All over Italy I see monuments dedicated to Alpini…the elite mountain warfare military corps of the Italian Army.
The first Alpini were recruited in 1872 in the northern mountains regions of Italy. They are light infantry troops specializing in mountain combat and are the oldest active mountain infantry in the world.
A distinctive feature of the uniform is the hat, Cappello Alpino, which sports a fine raven feather. The soldiers are also known as Le Penne Nere…the Black Feathers.
I spotted this hat on a seat on a train from Verona.
I convinced its handsome owner to model it for me. He was on his way to visit his grandmother in the south of Italy.
There is a very special monument to the Alpini on the hill above my apartment in Ponte a Serraglio. I often walk up to the park above Colle to see the Chiesina Alpini.
There is a prayer to the Alpini on a little plaque on the front of the little church.
We often see members of the Alpini helping at local events. They do a great job and always look great in their feathered hats.
The hats turn up in the strangest places.