Saint Bernard (two Alpine passes)
Saint Bernard, two Alpine passes, both used since antiquity. The Great Saint Bernard (alt. 8,110 ft/2,472 m), on the Italian-Swiss border, links Valais canton, Switzerland, with Valle d'Aosta, Italy. Frequented by the Gauls and Romans, the pass also was crossed by Charlemagne, Emperor Henry IV, Frederick Barbarossa, and Napoleon I. The hospice, founded by St. Bernard of Menthon, is in the charge of Augustinian friars. The St. Bernard dogs bred by them were formerly used to search for lost travelers. A ruined temple of Jupiter stands at the summit. Nearby are a hotel, a church, a library, and a scientific institute. The Great St. Bernard Road Tunnel, c.4 mi (6.4 km) long, linking Switzerland and Italy, was opened in 1964. The Little Saint Bernard (alt. 7,178 ft/2,188 m) connects Savoie dept., France, with Valle d'Aosta, Italy. It also has a hospice founded by St. Bernard of Menthon.