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The Brenner pass

The lowest crossing point of the entire central Alpine mountain range is located at the Brenner Pass, which permits travellers to cross the Alps by means of only one single pass. At an altitude of only 1375 meters, and thus representing a strategic location for commercial and military purposes, this mountain pass has been used since ancient times by populations migrating in search of new places to live.

In 15 B.C., the first roman road, the Via Claudia Augusta, which crossed the Brenner Pass, was built. Nearly 200 years later the ancient route was transformed into a military highway. From then on, the Brenner Pass enjoyed many periods of growth, culminating in 1867 with the inauguration of the Brenner railway, a milestone in the history of this mountain pass. The Brenner railroad served as means of internal communication for the Habsburg Empire, but in a little more than half a century, a series of historical events culminated in 1918 with the shifting of the international border between Austria and Italy to Brenner.

In 1950, the Geneva Convention on the strategic highways of international traffic officially recognized the important strategic position of the Brenner Pass assigning the nomenclature, E6, to the artery that ran from Levanger (in the Scandinavian Peninsula) to Reggio Calabria on the Mediterranean Sea.

This importance of this link was once again highlighted at the European Union Summit in Essen in December 1994. The project for a high speed railway and of a combined transport along the Brenner Pass was seen as a priority in view of the construction of the intermodal Berlin-Munich-Verona corridor.

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