Culture and Food in Valchiavenna
8 March 2016
Chiavenna City Center
Antique painted facades and fountains and gates made of soapstone decorated with geometric and floral ornaments. These are the sights to be seen in the historic city center of Chiavenna. Here, the city dates back to the year 500, when it was originally surrounded by a wall, some of which can still be seen… Testaments showcasing just how important Chiavenna was as a connection to Central Europe.
Constructed by masters of Ticino, the arcade dates back to 1698-99. It’s an incredible example of Renaissance architecture leading to the Treasury Museum, where you can discover precious vestments and sacred furnishings, a rare musical codex from the 11th century and the medieval masterpiece, “Pace di Chiavenna”, gospels from the 11-12th centuries. With the former tower constructed in the 12th century destroyed, a new tower was commissioned on the 9th of June, 1597, and was completed in 1603. It’s here you’ll find crossed keys under an eagle in the soapstone that show the coat of arms in the oldest stone of Chiavenna.
Palazzo Vertemate Franchi
The Palazzo Vertemate Franchi is part of a rustic complex in a green area to the north towards Prosto, isolated from the village of Piuro, which was destroyed by a landslide in 1618. Since 1988, the beautiful structure has been a House Museum of the City of Chiavenna that has undergone restorations of the interior wood structure, paintings, and cataloging of the furnishings. From the outside, it’s hard to imagine just how elegant and extravagant the interiors truly are!
The Bottonera Mill
The Bottonera Mill, founded in 1867, is situated in the old artisan district of Chiavenna. This zone is characterized by the trades that once used the water from the Mera river to their advantage. The river featured numerous mills, one for paper, one for iron, two for wool, and various breweries and bakeries. Structured on three floors, they were organized with a complex system of pulleys, belts, and millstones that kept production going into the night. Today you can visit the museum that showcases all of these wonders from the industrious and creative past.