Continue to wade into the area’s World War II history at the German cemetery on the Passo della Futa. Built on the midpoint of the Gothic Line, and inaugurated in 1969, the cemetery bears witness to the many brutalities carried out against the backdrop of the Apennines. Visiting is a sobering experience: you won’t find glorification of the war, as the space is designed to be a cautionary monument for new generations, and a mourning of the 31,000 fallen buried here, rather than a veneration of the cause.
Its architectural intrigue is hard to miss, however: designed by Dieter Oesterlen with input from landscape architects Ernst Cramer and Walter Rossow, the cemetery is laid out in a spiral shape, accented by occasional pools of water. Tombs are lined up mathematically, befitting of a military graveyard.
Managed by the German organization Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, the cemetery occasionally hosts reconciliation initiatives and activities for schoolchildren aimed at warning of war’s horrors, and sending a message of peace.