Ossario di San Martino

Desenzano del Garda, Italy

The Ossario di San Martino is a small chapel that houses over 1,200 skulls and over 2,000 bones that belonged to fallen soldiers who fought in a key 19th-century European conflict.

In 1859, during the Second Italian War of Independence, there was a great battle here, more commonly called the Battle of Solferino. It was fought out between Austrian and the Piedmontese army. Solferino was the largest battle since that at Leipzig in 1813. As a result of their defeat, the Austrians lost their grip on the region.

Originally built as a chapel, the Ossario di San Martino was later converted into an ossuary, which was opened in 1870. Thousands of bones and skulls from soldiers from both sides, exhumed from the mass graves in which they were buried, rest in a display behind the altar. The exterior walls contain plaques commemorating the fighters from different cities and regions who took part in the war.


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Founded: 1870
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

harley Sipes (2 years ago)
Amazing views from the top of the tower and the Ossuary has a wonderfully creepy old world charm.
Martin Riedl Heggvoll (2 years ago)
Beautiful and interesting place. Wish the gates to go around and downstairs had been open, would've been interesting to see it even more up close.
Dale Godwin (2 years ago)
One of the lakes best kept secrets. I have visited twice and both times have been peaceful and relaxing. Surrounded by beautiful land Scape and great agrotourism where the food is so fresh and reasonably priced. The tower was built in momory of a war dating back some 200 years between the Austrian empire France and Italy. The church has the remains of many who died in the battle bones and skulls on display. Overall great afternoon out and the food was great too. Top tip restaurant acros from the tower is more expensive than the one at bottom of the hill.
Harry Fabel (2 years ago)
Very peaceful and relaxing place.
Davide Cervini (2 years ago)
Un luogo dove si respira ancora oggi il fervore di una delle battaglie che hanno fatto l'unità d'Italia
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