The Via Mala.

(…) About five miles south of the old market town of Thusis, the traveler comes to the fearful gorges of the Via Mala (…). The Via Mala is one of the most extraordinary defiles in the Alps. From the northern end of the Schamser Thal it extends four miles down the valley to within a short distance to the village of Thusis. The walls of this gigantic cleft are nowhere less than 1,500 feet in height, and in places they overhang the valley to such an extent as to approach within 30 feet of each other. The broad roadway is carried with marvelous ingenuity and skill, now on the face of one cliff, now spanning the ravine in a bold bridge, now on the face of the opposite wall of rock. In one part it pierces the rock for 220 feet – Verlorne Loch – in others the rocks are hollowed out so as to overhang the road as with a canopy. Far below the path the impetuous torrent rushes along, as Southey sings: “Recoiling, turmoiling, and toiling and boiling.” The remainder of the Splügen route from the Via Mala abounds in beauties and picturesque views. The lower part of the valley, known as the Domleschger Thal, is remarkable for the large number of old castles which crown many of the eminences on either bank of the Hinter Rhine, and also for the rich cultivation of the lower slopes of the mountains. (…)

(The Aldine. The art journal of America, New York, 1874-79)


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