The Alpini is a corp created as a special mountain infantry formation in 1872 by the Italian Ministry of War to work along the arc of the Italian Alps. The corps were composed of mountain men full of rigors of the Alpine life, and very familiar to the dangers of the mountains. Their main aim was to act on the defense line against invasion. Local recruitment, intense training, and the fellowship spirit among the members allowed the Alpini to reach a superb degree of cohesion and preparedness.
They originally got created for defensive purposes, however these troops have also been employed on other fronts because of their compactness, esprit de corps, and effectiveness under difficult conditions. They were in Eritrea, in Libya, and during World War I they were deployed to the most inaccessible areas of the Alps.
Their military life, with its regional recruitment, severity of training, tradition and esprit de corps, the need to unite with fellow veterans in civilian life turned them into the National Association of Alpini (ANA) born in Milan in 1919 and today embraces approximately 288,000 veterans.