The waiting is over. The reconstruction of the little alpine church in Costabella (San Zeno di Montagna), on the ridge of Mount Baldo, has been completed. The project, studied and financed by ANA (Alpini National Association) of Verona, to restore the dignity and beauty of the structure after the winds of the “Vaja” storm in October 2018 had almost destroyed it, is finally a reality and the new lines of the little church will welcome on Sunday 2nd July thousands of alpine soldiers, in Italian also called “Penne Nere”, who will climb to the top for the 60th Solemn Pilgrimage to Cima Costabella.

The small alpine church, a few steps away from the Chierego refuge, where the remains of the young soldier Raffaele Solve lie in the ossuary, who died on 4 January 1943 in Nowo Kalitwa, Russia, aged just 21, has been made safe with earthquake-resistant masonry, new glass, consolidated structures and a partly new design that is in harmony with the mountainous context in which it is located. The project also includes the construction of a second “wing”, symmetrical to the existing one, which was toppled by the wind and skilfully rebuilt.

The reconstruction of the church has been long and complex, slowed down by the stops imposed by the pandemic emergency, which among other things has seen the Veronese Penne Nere (Black Coats) mobilised on several fronts: distribution of masks, setting up hospitals and sanitation with the Civil Defence, vaccination centres, fundraising). In addition, the limitations that necessarily arise from operating at an altitude of around 2.000 metres. In this regard, in the autumn of 2020, the road that climbs beyond the Fiori del Baldo refuge was levelled and opened, thanks to vehicles specialised in high-altitude operations. An important step that allowed the company’s vehicles to reach Costabella rather easily and without any particular problems.

The 60th Solemn Pilgrimage
On 2 July, the meeting in Costabella is at 10.20 a.m., the ceremony begins at 10.30 a.m. with honours to the sectional banner, flag raising and honouring of the fallen soldiers. At 11.30 a mass will be celebrated by the Bishop of Concordia, Monsignor Giuseppe Pellegrini, and sectional chaplain Don Rino Massella. The Prada basket/chairlift will be in operation from 7.30 a.m. for the occasion, and for ANA members, the concessionary fare is set at 10 euro round trip. At the end, refreshment point organised by the alpini of the Alto Baldo – Garda area with the traditional alpine soup.