The Memory Route
By many years now Capannori has been working on the Via della Memoria, or the protection of the places of our historical memory, to promote freedom and solidarity.
Taking a walk in and around Capannori, it is possible to discover the places where many important events of the final years of World War Two took place, telling us all the small and big stories that made History.
1. Ruota, birthplace of don Aldo Mei. Don Aldo Mei (1912 – 1944), killed outside the walls of Lucca, was an important character for the Resistance. A commemorative plaque was put at his rectory.
2. Pieve di Compito, the rectory. During the German occupation don Nello Marcucci and all the priests of the Compitese area helped the Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale (CLN, National Liberation Committee) assisting the local population, but also offering shelter to jewish families, fugitives from the prison camp of Colle di Compito, partisans, and draft evaders.
3. S. Andrea di Compito, Villa Campetti (today VillaTorregrossa). With Villa Borrini, it hosted the German headquartes, but it used to be the house of prof. Gaetano Campetti, socialist and president of the local CLN section, married to Felicia Baumgraten, a Polish jew, who had to be the interpreter for the German troops.
4. S. Leonardo in Treponzio, the rectory. 1943-1944: don Paolo Ghiselli hides in the rectory a group of Jews and British soldiers escaped from the camp of colle di Compito.
5. Former Lucca-Pontedera railway. At the beginnig of August 1944 the Allied forces bomb the line, causing the death of Antonio Frediani, 75, from Pieve di Compito.
6. S. Andrea di Compito (a commemorative cross in Vallegrande). On 23 July 1944 two men of the village are killed during a German roundup: Giovanni Giovannetti (35) and Stenio Frediani (18).
7. Pieve di Compito, loc. Fabbrica (commemorative plaque). On 28 july 1944, partisan Bruneo Paoli, 24, was killed by German troops.
8. Il Romitorio. An ancient eremitic place, it became a refuge for many of the 8000-10000 thousands who lost their homes and fled to the Compitese area during the war.
9. Concentrantion Camp of Colle di Compito (commemorative plaque). 1940-1943, prison camp for allied soldiers. 8 September 1943 was the only exemple around Lucca of Italian soldiers fighting against the German army. A few prisoners managed to escape and the locals helped them for more than a year.
10. Tassignano, railway station. On 12 and 23 June 1944, the local station was bombed. l
11. S. Margherita. On 12 April 1944 German and fascist soldiers rounded up 17 men of the village.
12. Capannori, Corte Bertolucci. The Germans gathered more than 1000 men in this courtyard transformed in a civilian detention and deportation centre.
13. Capannori. At the beginning of September 1944 the allied forces bombed Capannori, not knowing that the occupying army had already left. 2 deads and 3 wounded among the civilians.
14. Capannori, northern side of the church. On 27 December 1944, a German bomb causes 2 dead and 4 wounded civilians, damaging the church and nearby houses.
15. Lunata, piazzale della Chiesa, monument to the martyrs. On 16 August 1944, after an anonymous tip off, don Angelo Unti, don Giorgio Bigongiari and 9 other men from Lunata are transported to the prison of Nozzano and there killed. The killings were aimed at ending the resistance activities the men set up, that also helped young Jews.
16. Lammari (church of S. Cristoforo). On 28 April 1944, five youth are killed and many other are wounded while playing with an unexploded bomb. This is just one of the many episodes that during and after the war caused victims acmong the civilian population, especially children.
17. Marlia, Villa Reale. 8-10 September. A hundred prisoners flee from the concentration camp and are helped by the locals.
18. Marlia. On 8 December 1943 8 jewish citizens are arrested and tranferred to Bagni di Lucca. They were later sent to an extermination camp.
19. Marlia, commemorative plaque of Enzo Landucci. On 10 dicembre 1944 Enzo Landucci, young partisan from Marlia, is killed in Molazzana. After Capannori was freed by the Allied forces, he kept fighting against the Germans alogside the liberation army.
20. Matraia, Villa Pardini. 50 war prisoners fled and were helped by the local priest. On 8 October 1943 German troops rounded up the area but were unable to find them.
21. Segromigno in Monte, S. Pancrazio, 8-10 September 1943. Local helped fugitive prisoners.
22. Segromigno in Monte, the rectory. June-July1944: don Pietro Bandettini hides 16 youths wanted by the occupants in the rectory of his church.
23. S. Colombano, Villa Matteucci. Prison and German garrison.
24. Gragnano e Lappato (loc "Erta" e "Leccio"). 6 Jult 1944: 300 inhabitants and evacuees are arrested.
25. Lappato, Villa "Baldoria". 50 British prisoner escape from Villa Baldora in Lappato, where they lived to work in the nearby brick factory. They found shelter in the woods of Lappato, Gragnano, Petrognano and some of them even Boveglio or further on the hills above Lucca. Civilians helped them, and after a tip off, 15 people from Lappato were arrested by fascist authorities with the charge of aiding and abetting foreign enemies.
26. Tofori. On 15 November 1943 the STS partisan brigade is formed, taking its name after the initials of the villages of Sant'Andrea in Caprile, Tofori and San Gennaro. At the beginning of 1944 its partisans guided the Allied forces in the liberation of the area.
27. S. Gennaro. On 20 July 1944, a partisan was captured and immediately executed. A few days later 8 civilians are executed.
28. S. Pietro a Marcigliano. On 9 August 1944, Bruno Bindi, 21, partisan of the STS brigade, is shot.
29. Gragnano. On 3 settembre 1944, the Germans in retreat execute Antonio Chines and Angelo Pera, believed to be helping partisans.
30. Petrognano. Commemorative stone. On 6 September 1944, German soldiers capture and kill Ilio Menicucci, commander of the STS partisan brigade, and another partisan.
31. S. Andrea in Caprile. Commemorative plaque in the local cemetery. In October 1944, Luigi Perna dies from his wounds trying to save a persone, after having successfully rescued two more.