Melting ice reveals first world war relics in Italian Alps

Accelerating retreat of glaciers in Lombardy and Trentino Alto-Aldige reveals preserved history of ‘White War’

The soldiers dug the wooden barracks into a cave on the top of Mount Scorluzzo, a 3,095-metre (10154ft) peak overlooking the Stelvio pass. For the next three-and-a-half years, the cramped, humid space was home to about 20 men from the Austro-Hungarian army as they fought against Italian troops in what became known as the White War, a battle waged across treacherous and bitterly cold Alpine terrain during the first world war.

Fought mainly in the Alps of the Lombardy region of Italy and the Dolomites in Trentino Alto-Adige, the White War was a period of history frozen in time until the 1990s, when global warming started to reveal an assortment of perfectly preserved relics – weapons, sledges, letters, diaries and, as the retreat of glaciers hastened, the bodies of soldiers.

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