Brazilian Military Cemetery of Pistoia

The Brazilian Military Cemetery in Pistoia, Tuscany, contained the remains of 463 Brazilian soldiers who died in the Italian Spring Offensive in 1945. The cemetery was closed in 1960 and the remains were interred in the National Monument in Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro. In 1967 the cemetery in Pistoia reopened with the inauguration of a memorial monument.

Between July 1944 and February 1945, some 25,000 Brazilian soldiers arrived in Italy to fight the Nazi-Fascist troops alongside the Allies. They were placed in a small air force and infantry division, the Força Expedicionária Brasileira (FEB), whose symbol was a snake with a pipe in its mouth. The FEB was attached to the 4th Army Corps of the American 5th Army commanded by General Clark. Its units also fought in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines led by General João Batista Mascarenhas de Moraes. 

FEB's bond with Pistoia was deep. The Rear Headquarters were installed in the city, where the most important services of the FEB were concentrated: the Field Hospital in the then Piazza d'Armi (today Piazza della Resistenza), the Intendenza di Finanza in Piazza San Lorenzo, the warehouse, the car park, the postal service and a radio station in direct connection with the headquarters in Brazil. 

In December 1944, a plot of land on the north-eastern outskirts of Pistoia was chosen to bury the bodies of Brazilian soldiers who had fallen in Italy; over a period of 15 years, 463 bodies were buried. The cemetery was closed in 1960 and the remains of the soldiers were moved to Rio de Janeiro to the National War Memorial in the Flamengo district. 

In the area of the former cemetery, it was decided to build a memorial that was designed by the architect Olavo Redig de Campos and inaugurated in 1967: trees, pools of water, lawns and plants are interrupted by a wide central avenue leading to a gravestone - under which the remains of an unknown soldier found after the construction work lie - and a pyramidal construction on top of which a brazier fire burns perpetually. Behind, there is an altar surmounted by a high pavilion. A large stone wall where the names of the fallen are engraved completes the memorial.

The area was guarded for years first by former Brazilian military officer Miguel Pereira, then by his son Mario until 2019.

Via delle Sei Arcole, 51100 Pistoia, PT, Italy