Galleria dei Saraceni: Unveiling Italy's Mysterious High-Altitude Tunnel in Piedmont
Galleria dei Saraceni, a high-altitude tunnel situated at 2,224m (7,296ft) in the Piedmont region of Italy, has been closed since 2013. Nestled in the southwestern Alps, there are ongoing efforts to reopen this tunnel, also known as Galleria Monte Seguret, as soon as possible.
What is the History and Purpose of the Tunnel?
Originally constructed as a military road during WWI, the tunnel and its encompassing road, known by names such as Strada militare Fenil-Pramand-Föens-Jafferau and Strada militare 79, played a significant role in the region's history. The road's construction began in 1925 and was completed in 1929.
How Challenging is the Galleria dei Saraceni?
Driving or even walking through this tunnel is not for the faint-hearted. The road is gravelled, steep, and poses various challenges due to its narrowness and precarious conditions. It requires undivided attention and is best suited for experienced drivers. While it might tempt some adventurers, it's advisable to be cautious, adopting the "slow and steady" approach. Before attempting entry, travelers should note the tunnel's width, which is just 3 meters, and a large pile of clay is loaded to make the passage impossible. There is also a ban and a barrier there, strategically placed to deter unauthorized entry.
What Should Travelers Expect Inside the Tunnel?
This 876-meter long, U-shaped tunnel is devoid of any lighting, making it a dark and eerie journey. Potholes filled with water and the constant dripping sound enhance its intimidating ambiance. The tunnel's unlined structure leads to significant water leakage, often resulting in streams that can be several inches deep. To navigate this darkness, it's imperative to carry a powerful flashlight. The journey through the tunnel can be both thrilling and spine-chilling, as the end often feels elusive.
Pic: By Gigillo83 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons