The Monte di Mezzo Fortress together with the Haideck Fortress, formed the “Sesto Barrier” in the Upper Val Pusteria valley
The Monte di Mezzo Fortress - "Festung Mitterberg" in German, "Forte Monte di Mezzo" in Italian - on the homonymous hill near Sesto dates back to 1884-89. Two years before the construction work started, the Triple Alliance between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy was signed. In order to strengthen this defensive alliance, numerous fortifications were built on the borders and passes, including the Monte di Mezzo Fortress on the southern slope and the Haideck Fortress on the northern slope of Sesto. The aim of the 427,000 kronor expensive complex was to close the Monte Croce Pass and to block the access to the Val Pusteria valley if necessary. The fortresses were connected by telephone and visual telegraph.
The extensive barbed wire fence between the complexes, which divided the valley, was called "Sperre Sexten" (Sesto Barrier). While Haideck was destroyed, Monte di Mezzo Fortress overcame the First World War: Its function as a barrier with a crew of five officers and 177 men was officially cancelled on July 12, 1915. In the following decades it was used as a strategic base and storage. Today the Monte di Mezzo Fortress is owned by the Autonomous Province of Bolzano.
It consists of three floors with granite armour, wide rooms, artillery positions and a defensive wall. The view from the complex extends into the Val Fiscalina valley and to the mighty peaks of Mt. Croda Rossa and the Three Peaks of Lavaredo. The Bellum Aquilarum Association, which also realised the Bellum Aquilarum open-air museum about the Mountain Warfare between 1915-18, offers guided tours through the fortress. Its opening as a cultural monument is being planned. And how to reach the fortress? A hike leads from Moso near Sesto to the fortress in 1.5 hours (no. 3A and 13). There is also a road leading up to the Monte di Mezzo and a car park is available.
The fortress stays open only during the summer months, season start 2024 in early July.