The French cemetery in San Leonardo in Passiria dates back to the 19th century and is part of the MuseumPasseier.
It was November 17, 1809, at the time of the Tyrolean freedom fights, when thousands of Frenchmen invaded the Val Passiria valley via Passo di Monte Giovo. Their intention was to conquer Tyrol and the destination was Merano, but the inhabitants of the valley struggled emphatically. On November 22 the Frenchmen capitulated under Major Dorell. In those five days 22 inhabitants of the valley as well as 200 French soldiers and 30 officers lost their lives (pic: a panel along the Andreas Hofer trail informs on the fights).
The French fallen were buried on a land at the western edge of San Leonardo in Passiria. This piece of land probably was a cemetery for pest people formerly. In 1959, 150 years after the battle, a marble plaque was installed and the French tricolour is waving. Today the French cemetery is a branch of the MuseumPassiria and publicly available any time. It can be found on a walk from the village centre of San Leonardo in Passiria towards the Passiria river or along the Andreas Hofer trail (Andreas Hofer-Rundweg).
By the way: in 2009, when excavations took place on this piece of land, no mortal remains were found, so it seemed, that the fallen were buried somewhere else. But the French embassy in Rome instructed new excavations which were successful: fabric remnants, buttons and human bones were found. So the French cemetery is not only a memorial site, as long believed.
Despite careful control we cannot guarantee the correctness of the provided data.