Italien / Denkmal

Monument in memory of the Allied air raid




The monument commemorates the Allied bombing of 28 April 1944 that was aimed at destroying the Porrettana railway bridge. The viaduct was not demolished, but the raid caused the death of 38 people and the total devastation of Piteccio village.

The Porrettana railway line played a strategic role in the 1943-1945 period and provided a direct connection between Pistoia and Bologna across the Apennines. It was an excellent alternative to the direct Prato-Bologna line, which was often hit by Anglo-American aircraft. Supplies and goods shipped to northern Italy and Germany passed through here. The Allies tried several times to hit the line viaducts, making such line progressively unfit for rail traffic. The Germans used it as a road route anyway, which was more inconvenient but safer due to the presence of many tunnels.

The Anglo-American shelling on 28 April 1944 was aimed at destroying the railway viaduct above Piteccio, but only caused damage to one of the arches. The sounding of the air-raid alarm began at 11.35 a.m. and ended after about an hour at 12.32 p.m. Within minutes, the village was completely devastated and 38 people were killed, including many children. Thirty private homes were destroyed and around twenty were damaged. The electricity came back on after forty-eight hours, the aqueduct was only restored after many days, and the telephone connection to Pistoia in mid-May had still not been reactivated.

This was followed by further shelling, which did not end until late summer. The Piteccio Bridge was mined and blown up on 24 July 1944 by German sappers in anticipation of the retreat towards the Gothic Line. The railway building, stations, service facilities, viaducts, bridges and tunnels of the Porrettana were completely destroyed during the war, first by Allied bombing, then by Nazi troops.

Post-war reconstruction of the railway line was started and completed in 1949. A few years later, a plaque was installed at the entrance of the church in Piteccio to commemorate the names of those who had fallen in the Allied raid. At the foot of the gravestone in 1982, the casing of a large aeroplane bomb found intact during excavations was placed. In 1994, a striking monument in memory of the bombing of 28 April 1944 was unveiled in a green area below the viaduct. The plinth was made by Federico Filoni while the bronze design was created by Giordano Pini.

Via Val di Fabiana, 51100 Pistoia