A mountain pass is always a promise of travel and discovery, exchange and trade. These highways dilute borders and, on occasions, are also the door to time travel, ties that unite yesterday with today, marking the destiny of families and entire regions. All this represents the alpine road of the Rhombus pass (Timmelsjoch in German), a port located at 2.509 meters above sea level, straddling the valleys of Oetz and PassiriaInter North tyrol y South tyrolInter Austria e Italy.
Every year in early summer the road comes to life after long months of winter slumber. The port opens, depending on the snow and the weather, between mid and late May. But first, for three or four weeks, huge snow plows are responsible for removing the asphalt, layer by layer.
The thick white mantle reaches six, eight or even ten meters in the harshest winters. The season lasts only five months. Between now and October 100.000 cars and 80.000 motorcycles cross the Eastern Alps at this point.
The slope is relatively gentle, but those who are not used to driving in the mountains will find it very uphill. Buses and trucks are prohibited from entering. From the top you can see in the distance the peaks of 3.000 meters from Stubai and the Dolomites.
If you are in a hurry, you go for the Brennero Highway and there you only contemplate nature and the landscape when the density of traffic makes you stand still. On the other hand, if you choose the path of the Rombo pass you will live a old-fashioned trip. It is recommended to go with time for reflection, to enjoy the impressive views and architectural beauty.
The border between countries? Here that is but a vague memory. Instead of barriers and customs posts, two inconspicuous posts and a plaque on the asphalt report the separation between Austria and Italy.
The families established in the region for a lifetime still remember what the times were like before the road was built and they could make a living from tourism. The farmers of the Oetz Valley were trapped in their environment and survived by gathering what they could from the barren soil during the months when the snow gave a brief lull. The steep slopes offered shelter to smugglers of all kinds.
If one chooses to make a stop on the way, the ideal is to do it in the spectacular museum from the mountain pass dedicated to the history of the road. With the foundations on the Oetz side, it is suspended 16 meters high focused on Passiria.
It includes the base station of the modern cable car that transports up to 2.400 skiers in winter and also houses a spacious and bright restaurant where you can enjoy one of the most beautiful alpine panoramas.