Trebbia Battlefield - History and Facts | History Hit

Trebbia Battlefield

Gazzola, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Location of the first major battle of the Second Punic War between Hannibal and the Roman consuls Scipio and Longus.

Antara Bate

26 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons: Florival fr / CC

About Trebbia Battlefield

Trebbia Battlefield marks the location of the Battle of Trebbia, the first significant clash of the Second Punic War. Fought in 218 BC, it was a resounding defeat for the Roman armies under the consuls Scipio and Longus and a major victory for the great Carthaginian general Hannibal.

Trebbia Battlefield history

A resounding defeat for Rome, the Battle of Trebbia was the first real example of Hannibal’s ingenuity. Hannibal took advantage of the impetuous nature of the Roman consul Longus and drew him into a battle he had little chance to win. At first light, the Carthaginian general sent his Numidian cavalry into action to harass the Roman camp and lure them out. Longus eagerly complied and sent his men across the swollen and freezing river towards the Carthaginian army.

Waiting for the Romans on the other bank the Carthaginians were fresh, had breakfasted and had kept warm around their campfires. They had already gained the upper hand in the early engagements before Hannibal’s brother, Mago, sprung from his hiding spot throwing the whole Roman army into confusion and dismay and all was lost for the Romans.

Trebbia Battlefield today

Today, the river is little more than a stream, but the area is very atmospheric. A lovely green valley extends upriver – it so captivated Ernst Hemingway when he was here during World War Two that the local sparkling water quotes him as describing it as ‘the most beautiful valley in the world.’

Getting to Trebbia Battlefield

The exact location of Trebbia Battlefield on the river is not known, however it is thought to be somewhere north of Rivergaro.  A war elephant stands as monument to the battle.

The nearest town is Piacenza, which is approximately 25 minutes north (11.5 miles) by car via Strada Statale 45 di Val di Trebbia and the SS45. (From Milan, Trebbia Battlefield is approximately 1.5 hours (58 miles) by car via the A1).

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