Region

The Alps are an historically inaccessible region of Europe. While isolated by towering elevations, alpine valleys are blessed with agricultural promise and its mountains are rich in natural resources. The range of mountains stretch among Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Culture

The region symbiotically influenced the European Romantic movement and its purveyors. International philosophers, naturalists and poets looked to the Alps for inspiration and in turn, broadcast the range’s idyllic settings, leading to its popularity as a tourist destination. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the Shelley’s all had deep connections to the region.

Traditions

Ideal combinations of protected valleys and climate produced and fuelled stabile traditions of wine and cheese-making while iron deposits made early evolutions of tools possible – from the tools that supported agriculture and animal husbandry to the precise modern machining of fine components and watches.

Surrounds

The Mont Blanc and Matterhorn peaks are both well above 4,000 metres. The extreme variations in altitude affect weather across much of Europe and host a commensurate range of fauna and flora. Ibex skitter along mountainous edges, the famed Edelweiss grows wild and trout species run in the freezing streams and deep lakes.

Destination

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.