GUERNICA AND THE ANNIVERSARY
Padua, a city of peace today, was one of the frontlines where World War I was fought. Indeed, after the defeat of the Italian troops in Caporetto, in 1917, the city became the ‘Capital of the Kingdom of Italy at the Frontline”. An Armistice was signed between the allies and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, on 3 November 1918, in Villa Giusti del Giardino in Mandria, just outside of Padua. The armistice was signed on 3 November 1918 at 3.20 p.m. The ceasefire came into effect on 4 November at 3 p.m. and officially put an end to World War I after 3 and a half years. Although indirectly, this signature also marked the end of the century-old Austro-Hungarian Empire, which broke up with the rise of nationalist movements.
In its European route to war-stricken places, the “Guernica” cartoon replica will have a major stop in Padua, emphasising the part played by this city at the end of World War I to assert the value of peace.
The Historical Museum of the Third Army, which will host the Guernica exhibition, is a unique institution.
It was inaugurated on the initiative of General Alberto Alberti on 30 August 1956 and collects relics, documents and memories of the “Armata Invitta” (the Undefeated Army) from the First World War.
The Museum has no commemorative purpose in itself. It has rather been conceived as a tribute paid to the fallen of any nationality and provides an opportunity to ponder over the war, its consequences and people’s need to live in peace.
The building hosting the Museum was initially owned by the Borromeo family in the 15th century, then purchased by Pietro Bembo in 1527 and ultimately, after several ownership transfers, by Duke Silvestro Camerini (1847), from whom it takes its name. From the 1940s onwards, the building hosted military commands such as the Designated Command of the Third Army (1952-1972) and the Command of the Air Defence Artillery Brigade of the Italian army until 2009.