In loving memory of Gaetano Pivatelli


Don Gaetano Pivatelli was born on January 27, 1832 in Rosegaferro, near Villafranca di Verona, where his father, Luigi, owned a tavern. His parents chose an ecclesiastical career for him so they made him study at the Don Mazza, institute in Verona, where he stands out for his intelligence.

In 1872 he became the parish priest of Custoza; the small town had been a battlefield in 1848 and 1866 and was in dramatic condition. The war had destroyed most of the crops causing poverty and epidemics. The new parish priest was particularly disturbed by how the remains of the soldiers and their memory were treated. The soldiers who had fought for the homeland and freedom lay in mass graves in all the surrounding villages. Their sacrifice was forgotten and their remains left at the mercy of the elements.

Don Pivatelli decided that a monument had to be built to give a appropriate burial to the fallen soldiers and to celebrate their sacrifice. He set up periodic suffrage funeral services and got in touch with anyone who could help him achieve his purpose. He even wrote to King Vittorio Emanuele II and Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria to help create a worthy monument.

The society and the institutions enthusiastically approved his initiative. In 1879 the monument was inaugurated.

Pivatelli died in 1900 in Custoza, he was buried in the local cemetery. In 1990 his urn was taken to the Ossuary so that he could rest with his fallen.