Brenner Pass ( ; ) is a
mountain pass through the Alps along the border between Italy and Austria, and is one
of the principal passes of the Alps.
It is the lowest (1,370 m) and easiest of
the Alpine passes, and one of the few in the area. For that reason
possession of the pass has long been coveted.
Below the pass, high Alpine pastures have been used by dairy cattle
for summer grazing, making space available at lower altitudes for
cultivating and harvesting hay for winter fodder. Many of the high
pastures are at altitudes over 1,000 meters.
central section, the Brenner Pass itself, covers the track between
Sterzing and Matrei, through the
village of Brenner.
was originally the name of a nearby farm which
derived from its former owner. The farm of a certain
is mentioned in documents in 1288, a certain
Chunradus Prenner de Mittenwalde
is mentioned in 1299. The
is traced back to the German word for
somebody who clears woodland. A name for the pass itself appears
for the first time in 1328 as ob dem Prenner
above the Prenner
regularized the already
traditional crossing. The first Roman road connecting Italy with
the province of Raetia
north of the Alps,
Via Claudia Augusta
finished in 46-47 AD, but it did not cross the Brenner.
started in Verona and followed
valley to the Reschen Pass from where it descended into the Inn
valley and from there over the Fern Pass to Augusta Vindelicorum (Augsburg). Not until the 2nd century AD was a road over
the Brenner Pass opened: coming through the Pustertal, the road crossed the Brenner and descended from
there to Veldidena (today Wilten), where it
crossed the Inn and then the Zirler Berg towards Partenkirchen and on to Augusta Vindelicorum.
crossed the Brenner Pass
southward into Italy in 268 AD, to be stopped in November at the
Battle of Lake Benacus
The pass was a trackway for mule trains and carts until a carriage
road was opened in 1777. The railway was completed in 1867 and is
the only transalpine rail route without a major tunnel. Since the
end of World War I in 1918, when international borders shifted,
control of the pass has been shared between Italy and Austria.
Until then, both sides of the pass had been within the Habsburg
-ruled Austro-Hungarian Empire
. During World War
II, the German leader Adolf Hitler
the Italian leader Benito Mussolini
met there to celebrate their Pact of
on 18 March 1940.
motorway E 45 (European
designation; in Italy A 22, in Austria also called A
13) leading from Innsbruck via Bolzano to Verona and Modena uses this
pass, and is one of the most important north-south connections in
Europe. Even with the removal
of customs, the long traffic jams before
the Brenner Pass are dreaded by Northern Europeans who want to
spend their holidays on the Mediterranean coast.
Europabr√ľcke (Bridge Europe), located just outside of
Innsbruck and a few kilometers north of the Brenner Pass, is
a large concrete bridge carrying the six-lane autobahn over the
valley of the Sill
At a height of 180 meters and a length of
820 meters, it was celebrated as a masterpiece of engineering upon
its completion in 1963.
The heavy freight
traffic traveling through
the Inn Valley to reach the Brenner Pass, polluting this scenic
area, causes much debate in regional and European politics. About
1.8 million trucks crossed the Europa Bridge in 2004.
to ease the road traffic, there are plans to upgrade the railroad
from Verona to Innsbruck with a series of tunnels, including the
Tunnel under the Brenner Pass.
Work started in
Tolls are collected at Brenner Pass for traffic going to and coming
from Italy. The fee starts at ‚ā¨
- Egon K√ľhebacher (1991), Die Ortsnamen S√ľdtirols und ihre
Geschichte, Bozen: Athesia, p. 59
- Walter Woodburn Hyde, Roman Alpine Routes
(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press) 1935:194, "the use
of the major pass-routes has been continuous from prehistoric times
down to the present".
- "Geschichte Schwabens bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts" by
Max Spindler, Christoph Bauer, Andreas Kraus, 3rd edition;
publisher: C.H.Beck Verlag 2001 page 80 ISBN 3406394523,
- Galleria di
Base del Brennero - Brenner Basistunnel BBT SE - Offline