Past Italia: The Piave River

It looks serene and peaceful today but at the end of the First World War this was the scene of intense fighting between Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces – and that wasn‘t the first time the river had seen conflict…

Some would say that the purpose of the First World War (to the extent that it had any purpose) was to destroy the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In this, at least, it succeeded – albeit at an unimaginable cost of human life. And here, as much as anywhere, was where that defeat was realised, the scene of the last major offensive by the Austro-Hungarians in the war, an offensive that ended in abject defeat.

The battle is now known as the Second Battle of the Piave River, because there had been another at the end in 1917 – not to mention one before that, in 1809, between the Austrians and a Franco-Italian army.