The Strada delle 52 Gallerie (Road of 52 Tunnels) in Italy is an interesting drive through the European country’s history. Built in 1917 by Italian soldiers and miners, the Strada delle 52 Gallerie at Monte Pasubio was a crucial element of the country’s defense against the Austro-Hungarian forces.
The mountain road was used to deliver supplies to Italian soldiers while effectively evading gunfire from the enemy. The road was built after the main path to the mountain camp was being fired upon and collapsed in an event called White Friday, when the original path for supply delivery fell onto the soldiers, killing thousands of them. The Dolomite mountain range is home to many military paths, but the Strada delle 52 Gallerie is unique among them because of the number of tunnels found in the 2,300-meter stretch of the path.
While the Road of 52 Tunnels is effective in evading Austro-Hungarian gunfire, the sheer rock faces, deep canyons, and steep spires make for a very dangerous road—so dangerous that the road is consistently included in lists of the deadliest roads in the world. The Strada delle 52 Gallerie was meant for a two-mule carriage to negotiate, and the width is only enough for the passage of the said carriage. It is carved right out of a rock tower, and to compensate for this limitation, the Strada delle 52 Gallerie twists into itself, not unlike a corkscrew. Apart from being a historical landmark and an extremely dangerous road, the Road of 52 Tunnels, also known as the Road of the First Army, is also considered by many as a feat of military engineering, ingenuity, and daring.
One of the best things about the Strada delle 52 Gallerie is that it can be accessed all year round—something that the builders of the road ensured as it was a key area of Italian defense in the First World War. The names of the tunnels in the road, in order, are:
The 47th tunnel, Pallanza, is the highest point in the Strada delle 52 Gallerie, with a breathtaking panoramic view of the area surrounding the Dolomite Mountain Range. The Road of 52 Tunnels can be accessed by foot or bicycle, although local authorities discourage motorbikes due to the significant number of accidents in the area.