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10.5593/sgemsocial2018H/21/S05.015

THE ITALIAN-AUSTRIAN WAR AND THE ADRIATIC COASTAL PLANNING A THEME OF MILITARY ARCHEOLOGY

S. Isgro
Tuesday 10 April 2018 by lib_admin

References: 5th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences and Arts SGEM 2018, www.sgemvienna.org, SGEM2018 Vienna ART Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7408-31-7 / ISSN 2367-5659, 19 - 21 March, 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 2.1; 111-128 pp, DOI: 10.5593/sgemsocial2018H/21/S05.015

ABSTRACT

The planners of coastal defenses, starting from the first years of the Unification of Italy, began to concentrate their interest in organizing a major fortification system in some of the main coastal cities characterized by the presence of ports. When around 1910 it was felt that a breaking of relations with Austria would inevitably lead to conflict, the attention was moved to the north eastern border, resulting in an increased activity in assuring the fortification of this border area. The technological innovations and the progress of science, among many the one of the armaments, had very soon highlighted the inadequacy of the existing forts with the consequence of the modification of the constructive criteria. The city of Venice, defended in the past along the coastline by twelve forts and batteries located on the seafront and largely positioned on the islands of the lagoon as a control on the various connection channels, and by five forts on the mainland instead, will be object of particular attention and studies by the Commission for the close defense of the coasts, in 1882; the latter foresaw an initial construction of a battery followed by another four, bases for the main operation; for delaying the taking of possession on the part of an enemy from the sea; individuate that could have been useful for war operations or serve as a refuge for naval forces; obtain an active vigilance of the coast. While the Istrian coast, starting from Grado to the east, offered to the Austro-Hungarian Navy a number of excellent ports and safe anchorages for large battleships, the Italian coast did not present any natural harbor that could even remotely rival the inlet of Pula and the others, of Kotor and Sibenik. In the Upper Adriatic the only port was represented by the Venetian structure.The development of the new fortified structures led, therefore, to the construction, during 1912, of three coastal batteries: on the Lido coast the battery “Emo”, in Palestrina the “Dandolo” and in Cavallino the “San Marco” battery. In this last monograph Provisions for the anti-aircraft defense of the military zone of Venice we have a precise explanation of the dislocation and planning of the infrastructural system in support of the “fixed defense”. The coastal observation stations of Grado, Porto Buso, Porto Lignano, Punta Tagliamento, etc; the watch towers located in Udine located in Udine, Oderzo, San Dona di Piave, etc. Added to these are the coastal batteries in the Cavallino area, the subject of some recent or even current adaptation interventions, which open up to the theme of architecture in the coastal environment, and to that of coast modification and planning of the same, with the inevitable consequences on the landscape and sometimes urban planning; think, then, to the many traces, visible today, of the Decauville railway system, punctuated by the military telephone line, which open even more to the theme of military archeology, as well as the various dredging and excavation works of the Pordelio canal, and of the other places behind the coast line. Coastal areas are of strategic importance as they perform economic, residential, transport and recreational functions of particular relevance strictly dependent on physical characteristics, landscape beauty, cultural heritage, natural resources; bands of sea-land interactions, dynamic and fragile, to be protected, in a comprehensive and integrated way, as "sensitive" areas where often conflicting activities are concentrated. Therefore, the contribution, starting from the knowledge of the coastal planning forms in the Adriatic coast at the outbreak of the conflict with the Austro-Hungarian empire, through a brief review of the fixed defense works, coastal batteries, but also of all other complementary means of action and subsidiaries of the defense itself, in adherence to the indications proposed by the European Commission (2006), intends to call attention to the issue of protecting the coastal environment and the importance of resorting to holistic, participatory and open planning and management methods.

Keywords: Enrico Rocchi, First World War, fortification, Venetian estuary, Cavallino area.


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