Mount Matajur

Mount Matajur

Matajur, Martius King and Baba in the local Slovenian dialect, is a mountain in the Julian Alps 1,641 m.

It is located in the eastern part of Friuli and the high ground overlooking the city of Cividale.

 Mount, despite the limited height, can be easily identified from the Friuli plain for its characteristic conical shape and is the most prominent representative and symbol of the Natisone Valleys.  The training period of the mountain is not precisely dated as it is composed, mostly, of sedimentary material of the periods between the Jurassic and Upper Cretaceous. Surveys carried out on the mountain slopes have led to the detection of traces of gold with zinc, silver and native mercury. 

The climb to the mountain, which is lined up to the summit by woods (poplars, chestnuts, green alder) or meadows, no particular difficulty for the poor slope of the sides. The shortest and easiest way to reach the summit is to begin the climb starting from Pelizzo shelter, which can be reached by car with a convenient asphalted road. Alternatively, you can start from the village of Mersino where mule tracks and paths, through forests and meadows where they grow daffodils, crocuses, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, bring in about an hour and a half, and without difficulty, to the goal.

On top of the mountain stands the church of Christ the Redeemer, built on the ruins of the chapel opened in 1901 to commemorate the nineteen centuries prior to the Redemption and struck by lightning and then destroyed by the war events related to Bataglia Caporetto.

From the top you can see a magnificent panorama that sweeps from the Karst region, all'Itria, the Grado lagoon and the summits of Canin, Mangart, Triglav, the Black Mountain and the Dolomites. From the flanks of the mountain flow the waters of springs and streams which swell the Natisone river and, in Savogna valley, the waters of the Alberone river and its right tributaries. In the area of ​​Mount Matajur, and especially in Savogna valley, there are a large number of cavities and caves among which we must remember the abyss of Cerconizza, the Ta Pot Celan Jama, Velika Jama, the cave of Mersino Alto the Sesna Jama Mersino, Casera Glav of Masseris and the Jeronizza cave.

The top of the mountain has been, since ancient times, a borderland: first with Austria, then with Yugoslavia and, nowadays, with the Republic of Slovenia. At the foot of the northern slope of Matajur runs the National Road 54 in Friuli, which is the way to facilitate communication between Italy and Slovenia for those who must access the middle part of the Isonzo. Mount Matajur and its slopes are affected by Paths Italy identified by CAI number 736 and 725 and the path 749.

Matajur name appears in the writings and maps only in the eighteenth century. The name originates from Mont Major (Monte Maggiore Cividale) which, over time, is mutated in Mot Major, Major Mat, Matajor and, finally, Matajur. The local population also calls it (Velika) Baba, which indicates an isolated rocky peak, or only from the twentieth century, Kalona with reference to the obelisk erected alongside the chapel of Christ the Redeemer and destroyed, as indicated above, in during the first World war.


It is believed that the Matajur was climbed by the Lombard king Alboin when, come near Italy, I went back to admire the fertile plains of Friuli who was about to invade.

The hill of Matajur, during the First World War, was part of the last Italian line of defense was prepared by the 2nd Army for the protection of the Friuli plain in case of breakthrough of the combat units in advanced positions. The mountain became known as, during the Battle of Caporetto, Lieutenant Rommel, the future Field Marshal, he conquered the summit. On 24 October 1917, after a long bombardment, Lieutenant Rommel, head of six German companies, launched a fast attack, attack with tactical surprise, the Colovrat and before long it conquered the peaks. Then invaded the Savogna valley and attacked the Matajur, defended by the Brigade Salerno. After 52 hours of exhausting marches and daring battles, he conquered the peak by nearly 9,000 prisoners and a huge haul of war materials. The advance of Lieutenant Rommel was one of the most important episodes of the Battle of Caporetto because it was decisive for the Italian tragic retreat. From Matajur, Rommel went through Longrone, its fast advanced to the river Piave.