Members of historic mountain infantry build a field hospital in Northern Italy, supported with free rental power from CGT, the country’s Cat® dealer.

In a region of Northern Italy hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, a field hospital established by Italy’s historic mountain infantry—the Alpini—has been treating the sick since opening on April 6 in a formerly vacant wing of a convention center in Bergamo Province.

Nestled in the foothills of the Alps in Northern Italy, the Lombardy region has been the area hardest hit by the global pandemic in Italy with more than 62,000 confirmed cases (compared to 165,000 in the whole Italy) and 11,500 deaths due to the virus (versus 21,600 for the entire country).

Bergamo Province has experienced more than 10,472 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and more than 2,780 attributed deaths, though officials worry the actual number could be much higher.

With hospitals under pressure from the surge of cases, it was necessary to create new two field hospitals strictly for treating patients affected by COVID-19—one in Milan and the other in Bergamo.

Construction of the field hospital in Bergamo was spearheaded by the Alpini, a historic mountain military corps founded in 1872 to protect Italy's border with France and Austria-Hungary. As part of the army's infantry corps, the specialty unit distinguished itself in combat during World War I and World War II.


Installation of generator sets donated by CGT Cat® at a field hospital in Bergamo, Italy during the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic.


In seven days, the Alpini led the effort to build a 144-bed field hospital in Bergamo Province, Italy’s hardest-hit region.


CGT donated three XQE250 generator sets and two XQP275 generator sets, as well as the required cables and ancillary equipment.


“Being part of the solution is something that provided a lot of energy to all of us at CGT. We are a for-profit company, but it’s important to help others in such a difficult time.”


Today, the Alpini is best known for its voluntary work in disaster relief. Their iconic feathered hats are a fixture at emergency sites across Italy, a country afflicted by more natural calamities than any other in Europe. Wherever there is an earthquake or a flood, through its association of veterans, the Alpini are always present.

So, when the local chapter of the National Alpini Association put out a request for 12 additional builders to join their group of about 100 volunteers, more than 200 responded to donate their time and materials, said Sergio Rizzini, the general director of the National Alpini Association’s field hospital division.

Wearing the iconic pointed green hat with black feathers, current, former, and reserve infantry members of the Alpini led a 300-volunteer effort to complete the 144-bed hospital in seven days. Volunteers wearing leather bracelets engraved with the words “Mola mia”—or “Never give up”—worked a total of 16,000 hours to complete the hospital, Rizzini said.

Italy’s Cat dealer, CGT S.p.A., lent its support to the field hospital, donating five rental power generator sets—including three XQE250 models and two XQP275s—along with cables and ancillary equipment required to connect the gensets. The mobile Cat gensets will provide backup power in the event that grid power is lost, says Matteo Cattagni, rental power manager for CGT.

Because Italy was placed under a strict lockdown, making arrangements to transport the equipment to the site involved receiving clearance from local authorities, Cattagni said.

“That means we have more people working all day just to arrange a transport, and that is something that we normally make with a phone call,” Cattagni said. “Now you have to send emails and wait for a response. So, everything has been more difficult and takes longer, but these are the conditions we must operate under until the virus disappears.”

Realizing the gravity of the situation, CGT was happy to provide the equipment and product support services to the field hospital free of charge.

“Being part of the solution is something that provided a lot of energy to all of us at CGT,” Cattagni said. “We are a for-profit company, but it's important to help others in such a difficult time.”

CGT was founded in 1934 and has always been very close to the territory in which it works together with its customers, Cattagni says.

“Therefore, helping the new field hospital in Bergamo was an opportunity for us to demonstrate this attachment, as well as an honor,” he said.

Michele Tresoldi, an administrative manager in CGT’s Energy Division, is also a member of the Alpini. In a teleconference interview, he sat aside Rizzini, both wearing the distinctive Alpini hats.

“The Alpini have a long history of service in our country, banding together and helping out in times of crisis,” Tresoldi said. “And to be able to pitch in and do our part as a Cat dealer and provide needed equipment and support this effort is something that makes us all very proud.”


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