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|Comune di Calvene|
|• Total||11 km2 (4 sq mi)|
|Elevation||210 m (690 ft)|
|• Density||120/km2 (300/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||Santa Maria dell'Annunciazione|
|Saint day||25 March|
The population has remained relatively stable throughout the years. The most recent census showed 1324 inhabitants.
One of the forms of the Venetian dialect is spoken in Calvene and its surrounding towns:
Dialect: Calvene l'e un bel paese pianta sui sassi russi, Lugo i xe quattro mussi.
Italian: Calvene è un bel paese costruito sui sassi rossi, in Lugo ci sono quattro asini.
Historical Analysis of the Settlement of Calvene
The village of Calvene rises 201 metres above sea level and is in a valley through which the river Astico and Chiavona stream run. We know that Calvene has existed since Roman times because of numerous archeological discoveries over various epochs, some of which carry inscriptions of a certain “gens Calvena” (or Calvenia) settled in Venetian area. There have, in fact, been numerous discoveries of relics and money in the Astico valley from Roman times, proving the dominion of the Romans on the locals.
Calvene was also subject to Lombard authority. One point of evidence is some of the last names that came from German ancestry such as Bordogni, Bisozzo and Bissoli. In addition, there exists an ancient document in which it speaks of a certain “Giusto”, son of Martino, of the Lombard people, who possessed fields, houses, household effects and furniture in Calvene.
There was a parish at that time that stood in Calvene where, according to some hypotheses, in ancient times stood a Roman forum. It is presumed that the old church stood close to where the cemetery is today. It was rebuilt in the 16th century and was swept away in the flood of the Chiavona in 1850.
The position of the forum and of the next church makes one presuppose that in the past the village grew more to the south and that for reasons of defence in medieval times it moved to its present position.
Lombard rule lasted for two centuries and was then taken over by the Franks and Charlemagne in 774. Under the Frank’s reign began the rule of bishops, princes, landowners and tithe collectors. The bishop of Padova (Padua) reigned over this region.
In 911 the king of the Kingdom of Italy, Beregario I, Marquis of Ivrea, confirmed to the bishop of Padova (Padua) the ownership of the goods that had been promised to him and the power to erect castles.
Around 1100 there were 2 castles of which nothing remains, only names and places of where they were: Castellaro was in the center in the land of homonymy, and Monte Castello, or Rocca was north of the region. The first castle was to reign the Astico valley (down below the pharmacy), the Chiavona valley (below via Villa) and the main streets of the region; the second was to reign the Chioda (up on the hill northwest of the center of town) and Porca valleys and the plains on the other side. These places necessitated a greater defence and thereafter formed the fastest access way between the plains and the upland and vice versa.
In a document from 1268 Calvene was already a village with a mayor and a procurer who took care of the goods that the parsonages of Vicenza would give them.
During this time, taxes no longer were paid by the elected vassal to the bishop, but to the dean of the fiefdom elected by the people and then deposited to the village accounts.
In 1347 the Venetians, having obtained permission to cross Vicentine territory, went down into the Astico valley with an army of German soldiers to fight the enemy Francesco de Carrara, bringing destruction and inflicting terror.
In 1404 Calvene, like all of the provinces, came under the dominion of the “Serenissima” or the most Serene Republic of Venice. In that period tradition says that an important but troublesome person from Chioggia was exiled to Calvene and this person named the Val di Chioda (found above and north of town).
In 1390, one spoke of the fiefdom of the villages of Calvene, Lugo and Lonedo (where the villa Godi Malinverno is), which shows that the 2 other villages had attained administrative autonomy.
In the 15th century the major resources of the village were the cultivation of wheat, corn, rye, oats, grapes and olives. The cultivation of olives was the prevalent interest of the hilly land on the northwest side of town owned by the Bordogni, Rossi, Collesello, Valsavina and Termine (in Valsavina down below Viale Divisione Julia) families. The main artisan activity was the production of wool.
Only a few houses in Calvene remain from the 10th century; most of them were built between the 15th-17th century. A few of them maintain the characteristics of the old manor home that belonged to noblemen of the area who however preferred to reside in the stability of Vicenza and cross into the original area only during the summer months.
In this area not many of the original family names from Calvene have been retained but these have: Testolin, Brazzale, Dalle Molle, Cappozzo, Binotto etc... The powerful families from the village were simply named “De Calvene” or Of/From Calvene.
The church was rebuilt and restored in 1525.
The Plague took many victims in 1575 who were buried in an area of the village called Lazzaretto near the Chiavona stream. A stone marker called San Rocco or the Stone of the Plague was built at the top of Lazzaretto. In 1640, after different occurrences, the church of Lugo, up to then under Calvene’s jurisdiction, separated and the parish was reduced to 446 members, assuming its present size.
In 1574 the church of San Bellino was constructed in the hamlet of Monte, which was at that time made up of seven families.
In the 18th century began the use of the villages’ numerous hydraulic resources by using the Maglio (an area down near the Astico where an old hydroelectric factory and a steel foundry was) and its many mills, the first of which had been built in the 15th century.
In 1797 under the Treaty of Campo Formio, the Republic of Venice was ceded to Austria. In 1805 this was annexed to other Napoleonic conquests on the Kingdom of Italy. When the Napoleonic Empire fell, the region returned under Austrian rule.
In 1850 a violent flood inundated the village of Calvene sweeping away the cemetery, transforming the church and the bell tower into ruins. The archpriest, however, launched the idea to the community that a new church should be built in a more stable place. Therefore, in 1852, the construction of the new church began under the architect Antonio Diedo from the Venetian school and the Austrian court. The church was rebuilt using both Ionic and Doric details.
With the finances secured from the Austrian court, works of art were able to be recovered and restored from the old church, among these: the canvas of the Annunciation by the artist Alessandro Maganza (on the main altar), the canvas depicting the Annunciation, artist unknown, from circa 600, the canvas of Emmaus’ dinner attributed to the Veronese School, the painting of The Martyr Saint Peter by Jacobo da Ponte, and the 4 marble altars of which one is a tabernacle from the second half of the 6th century.
Other works of art were placed in the sacristy after the restoration; the terra cotta of Saint Peter the Martyr from the year 400, the Gothic crucifix, the ancient Pieve Baptistry from the 10th century and the Byzantine statue of the Madonna the chaste.
In 1863 the parish of Calvene had a new bell tower erected next to it.
In 1878 the bridge over the Chiavona was constructed, resolving the problem of connecting the village with the rest of the province.
In 1900 the fresco from Constantine vision was carried out and in 1901 the stone marker dedicated to the Redeemer was erected in Magan (on the other side of the Astico, but still in Calvene).
In 1912 the new parish had an 18-metre spire built on the bell tower. This brought the bell tower’s height to 55 metres. The façade of the church was restored this same year, and the choir was decorated the following year.
When it was decided that the Rossi paper and cotton factories would not be constructed in Calvene, this resulted in the emigration of numerous Calvenese people. This is why over the past 100 years the population of Calvene has remained practically the same.
Some of the significant works completed during these years are:
- The village mill with the adjoining sawmill
- The bridge over the Astico
- Electric lights up and down all of the streets (completed in 1911 all around)
- The elementary schools in the center and up in Monte (1913)
- The nursery school (founded in 1914)
- The dairy (founded in 1907)
During the First World War, following the rupture of the alliance between Italy and Austria and for fear of reprisals by the Austrians, the town of Calvene was evacuated. The population took refuge in Thiene until 1917.
Calvene was the base of a huge ammunition deposit and in Valsavina there was a large munitions store. This was the reason why Italian and English soldiers remained in Calvene until 1919.
The military path of Monte Cavalletto, which connected Calvene with the mountains on the other side, was modified at the end of 1917 by the engineer Daglioni. He did this by having the road pass next to the cowsheds found on the north side of Monte. Daglioni also built the road and the steps of the church in Monte. In addition, he built the road going from Larghetto up to Monte Cavalletto connecting to various mountain houses in Caltrano.
Immediately following the war, the most important job for the entire population was to repair the damages and close the trenches from the war. Soon after this, however, many emigrated to other parts of Europe, to Africa and to the Americas. The people who remained in Calvene dedicated themselves to farming silkworms and straw. The village’s only income was from cutting wood, renting mountain homes and from state contributions.
In 1933, construction began on the fascist house.
During these years the following public works were realized:
- In 1930 public lighting started up again
- In 1931 a public waterworks project was approved, taking water from the Rocca spring/well (found at the top of via Villa at the easternmost part of town) in order to resolve the problem of a lack of drinking water. People would draw the water from a series of different public fountains.
In 1938, the first public connections were made for gas, electricity and water.
During the period preceding the Second World War unemployment in Calvene was at a very high level. 74 were unemployed and 234 were on welfare out of 1429 inhabitants.
During the war the German garrison was in the Sartori home (via Villa 5).
In 1945 the village was occupied by resistance fighters, and in retaliation 7 houses (up on the hill towards Mortisa) were burned by the Germans.
The first free elections took place on the 3rd of June 1945.
After the war the most diffuse activities were the cultivation of fields, farming silkworms, working straw, copper, iron and zinc down in the Maglio area (down by the Astico river), and up on the Monte firestarter/slack (used as charcoal and to make plaster) was produced.