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1A Piazza Cappuccini

Monument to the Fallen

Il monument to the Italian Fallen of Africa, originally named To the Italian worker in Africa, is a monumental complex of Syracuse, dating back to the Fascist era. Initially it was intended for the city of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, but with the outbreak of the Second World War and the loss of the Italian colonies of Africa, the Italian government decided to transfer the work to the coastal city of Sicily.

The monument commemorates the Italian soldiers who died during the Ethiopian War waged by the fascist government of Benito Mussolini, and more generally commemorates all the Italian soldiers who died in Africa in the colonial and war years.

The choice of where to place the monument, once the African possessions were lost, fell on the city of Syracuse since it, and above all its port, had a key role during the years of colonial war in the logistical transport of goods and troops to the Africa, representing one of the main landing places for the regime.

The statues and marbles of the monument, at the entry into the war of Italy on 10nd June 1940, were stowed on a ship that was supposed to cross the Suez passage but who, due to the outbreak of hostilities, had to interrupt his journey.

In 1952, when the hostilities had ceased, he was the creator and builder of the work, the Florentine Romano Romanelli, to choose the location of the monument in the city of Syracuse: after numerous discussions it was decided to assemble the pieces in a panoramic point of the city of Arezzo, in the Piazza dei Cappuccini, Riviera di Dionysius the Great,[1] very close to both the town convent, from which the square takes its name, and the famous and homonymous one Greek period latomia (this is the latomia where they were locked up in 413 BC the prisoners of war ofancient army of Athens).

Statues and marbles were thus unloaded and stored in a warehouse in the Sicilian city, to be then, in sixties, assembled a few steps from the sea overlooking Africa, the continent for which the monument was intended.

The monument has one side, the one facing the sea, in the shape of a prow, and is adorned with 6 tall bronze statues representing the units of the army, from the navy to the aviation, the African indigenous troops, the àscari, who flanked the Italians during the war, and the Italian workers in colonial Africa. Numerous reliefs depicting scenes of battle, work and military vehicles surround the monument. Its shape resembles that of a ship. On the back of the monument were engraved the names of the main geographical locations that represented the battle fronts of theItalian army in East Africa over the years 1935 e 1936. Inside the monument there is a votive chapel (15 meters long and 5 meters wide) dedicated to the legionary and containing the statue of an Italian fallen in Africa; access to this chapel is however forbidden to the public.

(Text source: wikipedia)

Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero

Photo: web

Information contributions: Ignazio Caloggero Web, Region of Sicily

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