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The Gadda’s oak and the writers of war

The "Gadda's oak".

The “Gadda’s oak”.

Actually it is a huge beech, which can also be seen along the road 349 that leads from Treschè to Canove, and which, according to tradition, was planted when the news of the discovery of America arrived on the Plateau. To get there you have to walk a private road for about 500 meters, which branches off to the left before the fourth curve of the main road, less than a kilometre after the Museum of Cuchi. Before the beautiful hill with the tree, “the whispering market of the sparrows” under the branches of which it is told that there was the artillery position of Emilio Gadda, you encounter Malga Colpi and the giant ash tree next to it.

Gadda was just one of the many writers who fought (and wrote) on the Plateau during the Great War, to which Rigoni Stern dedicated his important anthology “1915-1918. La guerra sugli Altipiani” (The war on the Plateaux from 1915 to 1918), published by Neri Pozza for the Banca Popolare di Vicenza (People’s Bank of Vicenza). He chose unforgettable pages by different writers, from the beloved Lussu and Monelli to Frescura and Salsa – that he secretly read when he was a boy taking them away from his father’s library – from Giani Stuparich to an anonymous Alpino on the Pasubio, from Weber to Musil, always trying to see “from the inside” what that war was, and what effects it had on the lives and minds of the men who suffered it.

All these writers, and even those who came after them (Meneghello above all), made an ante-litteram literary landscape of the Plateau, as noted by Claudio Rigon, author of “The sheets of Captain Michel.” A place where experiences lived also elsewhere are catalysed due to the characteristics of the territory. You approach it by climbing and entering it, until you have a profound experience of this place, from which you return with an indelible memory.

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