Memorial stone in memory of Ermida Fortini and Adelaide Baisi





Ermida Fortini and Adelaide Baisi, residents of Vagli di Sotto (LU), died on 20 February 1945 from a mine explosion just past the town of Casone di Profecchia. They were on their way on foot to the Passo delle Radici and Emilia-Romagna to get food for the family.

The winter of 1944-1945 was extremely difficult for the families living in the mountainous area of Garfagnana. The war, bombings, the presence of German troops, and problems in finding foodstuffs were combined with a freezing climate that led to heavy snowfall and logistic challenges. Families in the area used to base their subsistence on typical activities, such as timber harvesting, agriculture, pastoralism, animal husbandry, hunting and fishing, but these jobs came to a halt with the Nazi occupation due to conscription, requisitions, the lack of able-bodied men for the job, the destruction from bombing and the danger from the escalating German violence. Women used to walk dozens of kilometres in an attempt to collect food for their families.

Two women from Vagli di Sotto, Ermida Maria Fortini, 45, and Adelaide Baisi, 42, were on their way to Emilia-Romagna along Provincial Road 72 of the Passo delle Radici when a mine exploded near the area known as 'Il Camerale' just beyond the town of Casone di Profecchia, causing their death. They were on their way across the regional border to find the grains in which the region was rich.

A memorial stone consisting of two small white marble plaques was placed at the place of their death in their memory. The 16 Garfagnana towns were awarded the Gold Medal for Civil Merit on 13 October 2009 with the following motivation: "During WWII, the Garfagnana territory close to the Gothic Line suffered continuous roundups and atrocious reprisals that caused hundreds of civilian and military victims, while repeated bombardments caused further death and destruction in almost all towns and villages. The population, although exhausted by hardship and deprivation and affected by ruthless massacres, was able to face the events of the war with generous solidarity and civil courage in defence of human dignity and faith in the highest ideals of freedom. Admirable example of self-sacrifice and patriotism. 1943/45 - Garfagnana (Lucca)"


Strada Provinciale 72 del Passo delle Radici, 55033