Born in 1897 at Lugo, at 30 km from Ravenna, Aurelio Baruzzi voluntarily enrolled in the Royal Italian Army in 1915, at the age of only 18 years, as infantry officer cadet. He participated in the WWI with the rank of second lieutenant, in the 28th Regiment "Pavia", which fought in the Karst region. He distinguished himself in the fighting on the front line in the Third Battle of the Isonzo, receiving a bronze medal. Since August 6, 1916 he took part at the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo, also known as the Battle of Gorizia.
For more than a year, the strong Austro-Hungarian defensive line around Gorizia couldn't be penetrated by the Italian army, but with the conquest of Mount Sabotino, of Mount San Michele, and of Mount Calvario, it crumbled rapidly. On the right bank of the Isonzo there was only one Croatian regiment led by General Zeidler who ordered the withdrawal to the east of the city on the morning of 8th August, so Gorizia remained defenceless.
The first platoons of the Regiment "Pavia" began to gather on the left bank of the river, preparing to occupy the city. In this moment, the foremost man was Aurelio Baruzzi. First, he and three followers captured three hundred Austro-Hungarian soldiers crowded in the famous railway tunnel between Mount Calvario and river, where he held them captive for a long time till reinforcements came. They also confiscated several artillery pieces, including two cannons.
As the only intact bridge was under heavy Austrian fire, Baruzzi was granted permission to swim across the Isonzo, carrying an Italian flag with him. The water was fast but not very deep, and Baruzzi uses the flagpole as a staff to steady himself. After he reached the other bank, crossed a field of few hundred meters and raised the flag near the railway station. By the afternoon, Gorizia was in Italian hands. This was the first tangible victory that was obtained after almost fifteen months of war.
On September 4, 1916, King Vittorio Emanuele III awarded Aurelio Baruzzi the Gold Medal of Military Valour. With the rank of lieutenant, he entered in the Arditi Units (The Daring Ones), elite storm troops of Royal Italian Army. He was taken prisoner during the Second Battle of the Piave River, what brought him the second bronze medal. He remained in the army after the war, reaching the rank of general, and described in two books the war events he had taken part. He died in 1985.
About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series Women in Art, about which I wrote here.
About the postmark
This is the first-day postmark used with the occasion of the "Centenary of the conquest of Gorizia" anniversary. The postcard was issued also with this occasion.
Aurelio Baruzzi (ita) - Wikipedia
Scenes from Italy's war, by G. M. Trevelyan - archive.org
The conquest of Gorizia - Itinerari grande guerra
Railway underpass Aurelio Baruzzi - Itinerari grande guerra
Sender: Radu Toussaint
Sent from Grado (Friuli-Venezia Giulia / Italy), on 13.10.2016