Sites & cities that bear the name of Chiavenna


Today in : Italy
First trace of activity : ca. 1st century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Clavenna, Ciavèna, Cläven, Kleven, Chiavenne

Description : Chiavenna (Lombard: Ciavèna ; Latin: Clavenna; 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. The name of Chiavenna, believed to derive by paretymology from clavis (English: key) referring to its pivotal position on the mountain passes between Northern Italy and the Posterior Rhine valley, comes in reality from a much older, pre-Latin (probably ligurian and certainly non-Celtic) etymon klava, meaning fallen rocks of a mountain slip. In Roman times Clavenna, conquered in 16 BC by the troops of Emperor Augustus during his Alpine campaigns, temporarily was a town of the Raetia et Vindelicia province, though actually located on the Italian (Cisalpine Gaul) side of the Alpine crest, north of the head of the Lacus Larius (modern Lake Como) at the entrance of the Valle Spluga. The Romans had two important roads built from Clavenna: the itineraries demonstrate that the route up the Valle Spluga to Splügen Pass was frequented in ancient times; as well as another, which separated from it at Clavenna, and led by a more circuitous route up the Val Bregaglia (Val Chiavenna) and across Septimer Pass to Curia (modern Chur), where it rejoined the preceding road. (Itin. Ant. pp. 277, 278; Tab. Peut.; P. Diac. vi. 29.) These passes had already played an important role as a line of supply for the Roman legion. It was by one or other of the roads that Magister militium Stilicho crossed the Alps in midwinter, a feat celebrated by Claudian (de B. Get. 320–358).

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