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View from the top of the pass in the direction of <a href="/content/Pontresina" style="color:blue">Pontresina</a>, <a href="/content/Switzerland" style="color:blue">Switzerland</a>
View from the top of the pass in the direction of Pontresina, Switzerland

The Bernina Pass (el. 2,328 m or 7,638 ft.) (Italian: Passo del Bernina) is a high mountain pass in the Bernina Range of the Alps, in the canton of Graubünden (Grisons) in eastern Switzerland. It connects the famous resort town of St. Moritz in the Engadin valley with the Italian-speaking Val Poschiavo, which ends in the Italian town of Tirano in Valtellina. The pass lies a few kilometres east of Piz Bernina.

The Bernina Pass is crossed by road and rail, with a popular tourist train, the Bernina Express operating year-round between Chur and Tirano. The train crosses the pass west of the road at a slightly lower 2,253 metres (7,392 ft) (at Ospizio Bernina) - it is the highest adhesion railway route in Europe.

Lago Bianco, Lej Nair and Lej Pitschen are located on the pass.


The pass was an important trade route over the Alps during the Middle Ages. In 1410 several communities north and south of the pass agreed to work together to maintain it. In 1512 the Three Leagues and their Swiss allies invaded the Valtellina region through the Bernina Pass. At this time the first road over the pass was mentioned. It covered a distance of about 20 miles (32 km) from Poschiavo to Pontresina.[1]

The building of the road began in 1842. Head of engineers was Rudolf Albertini (1821–1896) from Zuoz. The work was finished in 1865 and hospice at an elevation of 2,307 metres (7,569 ft) was also opened. Since this time road was made broader several times, since 1965 it is open all the year, although there is snow during 8 months.


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