible, but also unthinkable».

In the 1960s a professor of architecture wrote: «I won't waste words on the Alpine Wall. It was a gesture for propaganda purposes and without any military intentions, they were of no interest then as now». He was wrong. Today the remains of the military fortifications are an extra item of curiosity for visitors. You can reach them on foot or by bicycle and admire the craftmanship that went into some of the prettiest stretches of military road in the Alps.

Military roads

For mules and cannons

No great fortifications were built in Valle Gesso, but its road network is far reaching and has its roots in times before the strategic needs of the Kingdom of Italy.

Fortifications in the Maritime Alps

Barracks and bunkers

Wherever they go, people leave a mark. In the case of soldiers, these marks are forts, barracks, bunkers, military roads.

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Ente di gestione Aree protette delle Alpi Marittime