1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chiavenna
CHIAVENNA (anc. Clavenna), a town of Lombardy, Italy, in the province of Sondrio, 17 m. by rail N. of Colico which lies at the N. end of the lake of Como. Pop. (1901) town 3140, commune 4732. It is well situated on the right bank of the Mera, at the mouth of the Val Bregaglia, through which the road to the Maloja Pass and the Engadine runs to the east. This line was partly followed by a Roman road, which at Casaccia, just below the last ascent to the Maloja Pass, diverged to the N. by the Septimer Pass, joining the Julier route to Coire (anc. Curia) at Stalla. The Splügen route, which was also used by the Romans, runs N. from Chiavenna to Coire: the modern road was constructed by the Austrians in 1819–1821. Chiavenna is crowned by a ruined castle, once an important strategic point, and the seat of the counts who ruled the valley from the time of the Goths till 1194, when the district was handed over to the bishops of Coire. In the 14th century the Visconti, having become masters of the Valtellina, bought the “county” (contado or contea) of Chiavenna from the bishop of Coire; but it was taken by the canton of the Grisons in 1525, and the castle dismantled. In 1797 Chiavenna became part of the Cisalpine republic, and thenceforward followed the fortunes of Lombardy. The church of S. Lorenzo is baroque in style, but its baptistery contains a font of 1206 with reliefs. Chiavenna has cotton factories and breweries, and is a depot for the wine of the district.