Valtellina

Valtellina

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Valtellina or the Valtelline valley
Valley
In geology, a valley or dale is a depression with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river valley may be called a canyon or gorge.The terms U-shaped and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography to characterize the form of valleys...

 (occasionally spelled as two words in English: Val Telline); is a valley in the Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

 region of northern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, bordering Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. Today it is known for its skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

, its hot spring
Hot spring
A hot spring is a spring that is produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater from the Earth's crust. There are geothermal hot springs in many locations all over the crust of the earth.-Definitions:...

 spas, its cheese
Cheese
Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms....

s (in particular Bitto
Bitto
-Plot:This story revovles around a innocent girl with a life full of hardships....

, named after the torrent Bitto) and its wines. In past centuries it was a key alpine
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 pass between northern Italy and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and control of the Valtelline was much sought after, particularly during the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

.

Geography


The most important comune
Comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

 of the valley is Sondrio
Sondrio
Sondrio is an Italian town and comune located in the heart of the Valtellina. Sondrio counts approximately 22,000 inhabitants and it is the administrative centre for the Lombard Province of Sondrio.- History :...

; the others major centers are Aprica
Aprica
Aprica is a town and comune in the province of Sondrio, Lombardy, northern Italy. It is located on the eponymous pass, the most favourable one connecting Valtellina to Val Camonica.Its main activity is winter tourism.-External links:* * *...

, Morbegno
Morbegno
Morbegno is a little town in the low Valtellina Valley in Italy, on the left side of the Adda river. It is part of the province of Sondrio of Lombardy. In 2007, Morbegno started a project to become a leader in sustainability, by involving the population in a participatory design process,...

, Tirano
Tirano
Tirano is a town in Valtellina, located in the province of Sondrio, Northern Italy. It has about 9,044 inhabitants and is adjacent to the Switzerland-Italy boundary. The river Adda flows through the town....

, Bormio
Bormio
Bormio is a town and comune located in the province of Sondrio, Lombardy region of the Alps in northern Italy. It has a population of 4,200...

 and Livigno
Livigno
Livigno is a town and comune in the province of Sondrio, in the region of Lombardy, Italy, located in the Italian Alps.- Geography :Livigno is located 1,816 metres above sea level. Livigno's main river is called Aqua Granda or Spöl. Trepalle, a frazione in the municipality of Livigno, is...

. Although Livigno is on the northern side of the alpine watershed
Water divide
A drainage divide, water divide, divide or watershed is the line separating neighbouring drainage basins...

, it is considered part of Valtellina as it falls within the province of Sondrio
Province of Sondrio
The Province of Sondrio is in the Lombardy region of Italy. Its capital is the town of Sondrio.It has an area of 3,212 km², and a total population of 176,856...

.

Political


During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the Valtellina belonged to Graubünden
Graubünden
Graubünden or Grisons is the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland. The canton shares borders with the cantons of Ticino, Uri, Glarus and St. Gallen and international borders with Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein...

 (the "Grey Leagues"), which was then a mutual-defense region independent of Switzerland but is now the easternmost Swiss Canton. Graubünden is an area in which German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, Romansh, Lombard and Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 are all spoken, and hence during 16th century rule by Graubünden, the region became known variously as Veltlin, Westtirol (West Tyrol
County of Tyrol
The County of Tyrol, Princely County from 1504, was a State of the Holy Roman Empire, from 1814 a province of the Austrian Empire and from 1867 a Cisleithanian crown land of Austria-Hungary...

), and the Welsche Vogteien ("Foreign Bailiwicks"). During the Thirty Years War, the Valtellina was a theater of intense military and diplomatic struggle among France, the Hapsburg powers and the local authorities. At stake was control of the routes through the Valtellina territory to the passes between Lombardy and the Danube watershed.

In 1797 the growing power of the First French Republic created the Cisalpine republic
Cisalpine Republic
The Cisalpine Republic was a French client republic in Northern Italy that lasted from 1797 to 1802.-Birth:After the Battle of Lodi in May 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte proceeded to organize two states: one to the south of the Po River, the Cispadane Republic, and one to the north, the Transpadane...

 in Northern Italy. On 10 October 1797, the French supported a revolt in the Valtellina against the Graubünden
Graubünden
Graubünden or Grisons is the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland. The canton shares borders with the cantons of Ticino, Uri, Glarus and St. Gallen and international borders with Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein...

 (Grisons in French), and it joined the Cisalpine Republic
Cisalpine Republic
The Cisalpine Republic was a French client republic in Northern Italy that lasted from 1797 to 1802.-Birth:After the Battle of Lodi in May 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte proceeded to organize two states: one to the south of the Po River, the Cispadane Republic, and one to the north, the Transpadane...

.

Industrial


Industrially, the area is famous as the home of the world's first mainline electrified railway
Railway electrification system
A railway electrification system supplies electrical energy to railway locomotives and multiple units as well as trams so that they can operate without having an on-board prime mover. There are several different electrification systems in use throughout the world...

. The electrification of the Valtellina line took place in 1902, using three-phase
Three-phase
In electrical engineering, three-phase electric power systems have at least three conductors carrying voltage waveforms that are radians offset in time...

 power at 3,600 V, with a maximum speed of 70 km/h. The system was designed by the brilliant Hungarian engineer Kálmán Kandó
Kálmán Kandó
Kálmán Kandó de Egerfarmos et Sztregova was a Hungarian engineer, and a pioneer in the development of electric railway traction.-Education:...

 who was employed by main contractors the Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

-based Ganz
Ganz
The Ganz electric works in Budapest is probably best known for the manufacture of tramcars, but was also a pioneer in the application of three-phase alternating current to electric railways. Ganz also made / makes: ships , bridge steel structures , high voltage equipment...

 company.

Culture and language


In the region north of Morbegno in the Costiera dei Cech live a cultural group believed to descend from an 8th century Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 invasion of Italy. The area was originally a mix of Romansch and Lombard Language. Now only Italian and Lombard are spoken.


Mussolini's last stand


During the last months of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 and other diehard fascist leaders of the Italian Social Republic
Italian Social Republic
The Italian Social Republic was a puppet state of Nazi Germany led by the "Duce of the Nation" and "Minister of Foreign Affairs" Benito Mussolini and his Republican Fascist Party. The RSI exercised nominal sovereignty in northern Italy but was largely dependent on the Wehrmacht to maintain control...

 (RSI) proposed making a "last stand" against the advancing Allied armies in the Valtellina. The Fascist Party secretary Alessandro Pavolini
Alessandro Pavolini
Alessandro Pavolini was an Italian politician, journalist, and essayist, notable for his involvement in the Fascist government during World War II and also for his cruelty against the opponents of fascism....

 was the main proponent of the idea, which he first raised with Mussolini in September 1944. He pointed out that the valley was ringed with fortifications dating from World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, and had its own electricity generating capacity. In the last months of 1944 Mussolini's government began moving munitions and food stores to the area. By January 1945, however, no firm decision to make a stand in the Valtellina had been taken. The Germans
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, represented by Ambassador Rudolf Rahn, were opposed to the idea. In March, with the Allies advancing into the Po
Po River
The Po |Ligurian]]: Bodincus or Bodencus) is a river that flows either or – considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary – eastward across northern Italy, from a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face...

 valley, Mussolini's Cabinet again discussed the idea. The RSI's military commander, Marshal Rodolfo Graziani
Rodolfo Graziani
Rodolfo Graziani, 1st Marquis of Neghelli , was an officer in the Italian Regio Esercito who led military expeditions in Africa before and during World War II.-Rise to prominence:...

, who believed the war was already lost, opposed the plan. This ensured that no serious military preparations were made. In early April Pavolini again raised the plan, which he called "the Epic of the 50,000," claiming that 50,000 Blackshirts would follow Mussolini if he made a stand in the Valtellina. The Germans, who by this time were negotiating with the Allies to surrender their armies in Italy, remained adamantly opposed. Filippo Anfuso
Filippo Anfuso
Filippo Anfuso was an Italian writer, diplomat and Fascist politician.Anfuso was born in Catania. His writing career started with a volume of short stories and poetry he published in 1917. Anfuso subsequently joined as a reporter with the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio in his attempt to seize Fiume for...

, the RSI's under-secretary for foreign affairs, pointed out that valley was already mostly in the hands of the partisans. By mid April, the Valtellina plan was no longer a realistic possibility. Although Mussolini continued to fantasise about dying a heroic death there, the plan had no serious support. When Mussolini left Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 on 25 April, heading north, it was assumed he was going to the Valtellina, but his intentions were never made clear - he told some people he would go to Bolzano, in the province of Bolzano
South Tyrol
South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

, to join up with German forces. In any event Mussolini's capture on 27 April by the partisans at Dongo, barely short of the Valtellina, ended any possibility of a fascist last stand.

Wines



In Valtellina the wines are produced mainly by Chiavennasca (the local name of Nebbiolo grape variety). Generally the quality of the wine is high, and most wines have the appellation
Appellation
An appellation is a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown; other types of food often have appellations as well...

 DOC
Denominazione di Origine Controllata
Denominazione di origine controllata is a quality assurance label for food products, especially wines and various formaggi . It is modelled after the French AOC...

 and DOCG. The most well-known villages for red wines are: Inferno, Grumello
Grumello
Grumello is the name of two Italian towns:* Grumello Cremonese ed Uniti in the province of Cremona* Grumello del Monte in the province of BergamoGrumello may also be:* Grumello a type of wine from Valtellina...

, Sassella, Valgella, and Maroggia
Maroggia
Maroggia is a municipality in the district of Lugano in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland.-History:Maroggia is first mentioned around 962-966 as Marogia....

. Sforzato (Sfurzat) is made in the Amarone style.

Val Poschiavo


In the lower part of the Val Poschiavo, the valley in the Graubünden canton of Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 that descends into the Valtellina at Tirano, similar wines are produced - but under different regulations such as appellation
Appellation
An appellation is a legally defined and protected geographical indication used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown; other types of food often have appellations as well...

 and the allowance of sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

 addition, or chaptalization
Chaptalization
Chaptalization is the process of adding sugar to unfermented grape must in order to increase the alcohol content after fermentation. The technique is named after its developer, the French chemist Jean-Antoine-Claude Chaptal...

.

Notable people


Born in Valtellina:
  • Achille Compagnoni
    Achille Compagnoni
    Achille Compagnoni was an Italian mountaineer. Together with Lino Lacedelli, on 31 July 1954 he was the first man to reach the summit of K2.-Biography:...

     (Mountaineer)
  • Deborah Compagnoni
    Deborah Compagnoni
    Deborah Compagnoni is an Italian former Alpine skier who won three gold medals at the 1992, 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics.-Career:Deborah Compagnoni was born in Bormio, northern Lombardy....

     (Alpine skier)
  • Fabio Meraldi
    Fabio Meraldi
    Fabio Meraldi is an Italian ski mountaineer and mountain guide.Meraldi was born in Valtellina. He passed the mountain guide training at the age of 20, and participated in various mountain tours, sky running and ski mountaineering events. He collected four European titles and nine Italian titles...

     (Ski mountaineer)
  • Giuseppe Piazzi
    Giuseppe Piazzi
    Giuseppe Piazzi was an Italian Catholic priest of the Theatine order, mathematician, and astronomer. He was born in Ponte in Valtellina, and died in Naples. He established an observatory at Palermo, now the Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo – Giuseppe S...

     (Priest, mathematician and astronomer)
  • Giulio Tremonti
    Giulio Tremonti
    Giulio Tremonti is an Italian politician. He served in the government of Italy as Minister of Economy and Finance under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from 1994 to 1995, from 2001 to 2004, from 2005 to 2006, and from 2008 to 2011....

    (Politician)

External links