SIMPLÓN TUNNEL. 2. Route. 3
a narrow pass, fortifled by the Lombards, between the Monte
Pirchiriano (3150 ft.; right) and the Monte Caprasio (left), where
Charlemagne defeated the Lombard King Desiderius in 774.
A bridle-path ascends in i3/4 hr. from Sant' Ambrogio to the "Sagra di
San Michele, a monastery founded in 999 upon the rocky summit of the
Monte Pirchiriano (Alb. Giacosa, clean, at San Pietro, 1/t hr. from the top).
The monastery, enlarged by the Benedictines in the 12th cent., is now
occupied by a few Rosminian monks (p. 200). The Scalone de' Morti, a
staircase hewn in the rock, ascends through the Porta dello Zodiaco
(Romanesque sculptures) to the Romanesque church, the apse of which
rests upon massive foundations, 75 ft. deep. Various scions of the House
of Savoy are interred in the crypt. The fine view ranges over the valley
of Susa, the Alps, and the plain of Piedmont. A bridle-path descends to
(l'/4 hr.) Avigliana.
485 M. Avigliana (1108 ft.), a mediseval town with a large
dynamite factory. The hills below Avigliana, once enclosing a lake,
are the lateral moraines of the ancient Doria Riparia glacier. —
Beyond (488 M.) Rosta the valley expands into a broad plain.
About 3 M. from Rosta lies the Abbazia di Sanf Antonio di Ranverso,
founded in 1188, with a Gothic facade of three gables. The high-altar-piece
is a Nativity, by Defendente de Ferrari; iu the saeristy is a 15th cent, fresco
of the Bearing of the Cross.
499 M. Turin, see p. 27.
2. From Brigue (Lausanm) to Milán viá Arona.
100 M. Railway, opened in 1906, in 3'/2-7 hrs. (from Lausanne 6V2-
12y« hrs.). Best views to the left beyond Domodossola. Comp. the Map,
p. 190. — From London viá Boulogne, ordinary express in 24^2 hrs. (fares
lst el. 11. is. id.; 2nd el. 5i. 6?.); via Calais in 33 hrs. 'Simplón Express'
(train de luxe; extra fare 21. 18s. Gd.) from Calais (London) in 21'/z hrs. on
Mon., Wed., and Sat. in summer.
Brigue (2245 ft.; Hotel Couronne et Poste; Angleterre; Term¬
inas, etc.; Rail. Restaurant), a well-built little town, with a turreted
cháteau, is the terminns of the Rhóne Valley Line (see Baedeker's
Switzerland), and the starting point of the Simplón Railway.
The-Simplón Railway quits the valley of the Rhóne l1/^ M.
above Brigue and enters the Simplón Tunnel (12*/4 M.), the longest
railway-tunnel in the world, which pierces the chain of the Lepon-
tine Alps in a S.W. direction between the Furggenbaumhom (Ital.
Punta d'Aurona; 9815 ft.) and the Wasenhorn (Ital. Punta di Terra-
rossa; 10,680 ft.), near the point where the Simplón Road, constructed
by order of Napoleón in 1800-1806, crosses the Simplón Pass.
The tunnel, which was constructed in 1898-1906 at a total cost of
75,5CO,000 fr., by Brandt (d. 1899), Brandan, and other engineers, differs
from all similar constructions inasmuch as it consista of two parallel tun¬
nels, 55 ft. apart, whicti were connected with each other during the con¬
struction by transverse shafts at intervals of 220 yds. Only one of these
tunnels has as yet been completely finished, the other having hitherto been
used for ventilation, for the supply of water, and for the conveyance of
the material and workmen. From the N. entrance (2255 ft.) the tunnel
ascends at the gradient of 2:1000 to the (53/4 M.) culminating point (2303 ft.),
which lies 7000 ft. below the mountain-surface aboye; then, after retnaining