CC Video: Tourists Crossing the Gotthard Pass in 1963 and 1965 – Car Spotting And Wild Passing Galore

I somehow stumbled into these last night on my bed-time Youtube surfing. These are terrific, and feature great car spotting, even a fair number of American cars, which were quite popular with the Swiss back then. No big deal f you don’t get the Swiss-German commentary; it’s mostly self-evident. They document the challenges of summer tourists crossing the Gotthard Pass instead of taking the auto train through the tunnel.

They remind me very much of how insane the traffic was outside of Innsbruck, over the old Brenner Pass road before the autobahn and the Europa bridge were built a few years after we left.

The second one, from 1965, is even more graphic, showing lots of dangerous passing and other maneuvers. The narrator drolly mentions that on the prior weekend fourteen were killed and dozens were injured.

This third film will be harder to get if one doesn’t speak German. It’s a rather biting look at the German tourist invasion that descended on Italy in the 1950s. Some 3.5 million of them, to be precise. By the mid 50s the German economy lifted incomes to the point where the deeply ingrained wanderlust could be finally acted upon, en masse. Lots of shots of Germans driving over what I’m quite sure is the Brenner Pass, and then stopping there to put their passports and car papers/insurance in order.

The film shows them as the “ugly Germans”, flaunting rules on traditional Italian decorum and dress, even getting into a fight at the door of the cathedral of Milan for trying to bring a dog inside. The commentary is quite stinging.

I hate to say it, but a very similar type of film could be made today about the hordes of Chinese tourists descending on Italy, with similar breeches of etiquette. What goes around, comes around.