Another World Adventures

Adventure365 Blog Inspired Stories

An adventure through history: hiking paths built a century ago during WW1

Original post: Another World Adventures

2mins read

On this day 102 years ago the First World War began for England. At school you have probably studied dates and names of battles, and something you may remember is that some of them took place on top of the mountains.

Hundreds of soldiers had to hike packed with all their military equipment, becoming in a sense pioneers in mountain hiking.

Most of those battles occurred in the Dolomites between Austrians and Italians, and the signs still remain. In the today quiet and peaceful landscape you can see the scars of the past with barbed wire, bullet holes, tunnels built into the mountains, an open-air museum, and even century old furniture. If you have ever visited the area you may have noticed that some peaks are flat. This is not a natural feature, but the result of a blow-up that occurred a hundred years ago.

Via Ferrata

Another artefact that remain are the via ferrata (“iron paths” in Latin). These climbing paths criss cross the mountains using steel cable fixed into the rock which people navigated crossings and steep rock faces. They were invented by the Italians to facilitate the transport of ammunition and other equipment across the mountains. Indeed, some people say those soldiers had to fight more with the environment and the weather than with each other.

Via Ferrata are still there and today it’s possible to do expeditions and trekking travelling through again the same paths built by young men more than a century ago.

Inspiring stories: friends during the war

Hiking the mountains where young men once fought must be not just a physical challenge, but a spiritual one as well. Even during war, it is comforting to know that human love and friendship can be stronger than hate and conflict. There are many stories of soldiers who used to fight during the day, and at night they met to exchange cigarettes, drinks, and even play cards together. The most magical moment probably occurred during Christmas day in 1914, when shootings stopped and enemies became friends for a day, even playing a football match together!

Here at Another World Adventures we think that those kind of stories should appear more on history books. But the truth is you cannot learn all of it at school, and besides, as Saint Augustine said, “the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Featured adventures

Discover your next adventure from our tried and tested adventure providers

As seen in

Explore our unique collection of trips and get inspired for your next adventure

As seen in

Responsible Tourism

We believe in ‘creating better places for people to live in, and better places to visit’ through a responsible approach to travel. Read how you can travel responsibly on your adventure.

Read more

Our Story

Our journey began on an ocean adventure sailing across the Atlantic ... find our more and get inspired for your next great trip.

Read more

Earn Rewards

We'll donate to a nature project in your name in thanks for using Another World Adventures to find and book a trip.

Read more
Get our best stuff sent straight to you!