Recent archaeology puts humans in the Alps as early as 5,000 years ago. Celtic tribal settlements and influences date to 600 BC and former Roman strongholds dot the region. Hannibal’s army famously crossed the mountains with elephants in 218 BC to attack Rome. Tourism replaced most of the region’s agricultural economies mid last century.
Still, the spirit of robust and artisanal economies continue to thrive next to some of the world’s leading technological and financial players. And while indirectly influential and relevant within geopolitical and economic circles, most of the region adheres to ideas of political neutrality – supporting diplomacy and commerce as a foundation for global relationships.