Reunion of Italy's mountain troops draws huge crowds
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 11, 2014
PORDENONE, Italy — Huge crowds lined the downtown streets of the closest large city to Aviano Air Base to cheer on an estimated 75,000 people marching Sunday in a parade capping the 87th national gathering of the Alpini.
The Alpini, Italy’s mountain troops, meet every year with veterans coming from all over the world. About 400,000 were expected to descend on Pordenone for the weekend.
Alpini chapters came from as far away as Australia and most of those marching – and many in the crowd – wore distinctive green hats with a single feather. Dozens of bands marched in the parade and Frecce Triocolori, Italy’s air acrobatics team, flew over.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti were among those watching from the viewing stand, along with an official contingent from the air base in Aviano led by Brig. Gen. Jon A. Norman.
Italian Prime Minster Matteo Renzi and Minister of Defense Roberta Pinotti greet an Alpini veteran that onlookers said was the oldest surviving member of the organization in Italy. Renzi and Pinotti both flew up from Rome to attend the 87th national Alpini gathering in Pordenone, Italy, on Sunday, May 11, 2014.
KENT HARRIS/STARS AND STRIPES