Horses to Be Shoed

1800 - 1850

In 1835, the mail coach service linking the Sottoceneri region and Lombard area to the cantons of German-speaking Switzerland followed the Ceneri road and the Tremola road past St Gotthard. By 1831, 900 mail coaches had already travelled along the new road over St Gotthard. In 1842, the coaches had up to ten seats, drawn by five horses. They travelled from Flüelen to Como in around twenty-three hours.  

Horses’ intelligence is demonstrated by the fact that they were fearful of cars at a time when men simply laughed at them

Jean Rostand   

In around 1870, it is estimated that approximately 70,000 people crossed the pass per year, together with 10–20,000 tonnes of goods. The coach pulled rapidly down the Tremola descent by its horses became an icon. The painter Rudolf Koller immortalised it in 1873 with his famous work with the characteristic five-horse attack.  

“Gotthardpost”, Rudolf Koller, 1873