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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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Davide Cervini (18 months ago)
Un luogo dove si respira ancora oggi il fervore di una delle battaglie che hanno fatto l'unità d'Italia
Joan Lavrijs (18 months ago)
Great place with a lot of historical value.
enrico corna (20 months ago)
La pace e la bellezza naturale che accoglie il visitatore viene scossa appena si entra e lo sguardo si posa su quella distesa di teschi e ossa dei tanti caduti nella battaglia. Si fatica a comprendere la forza dell'ideale che ha portato tanti giovani che avevano il sogno di un'Italia libera a trovare il loro destino su questi prati. Si prova anche un senso di fastidio per tutta la retorica successiva che si è appropriata del loro sacrificio ma se ci si sofferma a leggere gli epitaffi sulle lapidi è difficile non sentire il vero dolore che sgorga dal cuore di padri, madri, mogli e figli .E poi guardando questi teschi che ti fissano con le loro orbite vuote non si puo' non chiedersi perché l'uomo non impari niente da tutto ciò e alberghi ancora nella sua natura la brama di violenza e di guerra..quante vite bruciate
Joanne Court (2 years ago)
It was quite a trek from Verona, but worth it. The church is beautiful and set in a lovely area.
William Richter (3 years ago)
Historical site and very interesting
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