Today we take you with Steve and Bucky to discover some very special Italian locations.
Yes, indeed! Because, if you remember, in the movie “Captain America – The First Avenger”, when Cap reaches the American army in Italy, Peggy Carter explains to him that a violent battle has just been fought in Azzano, from which only about fifty soldiers returned.
Perhaps some of you don’t know that there was even a scene, later cut, called “The Battle of Azzano”, in which the 107th clashed with German troops in Italy. It is in this battle that Bucky and the future Howling Commandos meet the Hydra soldiers who will later make them prisoners.
Here’s the video of the scene with the Battle of Azzano (which starts right after Cap’s performance).
But which Azzano are we talking about? You should know that in Italy there are 11 different places with this name and, proud of this nominal coincidence, they have joined together in the cultural association “Azzano d’Italia”. The etymology of this particular place name is probably to be traced back to the Roman gens Atia (or Attia) which must have had several land properties in northern Italy, called ager atianum (or attianum) from which the name “Azzano” derived.
Here is the list of these almost homonymous places:
- Azzano d’Asti
- Azzano Decimo (Pordenone)
- Azzano Mella (Brescia)
- Azzano di Lucca – Seravezza (Lucca)
- Azzano di Mezzegra – Mezzegra (Como)
- Azzano di Premariacco – Premariacco (Udine)
- Azzano di Spoleto – Spoleto (Perugia)
- Azzano di Torlino Vimercati (Cremona)
- Castel d’Azzano (Verona)
- Azzano di Pianello – Pianello Val Tidone (Piacenza)
- Azzano San Paolo (Bergamo)
But which one of these is the Azzano referred to in the movie?
Let’s narrow it down
In the film, we are told that Cap finds himself encouraging troops in “November 1943, 5 miles from the front.” Shortly afterward, a map is shown indicating the military positions stationed along the border with Austria (Bolzano, Belluno, Udine, Passo dello Stelvio and the Brenner Pass are visible).
Let’s be clear, if only it were true! In November 1943, the Allies were still far from the Austrian border! Just think, Rome itself was only liberated on June 4, 1944, and then the famous Gothic Line had to be overcome (which ran along the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines). In short, in November ’43, northern Italy was not even on the horizon.
But let’s say that Marvel took a poetic license here because the 107th was particularly adept and miraculously managed to get the Americans to Bolzano.
That said, of the eleven possible Azzanos, three are relatively closer to the area indicated on the map and could be the one mentioned in the film. And we’ll introduce you to these three.
Among all, the town to which the movie most likely refers is Azzano Decimo (Friuli-Venezia Giulia), the closest to the areas shown on their map. The adjective “Decimo” was added after the annexation of the town to the Kingdom of Italy, indicating that it was at the tenth mile from the center of Concordia Sagittaria.
Like many Italian towns, Azzano Decimo and its hamlets (Tiezzo, Corva, and Fagnigola) are little-known places outside the mainstream tourism circuit, making them perfect for discovering small pearls of the artistic and natural beauty of our country.
The best time to visit Azzano Decimo is undoubtedly the summer period during which the town comes alive with events such as the Sagra del Montasio, the Fiera della Musica, the Festa della Madonna del Bembo and the Sagra della Faraona. Although the history of the town is very ancient, its monuments are all relatively recent. However, Azzano Decimo is the ideal place to immerse oneself in nature, especially by visiting the naturalistic area “I tre scalini del Diavolo” (The three steps of the Devil).
Despite its dark, curious name, this park has been managed by WWF since 1994 and is a rich oasis of particular flora and fauna. Furthermore, its numerous watercourses, forming various ponds and marshes, provide refuge for bird species during their migrations to Africa.
Azzano di Premariacco
The second possible candidate for the battle in Cap’s movie is Azzano, a hamlet of Premariacco, in the province of Udine.
In Roman times, the area was likely to have hosted settlements, especially because it was very close to one of the consular Roman roads and, along the Natisone River, two other road tracks have been found. The Ager atianum was then occupied by the Longobards, as evidenced by two Longobard knight tombs of the “a cassetta” type found in the locality of “Ponte di Azzano”. Oriented west-east, based on the sets of objects found in them, they have been dated to the 7th century. There are few historical testimonies of the village, but worth a visit are the church of San Girolamo, built as a private oratory in 1640, and Villa Micheloni, built in 1690, and restored after the Friuli earthquake of 1976.
Moving to Veneto, in the province of Verona, we find the municipality of Castel d’Azzano. The area of the municipality was previously largely occupied by the Vacaldo Lake and its canals, which, being spring water, were always clean and usable. The name Castello is due to the residence of the feudal lords Nogarola. The Nogarola family purchased the land from the Scaligeri family in 1273, and the construction of the Castle, as Villa Nogarola was called, probably dates back to the 13th century. In the 15th century, the Villa was particularly loved by Isotta Nogarola (1418-1466), a poet and humanist, who defended the female sex by proposing as a model the great women of the past in her epistles exchanged with some of the great Italian intellectuals.
The Villa as we can admire it today is the result of the 19th-century renovation wanted by Count and General Dinadano Nogarola. The villa remained in the family’s possession until after the First World War when it passed into the hands of the Violini family, from whom the name Villa Violini Nogarola, and the Vacaldo lake was drained.
If you happen to be in Castel d’Azzano, you can’t miss a visit to the Villa, perhaps bringing with you the works of Isotta Nogarola and a Captain America comic that you can read while visiting Parco Raziol, where you can still admire the clear waters of the area’s springs, surrounded by greenery.
Did you know about these municipalities? If you don’t know where to go when you have a few days off and want to take a trip out of town, try visiting them, maybe you’ll also discover some reference made by Cap that has escaped us! And, as always, if you liked the article or if you visit these places, let us know by commenting here or on our social channels!
Also, here you can find the article in Italian.