Italian Great War museums #1: Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra in Rovereto

The main Italian Great War 
museum in Rovereto
In Italy we count many small Great War museums. To the tourist's eyes this fact looks like picturesque, probably typically Italian and all in all reassuring. But in the global scenario dimensions matter and this dimension issue might become a crucial problem in terms of coordination and promotion during the Centenary period. This configuration is obviously a huge limit for Italy. What Italy misses and consequently what the rest of the World War One nations are missing is probably a hub-museum or institution able to take advantage of many feeder-museums, players or stakeholders located for example along the Piave meandering line. Italy cannot count on something similar to British Imperial War Museum, Canadian War Museum or US World War One museum, even if the history of Italy in First World War is much longer compared to the one of the United States. Nevertheless we believe that we cannot avoid to mention the Italian Great War museums as future protagonists of the Centenary celebrations, even if their contribution is still to imagine and to evaluate on a national basis. It might be too blunt, but we should conclude that no one in Italy was able to make business out of the Great War. We mean a serious and scientifically reliable business, because on the other hand we attend every month to many small local businesses of collectors, bazaars and similar things. What a pity!

Beside of that, we should consider that probably the idea of historical museum itself is now facing one of the biggest crises ever: historical museums should rethink their guidelines and their strategies in order to be attractive without compromising the quality of the offer. Everybody knows that historical museums should go beyond their dusty tapestry and that their precious weapon collections can turn one day into knick-knack. Alas... what a big challenge! Perhaps too big for us. That’s why we need to go grassroots and prefer to tell some stories of Great War Museums in Italy, just to recap and map the hundreds of dots that hopefully will turn tomorrow into a special and magnificent blueprint. And we cannot but start from the principal First World War museum one can find in Italy, called "Museo Storico della Grande Guerra" in the city of Rovereto. It’s for sure the most prominent and complete museum dedicated to the war years in the eastern front between Italy and Central Empires.

In this case we don’t need to spend too many words about its collections (the website is also in English). We just would like to remind that in spring the museum is fully open (including the southern wing). This museum hosts the most complete collections of WWI weapons, uniforms, photos, relics, posters, letters and diaries available today in Italy. The focus on World War I shouldn’t lead us to forget the wider time frame that it covers (from Napoleon to World War II). Only the section dedicated to artillery is still closed and is going to open again in May. The visitors can drop by the exhibition entitled “Pasubio 1915-1918” (closing next November, see also our itinerary) dedicated to the war on the mountain boundary between the Trento and Vicenza provinces. In case we were good enough to arouse your curiosity, a visit to the English website is now highly recommended.