Alpine Pass Viamala
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The Splügen Pass, which crosses the border into Italy, connects Graubünden with Lombardy.
The Splügen Pass was demonstrably already in early historic times. There are also references to this in Roman times, e.g. the Itinerarium Antonini, a Roman road map around 300 AD. The rather close connections between the dioceses of Chur and Como ran over the Splügen Pass. As early as 1396, considerable customs revenues were documented at Splügen. The expansion of the Viamala gorge promoted its upswing. The movement of goods took place almost exclusively with muleteers, which often meant reloading.
Transit traffic formed an important part of the flourishing economy. As late as 1798, the Austrian Field Marshal von Bellegarde wrote: "The largest goods train from Milan to Germany goes over this pass, but mostly on horses and mules." Between 1818 and 1823, at the same time as the San Bernardino, the first road for freight wagons and stagecoaches was built, which still largely corresponds to the course of that time. After that, the volume of freight and international passenger traffic over the Splügen grew many times over and reached its zenith around the mid-1850s.
The opening of the Alpine railways (1867 Brenner, 1872 Mont Cenis) already reduced transit traffic over the Splügen. The opening of the Gotthard Railway in 1882 brought Graubünden transit traffic to a virtual standstill. A large wave of emigration was a direct consequence. The decades-long efforts for a Splügenbahn were ultimately unsuccessful. The construction of the national road with car tunnel at San Bernardino opened up new perspectives. The Splügen Pass has been closed in winter since the 2nd World War.
The two-thousand-year history of transit can be experienced today on the cultural and long-distance hiking trail viaSpluga from Thusis to Chiavenna. For more information, see here.
200 years of the
Commercialstrasse The importance of the Viamala region has increased with the construction of the Commercialstrasse (1818 – 1823) from Chur via the Splügen Pass to Chiavenna and over the San Bernardino Pass to Bellinzona. A large part of the goods and passenger traffic was handled via these passes and the road thus had a great influence on food, supply and distribution throughout Europe. In the end, the road also contributes an important share to the development of tourism in the canton of Graubünden.
The shortest north-south axis will celebrate its 200th anniversary in summer 2023. Viamala Tourism has therefore launched the project "200 Years of Commercial Street" together with the Beverin Nature Park and the Viamala region. More information about the project can be found here.
Depending on snow conditions, the pass road is opened in May and closed again in November. Current information can be found here.
The Splügen Pass is closed in winter. In summer depending on snow conditions mostly
There is a bus connection (B 561) between Chiavenna and Splügen over the Splügenpass. Click here for the timetable.
Plan your journey with the Google route planner.
There are free parking spaces available at the top of the pass but also in Montespluga.
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