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Military roads, ancient mule tracks, Alpine routes carved into the rock are the subject of some of the most spectacular hikes and trails in the Alps.

Most of the mountain paths are recent tracks, opened first by shepherds and inhabitants of the valleys, and then consolidated by the Alpine Clubs and local administrations. But some paths have more complex or ancient histories, from ancient mule tracks to military roads, which testify to the different functions that these roads have performed over the centuries. These routes were often used for strategic purposes, such as access to Alpine villages and defence during wars, or to facilitate trade (or smuggling) and communication between the valleys.

Some of the hikes of this section have ancient histories, such as the Via Mala dug into the Cardinello Gorge, witness to the passage of Napoleonic troops. Many trails have military backgrounds, often linked to the First World War, such as the Cadorna Line, a system of fortifications and trenches built between 1916 and 1918 along the border between Italy and Switzerland, or the spectacular Strada delle 52 Gallerie. On these paths we can closely observe the traces left by the troops and reflect on the difficulties and challenges that the soldiers had to face in these harsh environments.

Walking along the historic paths of the Alps is a particularly fascinating experience because it allows you to immerse yourself in a sort of open-air museum. Along these routes, hikers can discover extraordinary engineering works, such as bridges, tunnels and terraces, which testify to the skill and tenacity of the men who built and traveled these routes over the centuries.




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