Alpine Passes in South Tyrol
The Alps are a petrified "belt" extending over 1200 km from the Ligurian sea to the Pannonico Basin. Especially for the region Alto Adige, but for other Italian regions as well located south of the Alps, this mountain range offers a significant shelter against weather agents coming from the north of Europe.
The alpine arc was an insurmountable obstacle for weather agents and people alike for many centuries.
Thanks to the development of tourism many of the passes existing in Alto Adige are nowadays transitable.
Great engineering works were made with a view to combining panoramic platforms with the pleasure of travelling. They have become fundamental. This is especially true with the Dolomites Road, built between 1900 and 1909, which is still extremely useful for tourism in Alto Adige today. The Gardena Pass, the Carezza Pass, the Sella Pass are some of the most famous passes located within the UNESCO World Heritage.
The Stelvio Pass at 2757 m a.s.l. plays a special role. The Pass road, the highest road in Italy, was completed in 1825. It has 48 hairpin turns on the Alto Adige side and a gradient of between 7 and 15%. It was opened to vehicle traffic in 1900 only and soon became an essential road for tourism. Spectacular view points to the Ortles make the Stelvio Pass one of the alpine passes that Europeans love the most.
Some of the mostly used passes in the Alps were not dug in rock, but simply required construction of a cross-through road. The Brennero Pass was one of the mostly travelled passes already back in Middle Ages. Nowadays, this easy-access Pass is transited by most heavy duty vehicles transporting goods from the north to the south of Europe and vice versa.
One of the most important passes in Alto Adige from a historical point of view, besides the Brennero Pass, is the Resia Pass located along the Roman Imperial road Claudia Augusta. It is on the border between three countries: Italy, Austria and Switzerland, where traffic is not as heavy as through the Brennero Pass. The Resia lake, located a few kilometres before the Pass , and the large landscape of Belpiano, Malga San Valentino and Maseben make this central pass in the Alps a picturesque doorway to the Val Venosta valley.