Although not directly involved in the conflicts of the Great War, the Lessinia area played a crucial role as a defensive line, scattered with forts and posts built between 1881 and 1911. On the border with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, for more than 15 km, around 8,000 metres of trenches were built following the natural course of the land, as well as fences, machine gun posts, cave shelters for men and supplies, and so on.
Among the high pastures of Lessinia in the municipality of Erbezzo, we find some natural rock formations reshaped by the soldiers of the time: a genuine fortress with corridors, tunnels, caves, rooms, kitchens, dormitories, stairs and trenches partly covered by stone slabs and partly set up to be camouflaged with dry branches placed in the side walls.
The vast defensive system is divided in two by a main road, but the two parts are still connected to one another thanks to an underground tunnel that passes underneath.
Given their historical significance, parts of the trenches and fortifications have been restored. The Trenches of Malga Pidocchio Ecomuseum, named after the local area, was opened in the summer of 2014. Moving through the labyrinth of these narrow passageways vividly illustrates just how difficult it was for soldiers to survive during the Great War.
Reachable on foot and located between Malga Lessinia (a former barracks for Italian troops, now a traditional restaurant) and Rifugio Castelberto (once on the other side of the border, where it was an Austrian barracks), this site is rich in history and merits a visit of quiet contemplation, with the due respect and silence. The itinerary is suitable for children; the walk between Malga Lessinia (also accessible by car) and Castelberto takes around forty minutes.