When I’m on holiday, I always try to find something about the history of a certain place. Preferably the dark side of history. In Italy, there are several places that meet my desire. Take the Ossario di Solferino for instance. The bones of 1413 fallen soldiers were stored here. But, what happened to these poor souls? Let’s find out!
The Battle of Solferino and San Martino
In 2020, we already visited the Tower of San Martino. This place was built to honor the soldiers who were killed in the battle of 1859. On the 24th of June of that year a heavy battle was fought. This battle was between the Austrian Army under Emperor Franz Joseph I one one side against the Piedmont-Sardinian Army under Victor Emmanuel II and the allied French Army under Napoleon III.
The latter two were also known as the Franco-Sardinian Alliance. About 300,000 soldiers went to battle. The battle was won by the Franco-Sardinian Alliance but many soldiers lost their lives. Their bodies were buried in mass-graves. Ten years later, the bodies were exhumed and stored in the nearby churches. In 2021, we visited the Ossario di Solferino, and this church was even more impressive!
Ossario di Solferino and Ossario di San Martino
The bodies of the fallen soldiers at Solferino were stored in the San Pietro in Vincoli church and the fallen soldiers of the Battle of San Martino were stored in the Cappella dei Conti Treccani, now named Ossario di San Martino. All the fallen soldiers: Austrian, French and Italian, were stored together. There is no longer a difference between them. All of them are treated with the same respect. This bloody battle inspired Henry Dunant to establish the Red Cross.
Visit the Ossario di Solferino
You can visit the bone church and climb the nearby tower. When we visited the area, we had the church to ourselves. Wandering through this quiet bone chapel was very impressive, especially to our son. Some skulls show massive injuries like bullet holes. The Ossario di Solferino also shows 4 complete skeletons. These were once French soldiers. Apart from the 1413 skulls there are 7000 bones, all stored neatly inside the church.
Photo report of the Ossario di Solferino
We took many pictures and we love to share them with you. Even though this place isn’t creepy, it is quite haunting. I will write the story about the Ossario di San Martino soon! Of course I will show you more pictures then.
Do you want to read more about creepy and haunted places in Europe? Click here!
Location Ossario di Solferino: Parco, Via Ossario, 46040 Solferino MN, Italy
Pictures: all made by me