CUNEO, Memorial of Cuneo’s Alpine Division

The station

The history of this place began around the middle of the 19th century, when the railway line was extended from Savigliano to Cuneo thanks to the intervention of Carlo Brunet and Giacinto Castellani. The station was inaugurated in 1855 in the low area near the Gesso river (“ le basse”) and it was the only one in town for a long time. The opening of the Cuneo-Ventimiglia line brought along logistical problems relating to the housing of locomotives as well as the management of travellers. Cuneo’s new Plateau station, which would later become the main station, was completed only in 1937. Dozens of trains laden with soldiers also left from these tracks for the Russian front. In 2007, on the occasion of the 80th National Alpine Assembly in Cuneo, the project to turn this historic place into a Memorial was launched. This itinerary was designed to remember and honour Cuneo’s Alpine Division and all of those who fell in army in the Province of Cuneo and who contributed to the homeland with their loyalty and blood. The Memorial consists of both a rich display located in the station and an open-air monument, dedicated to all those men who, in order to serve their country, never returned to their "baita" (mountain hut).


As travellers no longer frequent this place, today the rooms of the old station house the Memorial of Cuneo’s Alpine Division. Through rare relics and illustrative panels it displays the history of the Alpine Corps from their foundation in 1872 to the present day. They were set up at the behest of a committee made up of the four sections of the National Alpine Association (Ceva, Cuneo, Mondovì, Saluzzo) and with the collaboration of a Cultural Association called “Tracce di Memoria” (Memory traces). In the "Sala Tricolore", the former ticket office, you will be welcomed by a multitude of objects on the walls, in the display cases, on the mannequins. You will see clothes and memorabilia donated by veterans and their families so as not to forget this great chapter of our past. Each object tells a personal story, recalls the names and stories of those who really lived what we usually study in books. The compass that brought home the 800 young men of the Meinero Column is very moving: entrusted with bringing supplies to the front line on the Don front, when they heard the news of the retreat they undertook the long journey home in complete autonomy. Unlike the thousands of young men who died of cold and hardship, those in the column returned thanks to the guidance of commander Maurizio Meinero. In this room and in the adjacent spaces you can see an Austrian field kitchen, the inadequate equipment of our soldiers displayed next to the more technical one of the enemy, the weapons, the metal and paper plates with names and slit goggles to move around snowy environments. In the small rooms on the north side you can embark on a journey through the history of the Alpine corps and learn about the evolution of their uniform: from the first bowler hat and colours of their clothing to the introduction of the legendary black feather on the occasion of the Five Days of Milan. Visitors will enter an infirmary from the 1930s, pass through a trench of the Great War and finally arrive at the time of the Second World War and the contemporary army. A section dedicated to the Russian campaign of the Second World War is underway to expand the exhibion.

The monument

This monument was designed by Studio Kuadra and then inaugurated on 15th October 2016. It is located between the old railway station and a warehouse building. In the background there are the tracks on which two original wagons stand, commemorating the departure of soldiers from this station. The story is based on historical facts handed down by the survivors, as well as photographs and paintings. The theme is developed in simple and unusual forms that engage the viewer and convey strong emotions. The enormous white heath is made up of dozens of triangles of reinforced concrete which have been treated with a marble powder bath, giving them the whiteness and brilliance of snow, the merciless companion in the march of our Alpine soldiers back home. Even the movement of the surface evokes the hills they continually encountered along their way, all the same and all to be overcome to get closer to their destination. Historical images and maps were a source of inspiration for the designers. These documents showed the initial order of the troops that then gradually were breaking down crushed by cold, hunger and fatigue. The slats of the monument scatter and sink into the snow, as a metaphor for the lives of the many men who never made their way back home.


Direction: Paolo Ansaldi
Post-Production: VDEA Produzioni
Translation: Europa 92
Copywrite and research: Laura Marino


ATL del Cuneese


Silvio Garelli, Manuel Giuliano, Aldo Meinero, Alessandro Petracca