THE OLD STATION AND THE PARK "MAX LONGHINI"
On 10th February 1910, with the first train departing from Asiago to Piovene Rocchette, the railway station in Asiago was officially opened. Those 22 km of railway became a connection for transportation of goods and people to and from the Plateau.
The station was designed in 1910 by the Venetian architect Guido Sullam. In 1958, when the railway was closed, the station was used as the ticket office for busses.
The station, as well as all the properties of the former Venetian Railways, which also now also includes the area of the ice rink, was purchased in the late ‘70s by the town of Asiago.
In the ‘80s the building of the station was purchased by the Mountain Community to be renovated and became the seat of the “Spettabile Reggenza (Regency) of the 7 Municipalities”. In 1984, renovation works began and lasted three years. According to the decision of the Head of Architectural Heritage of Verona, the architecture of the building was preserved.
The park dedicated to Lieutenant Pilot Antonio Max Longhini
In front of the station, on the side facing the centre of Asiago, you can see the park dedicated to the Lieutenant Pilot Antonio Max Longhini (1918-1944), a brave hero and a sport aviator.
Having exceptional physical strength and courage, Antonio was fascinated by flying from the early age. He started practising skiing and ski jumping and became an outstanding sportsman, showing excellent results in national and university competitions. He was a champion in national competitions in Italy and one of the best in the world championships.
As soon as Antonio reached the legal age, in 1939, he received his pilot’s license as a civilian. He enlisted then in the Air Force, becoming a fighter aircraft pilot.
A few months after the war broke out. Antonio had an active role in Sicily, Calabria, Albania and for a long time in Sardinia. From 1941 to 1943 he participated in glorious air and naval battles in the Mediterranean area. His companions admired his heroism and kindness, and some of them confirmed that he saved their lives. One of his friends described him in these terms: “Max was a gently and sincere person, honest and modest. He fought without hatred, he was loyal and generous, a genuine knight of heaven”.
On September 8th 1943, Antonio returned to his family to Asiago, with grief in his heart: many were the friends he had lost and Italy had been defeated, humiliated and divided. Despite the Armistice the country was still bombed in the North: the Allies bombed not only military targets, but very often helpless city centres, causing devastation, suffering and great losses of the civilian population. After the bombing of Vicenza on Christmas Day in 1943, driven by a sense of duty and by love for his people, Antonio returned to fight for his land. He joined those heroic pilots who, though aware that the confrontation was hopeless, still tried to defend their country as they could. With courage and self-denial, they sacrificed themselves one by one against the overwhelming squadrons of the powerful “flying fortresses”, which brought so much suffering and death to the city. At the end of 1944, the Italian Air Force unit was assigned to took heavy losses. On November 18th, Vicenza suffered from the most terrifying bombing that caused almost four hundreds deaths among the civilian population. Antonio had had his last battle two days before, in the sky above the city of Treviso. In the third that day of a fierce battle, his plane was struck by a “flying fortress”. The great pilot was killed by the enemy but before dying he managed to help his crew to escape with parachutes.
Antonio Max Longhini was honoured with the following awards:
- Three Silver Medals for Valour, two of which “in the field”
- A Bronze Medal for Military Valour “in the field”
- Two Crosses of War, one of which “in the field”
- The “Freccia d'Oro” (the “Golden Arrow”) Badge for over a hundred war battles.