This article is about the Italian municipality. For the astronomer, see Paolo Chiavenna.
|Città di Chiavenna|
Townscape on Mera River
Chiavenna within the Province of Sondrio
|Province||Province of Sondrio (SO)|
|Frazioni||Campedello, Loreto, Pianazzola, San Carlo|
|• Total||11.1 km2 (4.3 sq mi)|
|Elevation||333 m (1,093 ft)|
|Population (Dec. 2004)|
|• Density||650/km2 (1,700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Chiavenna (Lombard: Ciavèna, Latin and Romansh: Clavenna, archaic German: Cläven or Kleven is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Sondrio in the Italian region of Lombardy. It is the centre of the Alpine Valchiavenna region. The historic town is a member of the Cittaslow movement.
Chiavenna is located about 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of Milan and about 40 kilometres (25 mi) northwest of Sondrio. The town is situated on the Mera River about 16 kilometres (10 mi) north of Lake Como. The river course leads up to Val Bregaglia in the east and the Swiss border at Castasegna. In the north, the Valle Spluga stretches up to Splügen Pass and the road to Chur in Graubünden.
The municipality of Chiavenna contains the frazioni (subdivisions, mainly villages and hamlets) Campedello, Loreto, Pianazzola, and San Carlo. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 7,263 and an area of 11.1 kilometres (6.9 mi).
The name of Chiavenna, derived from chiave, "key", refers to its pivotal position on the mountain passes between Northern Italy and the Rhine Valley. In Roman times Clavenna was a town of Rhaetia, on the Italian side of the Alps, north of the head of the Lacus Larius (modern Lake Como), at the foot of the Valle Spluga. The Itineraries demonstrate that Splügen Pass was frequented in ancient times; as well as another, which separated from it at Clavenna, and led by a more circuitous route over to Curia (modern Chur), where it rejoined the preceding road. (Itin. Ant. pp. 277, 278; Tab. Peut.; P. Diac. vi. 29.) It was by one or other of these passes that Stilicho crossed the Alps in midwinter, a feat celebrated by Claudian (de B. Get. 320-358).
After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire the city marked the northern limit of the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy. Clavenna was retaken by the Romans in the mid-6th century during the reign of Justinian and avoided capture by the Lombards until the 7th century. Clavenna probably derived some importance from its position at the junction of these two passes, as does the modern town of Chiavenna, which is the chief town of the surrounding district.
Chiavenna received town privileges from the Bishops of Como. In medieval times, the castello served as a residence of local counts controlling the Alpine passes in the north and east. It was in Chiavenna, were the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick Barbarossa met with his Welf cousin Henry the Lion and alledgedly fell on his knees to implore Henry's aid against the cities of the Lombard League.
Initially under the overlordship of the Dukes of Swabia, the town was acquired by the Italian Visconti in the 14th century. During the transalpine campaigns of the Old Swiss Confederacy, it was conquered by the Three Leagues' forces. Together with neighbouring Bormio and Valtellina it formed part of the Confederacy until in 1797 these valleys were merged into the newly established Cisalpine Republic.
- Peter, (3rd) Count de Salis (1738-1807). A popular governor, 1771-1773 and 1781–1783.
- All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute Istat.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1854–1857). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray.
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