Archive for the ‘ things from the past ’ Category

Po River WWII Museum

Near Poggio Rusco, town where was the annual gathering of Italian paratroopers, there is the Po River WWII Museum at Felonica. After our duty we visited it. In this zone there was one of the last events of war, the withdraw of German forces with the passage of Po river, towards Alps. So a lot of materials were found and now they are exposed here thanks to volunteers work. Some things were hidden in mud, others were utilised by local people for civilian uses: military jackets as working suits, antiaircraft gun barrels as poles, Panther wheel as part of an agriculture machine.

German stuff. Note the photos that a fighter held in his pocket inside personal documents: one with the girl that wanted to marry, one with the girl that sold her services.

English stuff. Sten machinegun after mud.

United States stuff. The gangsters machinegun.

Italian stuff at the service of King George VI. A mix of Italian & English stuff for a member of “F” Recce Squadron.

Parachute, MAB and helmet for Operation Herring.

There are more interesting things inside the museum, as rare German uniforms or parts of a destroyed bomber. This is only a rapid review of what is available. It is not near usual tourist routes but it worth a visit.
To know more go to


Poggio Rusco 70 years after

Numbers that build anniversaries. 2015 less 70 years is 1945, the last year of WWII. So 70 years ago, in those same days, 19-23 April, the Operation Herring was accomplished by Italian paratroopers of the Kingdom of Italy. Paratroopers formations after the 8th of September split in two parts, one for Allies and one for Axis. Moreover in the South of Italy they regrouped in “F” (Folgore) Recce Squadron under English Army and Gruppo Combattimento Folgore under Italian Army. This operation was an airborne combat drop behind German lines. If you want to know more start with Wikipedia article here.

As member of Italian Paratroopers Historical Group, I participated to the annual gathering of Italian paratroopers, this time located in Poggio Rusco, one of the places touched by Operation Herring. Around was still evident the earthquake damage of May 2012. 3 years ago, another anniversary. In the countryside some houses demolished by earthquake or by time. Unwittingly following an alternative route with Google Maps on the smartphone, we passed through green fields in the flat Po valley, along narrow river banks, among water birds, in a place divided in three administrative regions. Very evocative.

My duty was as military picket to Paratrooper Association labarum, dressed as a member of Nembo Parachute Regiment, section of Folgore Combat Group. Parade along town ways, then gathering at the local stadium. Discharged and local people, for welcome addresses, speeches and remembrances. Soldiers of Folgore in service were striking. At the end a paratrooper drop, obviously.

Our reenactment group in the stadium, together with a paratrooper veteran, but of opposed side to what represent our historical uniforms. After the war, the two parts of paratroopers reconciled. So it is not a problem. As says the unofficial newsletter of Folgore in this post: Ah, photos are from this website.

The day before there was an homage to war memorial. Same uniform but with the jumpsuit. Another temperature level and extreme wind. There was a twinning with a French city too. And convivial meals and time together with friends. On the next post a visit to a museum near this place.


Hardcore Days at Vort’n Vis

Before blogs there were other ways to speak about himself and passions. No instant messages, photos and videos, but typing, photocopies, glue and stamps. My first fanzine was published in 1989, I think. This one was in 1995. Obviously no wargaming issues but hardcore music, straight edge music exactly. All in English, but with the help of a friend of mine. At that time I knew English worse than now!

Some days ago a Belgian contacted me about a music festival in 1994. It was during the half of August. With two friends of mine I travelled in Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and Belgium. Backpacks, hostels and one Interrail ticket, a free pass for trains in Europe. The 15th of August we were at Legoland in Denmark. A crucial stop over was at Vort’n Vis (Rotten Fish), a squat in Ieper, place famous for WWI battles. Three days of hardcore music and meeting with other people like us all around Europe. A life ago, but still some memories are vivid in my mind.

This chap is drawing up a complete historical review of all concerts in that place. He found my address and I scanned my materials about that period. Now these are published in his blog:
You can even see a photo of mine with an injured foot due not to stagediving or pogo but football in that narrow alley. After I continued my European travel despite bandages. I was younger, slimmer and with more hair.


Holiday in Umbria

The same week of my working session in Terni for the illustration for Ferrum et Gloria, we met with Diego to visit a part of Umbria, the region of Italy where live Andrea. Towns we visited underlined in red.


In a plain with a river, a jewel from Roman and Medieval times. Something was so perfect that you could think that was fake as a backcloth.


Larger town of the trip. Laid down an hill. White stones under the Sun.

Bronze tables with laws in Umbrian characters and language.

Land of truffles and other delicacies.

Roman theatre.

A dungeon boardgame from some years ago. To spent late evenings in hotel.

Gualdo Tadino

Where spill a famous Italian spring water. And with this beautiful white castle, closed on Mondays. And yes, it was Monday.


The city of paper makers. So we visited the paper museum.

Myself with a slimmer body: less 4Kg than before and a better health than three months ago.

Andrea while he is buying paper made in Fabriano to take notes for the rules, to draw with inks, or to paint with watercolours.


The most beautiful town that I visited in Umbria! A lot of Roman remains nestled in a perfect Medieval town.

A town full of gardens and flower-pots along the streets.


Town of olive oil production. Even Medieval, as usual, but with a public villa decorated with Liberty style and with Bohemian landscapes.

Then we returned to Terni for a playtesting…


Trieste – part 2

After the part 1 here the part 2: more things about my holidays in Trieste.

This is the church in a Venetian gothic style in Muggia, a fishermen village at the south end of the huge Trieste harbour. Only some more kilometres along the coast and there is Capodistria, now Koper in Slovenia. Then Croatia, ex Italian Istria.

In Trieste there is a huge railway system. This was useful for the role of the harbour. Now some train deposits and railways are abandoned.

Inside an unused rail station now there is a rail museum.

This is the aspect nowadays.

Among rust, a German WWII wagon.

Some dioramas reproduce local railways in various years.

I did an amazing find! It is a tram for the line that I used to catch in my childhood! I live very near the terminus. In 1980, after more than 15 years of construction, an underground line substituted the tram line and these trams were retired. This is the Tram ACEGAT number 446, built for Trieste and used in Rome after production engineering. Moreover, this vehicle was used to test the actual underground line. On a window there is a trace of an advert with the name of my road. It felt so weird to find a piece from my past in a far city.

The sea museum. The strange thing is that on the walls there is an huge exposition about Austria-Hungary navy with pictures of victories against Italy! Yeah, that navy was constituted by Trieste people!

Far East museum. A samurai armour.

Japanese steel.

A sword made by coins. It was used as a kind of wedding gift.

The castle of Trieste is built on the top of the hill on the sea. Inside a Roman museum, and an armours and weapons museum. A medieval Syrian halberd is the Trieste’s heraldic sign.

More things that we watched in Trieste. Here some condoms with uncommon shapes. Look at that with the Big Ben rectangular shape…

Fashion toilet and bidet for luxury homes, with python or crocodile texture!

A very pleasant holiday. When the next?


Trieste – part 1

My Italian holidays for 2014. This time in Trieste. I never stayed here before, it is a little far from Rome and no miniature or musical event was here, so I think to visit one for all this city on the sea, embedded among Alps, Venice and Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The architectural style is a mix of imperial gravitas and Slavic gusto, with some Art Nouveau added, proposed with an almost Venetian taste. A lot of faces and bare-chested women on building façades.

This is the villa just outside Trieste built by Mexico emperor. He died executed by firing squad in Mexico only a short time after he arrived in the place.

Under the unused throne room. After him, the villa was inhabited by a Savoia prince that after died in a prisoner camp in Africa during the WWII. I don’t want to live here!

Trieste is a multi-ethnic ex-imperial city. This is one of the two orthodox churches, the Serb one. Before I never visit a church of this kind. It is different than ours. A great atmosphere, cants, candles, kissed icons.

This was the empire harbour but, after the WWI, Italy occupied the place. This is the dock where docked the first Italian vessel.

The main square on the sea with the light of sunset on the windows.

The same place, the night with artificial lights.

The canal inside the city.

The old double church on the hill built inside the Iovis temple using even other pieces of Roman buildings and monuments.

The ground part of the Roman basilica. At the bottom the double church.

The Roman theatre. Well, but where is the arena?!?

The Roman arc along the cardus.

Roman eagles that were on the top of the Iovis temple.

Roman dices and pawns. No, you can’t play with them, it is not allowed…

Pontiarii low relief. You can view the retiarius on the top of the bridge with a stone in the hand. A secutor is approaching towards the other fighter. Wonderful!

More on part 2…


Castel Decima

A different way to pass the 8th of March. Castel Decima is a nature area near a rural castle at the South-West of Rome, just outside the GRA (the motorway that encircle Rome). Here there was a large, and practically unused, WWII defence system for Rome, with bunkers and trenches. A visit was organised only for local WWII reenactors. No other people involved.

The area is not properly equipped for visitors as a museum area: bunkers are houses for bats, trenches are among debris and woods. After 70 years th structures are still solid, made by concrete or tuff stone. I tried to find the layout of the area by GoogleMaps, but from the sky all is well concealed. We think to explore more the surroundings for another time.

The visit was even a photo opportunity for reenactors, a way to show off weapons and uniforms. It is a way to live and understand history, as wargame. And there was the presence of a real veteran of war, a man that fought in that area to delay the Allies in their march on Rome. We listened about his experience and visited with him the place where he and his comrades destroyed a Sherman column.

I’m a member of the Italian paratroopers historic group. Almost 70 years ago in this place, the commander of Italian paratroopers died heroically. So we organised a ceremony at the war memorial.

Maybe in April I will participate to another meeting, but this time with a paratrooper uniform of the other political half of the divided Italy after the 8th of September.


70° Sbarco di Nettunia

I was waiting this event for a couple of years. I thought that, for an important anniversary as the landing on Anzio and Nettuno beaches, great things could be done. Instead, at the noon of the day before, I was informed about the dismiss of the participation of our representative group of the national army paratroopers association. Various problems with the organiser of the Anzio event (another one were held in the neighbour Nettuno) made we thought about boycott or clear malpractice. I went privately only the Sunday to watch the two events.

This is the new monument in Anzio.

The war cemetery for Italian Army soldiers that fought against Allies on this front. The X shape is for the X° MAS, one of the Italian combat groups.

Some objects in a museum. On the right some items from Italian paratroopers on this front.

An helmet with shells from years in the sea.

A pan made with a German helmet.

An absolute great diorama on the Anzio harbour.

The Italian Garibaldi aircraft carrier.

Part of Forte San Gallo on the beach in Nettuno.

Some reeneactors as American soldiers in Anzio.

Some reenactors as Germans and Italians in Anzio. Some were not so believable and with wrong uniforms.