Bondo, Switzerland

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Former municipality of Switzerland
Coat of arms of Bondo
Coat of arms
Bondo is located in Switzerland
Bondo is located in Canton of Graubünden
Coordinates: 46°20′N 9°33′E / 46.333°N 9.550°E / 46.333; 9.550Coordinates: 46°20′N 9°33′E / 46.333°N 9.550°E / 46.333; 9.550
Country Switzerland
Canton Graubünden
District Maloja
 • Mayor Renzo Giovanoli
 • Total 26.26 km2 (10.14 sq mi)
Elevation 823 m (2,700 ft)
 • Total 204
 • Density 7.8/km2 (20/sq mi)
Postal code 7606
Surrounded by Castasegna, Novate Mezzola (IT-SO), Soglio, Stampa, Val Masino (IT-SO), Vicosoprano, Villa di Chiavenna (IT-SO)

Bondo (Romansh: About this sound Buond ) is a former municipality in the district of Maloja in the Swiss canton of Grisons. It is now part of the municipality of Bregaglia.


The municipality is located near the Swiss–Italian border south of the Mera River in the Val Bregaglia (known as Bergell in German). It is located in the Bergell sub-district of the Maloja district. The valley floor is so deep that parts of the village do not receive any sunlight in winter. The Val Bondasca leads up from Bondo to Piz Badile and Piz Cengalo, two peaks of the Bregaglia Range.[1][2]

The municipality of Bondo also includes the smaller village of Promontogno and, above that on a rocky outcrop, the ruins of Castelmur fort. Additionally there are several abandoned settlements.[3]

Bondo has an area, as of 2006, of 28.2 km2 (10.9 sq mi). Of this area, 2.5% is used for agricultural purposes, while 37.6% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 0.6% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (59.3%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).[4]

On 1 January 2010 the municipalities of Bondo, Castasegna, Soglio, Stampa, and Vicosoprano merged into the new municipality of Bregaglia.[5]


View of Bondo from the north, c. 1870

Under the Carolingian dynasty Bondo belonged to the Ministerium Bergallia, which was a dependant of the early Bishops of Chur, though after 960 it was owned directly by the Bishop. The valley church of S. Maria at Castelmur is first mentioned in 988, while the village church for Bondo, S. Martino, was consecrated in 1250.[3] During the High Middle Ages Bondo was part of a several villages that were collectively known as di là dell'acqua (‘across the water’), which were part of the district of Unterporta.[3] In 1367 Bondo, together with the rest of Unterporta, joined the League of God's House (German: Gotteshausbund). In 1380 it was first mentioned under the name of Bondo. In German it was also known as Bundth while in Romansh it was known as Buond.[3]

In 1552 the Protestant Reformation reached the village. During the 16th century some of the population left Bondo to Italy, and later to eastern Europe (either as bakers or soldiers). This trend has continued into the 20th century, except many now leave for northern Graubünden or the rest of Switzerland.[3]

During the Thirty Years' War the Three Leagues were rocked by the Bündner Wirren or Confusion of the Leagues, as the decentralized leagues fought each other over religion and politics. In 1621, during the Confusion, Spanish troops burned the entire town to the ground, destroying about 248 structures.[3] The town was rebuilt along new central streets.


Bondo has a population (as of 2008) of 204, of which 10.3% are foreign nationals.[6] Over the last 10 years the population has decreased at a rate of −0.5%.[4]

19th-century photograph of a drawing of the Hotel Bregaglia, Promontogno, taken from Bondo.
Bondo, and Castlemur, Promontogno, from the south by John Robert Cozens, (or a copy of the Cozens by J. M. W. Turner).

As of 2000, the gender distribution of the population was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.[7] The age distribution, as of 2000, in Bondo is: 17 children or 9.4% of the population are between 0 and 9 years old. 8 teenagers or 4.4% are 10 to 14, and 4 teenagers or 2.2% are 15 to 19. Of the adult population, 16 people or 8.8% of the population are between 20 and 29 years old. 24 people or 13.3% are 30 to 39, 18 people or 9.9% are 40 to 49, and 29 people or 16.0% are 50 to 59. The senior population distribution is 19 people or 10.5% of the population are between 60 and 69 years old, 30 people or 16.6% are 70 to 79, there are 13 people or 7.2% who are 80 to 89, and there are 3 people or 1.7% who are 90 to 99.

In the 2007 federal election the most popular party was the SP which received 37% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the SVP (32.4%), the FDP (20.2%) and the CVP (10.5%).[4]

In Bondo about 63.8% of the population (between age 25–64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either University or a Fachhochschule).[4]

Bondo has an unemployment rate of 0.61%. As of 2005, there were 16 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 5 businesses involved in this sector. 22 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 3 businesses in this sector. 36 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 8 businesses in this sector.[4]

The historical population is given in the following table:[3]

year population
1803 235
1850 230
1900 304
1950 239
1960 254
2000 181


Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks Italian (77.3%), with German being second most common (19.3%) and Romansh being third ( 1.7%).[4] In 1900, 92.76% of the population spoke Italian and in 1970 it was 95.65%. It wasn't until 1980 that there was a significant German-speaking minority.

Watercolour, c. 1880, of Bondo from the south-west, the road from Soglio, by Madeline Marrable.
Languages in Bondo GR
Languages Census 1980 Census 1990 Census 2000
Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
German 25 13.59% 26 16.15% 35 19.34%
Romansh 1 0.54% 0 0.00% 3 1.66%
Italian 155 84.24% 133 82.61% 140 77.35%
Population 184 100% 161 100% 181 100%


Topographical drawing of Bondo, c. 1770

The church of S. Maria in Castelmur was largely rebuilt in the 19th century, but still has its Romanesque campanile.[8] S. Maria in Bondo also has a Romanesque bell tower. This church was restored in the 17th century but retains an important late 15th-century fresco cycle. The remains of the painter Varlin are interred in the nearby cemetery.[2][3] Further notable buildings include the Casa Molinari, the Palazzo Scartazzini of 1690, the Palazzo Scartazzini am Platz (formerly Cortini) of 1763 and the Palazzo Salis;[3] this last was begun by Jerome de Salis-Soglio in 1765 for his wife Mary and completed by their son in 1774. There is also a group of crotti towards Promontagno.[3] In the twentieth century the painter Varlin captured much of the spirit of the village.

Heritage sites of national significance[edit]

The Castelmur medieval fortifications, the church of S. Maria and the Palazzo Salis are listed as Swiss heritage sites of national significance.[9]


Bondo's western approach in 1884, detail of a watercolour by Helga von Cramm (1840-c. 1901)
  1. ^ Kev Reynolds, Walking in the Alps (Milnthorpe: Cicerone Press, 2005), p. 248.
  2. ^ a b Bondo at
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bondo in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Swiss Federal Statistical Office Archived 4 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. accessed 19 October 2009
  5. ^ Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz published by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (German) accessed 23 September 2009
  6. ^ Graubunden Population Statistics Archived 27 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine. (German) accessed 21 September 2009
  7. ^ Graubunden in Numbers Archived 24 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine. (German) accessed 21 September 2009
  8. ^ Castelmur in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  9. ^ Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance Archived 1 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine. 21 November 2008 version, (German) accessed 19 October 2009

External links[edit]