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12 - Campodolcino ( 1104 m A.M.S.L )

Its name surfaces for the first time in 1186 and indicates an area of level ground following the rocky nature of the valley to the south.

At one time it served as the principal town of the area, due partly to the hydrotherapeutic treatments it offered during the last century (19th); today it´s a popular tourist resort both in summer and winter. It´s here in Campodolcino that MUVIS - the museum of the Via Spluga and Val San Gioacomo is situated.

Just to the north of the Parish and spanning the Rabbiosa torrent is the so-called ´Roman bridge´ with its two arches - rebuilt in the 17th century.

It´s believed that Portarezza was once the site of a Roman church, whilst today it hosts the church dedicated to San Gregorio Taumaturgo, (the Healer) dating from 1737.



Opening hours 2018

From 09th to 15th June and from 11th September to 21st October

Opened every day from  9.30 to 12.30. Closed on Monday

On Saturday opened from 9.30 to 12.30 and from 16 tot 18

 

From 16th June till 10th September 

Every day opened


Opened  from  9.30 to 12.30 and from 16 to 18.


On Monday from 9.30 to 12.30


Mu.Vi.S. -Museo della Via Spluga e della Val San Giacomo, Campodolcino
MUVIS was established on the basis of a ‘legacy’, drawn up in 1786 by the Abbot Foppoli, who bequeathed his entire property including the Palazz (now hosting the museum itself) to a Consortium of the communities of Corti and Acero in Campodolcino, with a view to becoming utilities available for public usage (civium commodis).
 
MUVIS aims to bear witness to – and preserve as a record for posterity – the history and civil exploits of the municipalities of Val San Giacomo (known today as the Valle Spluga) and of the international and historic Via Spluga. MUVIS is committed to the collection, preservation, exhibition and promotion of objects and documents incorporating elements physical, naturalistic, anthropological, historical and artistic, and in the organisation of their didactic dissemination. 
 
Entering the Museum is like taking a trip back in time: exhibits relate the story of lives of sacrifice which clearly hardened the people subject to them, existing with extraordinary dedication in the lee of the nearby mountains, having chosen compromise as the means of eking out a living at barely subsistence level.
 
There are stories of workers, farmers, cattle raisers and craftsmen, but also those of women and children. Tales of migration way back in time (from the 16th century the locals set out to find work in the important port cities in Italy) and also further afield (from the 19th century onwards many families emigrated to America) or took up seasonal occupations which revolved around the rhythm of agriculture (in summer the men-folk would head to nearby Switzerland to work in hay-related activities), and in the distillation of grappa, an activity in which the local inhabitants excelled.
 
And then there was commerce involving the Via Spluga, a route which crossed the very heart of the Alps, representing the most direct link between Lombardy and northern Europe. MUVIS recounts stories of caravans of mules and horses, guided by local donkey owners, snaking along tortuous and daring routes, regularly suspended above seemingly bottomless ravines which would no doubt have induced enormous fears in the most hardened of travellers: like the Cardinello gorge and the Via Mala. Documents on display explain the commercial activities starting with the Ports, and the effective and lucrative system of local organisations which would manage the transport of goods by dividing routes into ‘obligatory’ sections controlled territorially. Local men would take turns in being responsible for the transportation of goods and in the maintenance of the actual mule-paths in line with ancient and established techniques, which would also involve keeping open the trail in wintertime.
 
Within the Museum you can also appreciate prints from the XVII, XVIII, and XIX centuries, dedicated to both the Via Spluga and the new ‘imperial’ commercial route, designed by the engineer Donegani (who was also responsible during this same period for the Stelvio route) which was taken up and established by the Austrians between 1818 and 1822. The engravings of Lose, Meyer and Calvert all portray a landscape of incredible beauty, dominated by enormous, craggy mountains, but which - the nearer you come to Chiavenna – abandon their harshness and seemingly make way for the sweet Italian air to come.
But MUVIS also tells of journeys undertaken by other travellers over the years: of poets, musicians, artists, writers, diplomats, generals, merchants and pilgrims of every type, many of whom would use their journals to record their adventures along the way and describe the emotions conjured up by ravine, peak or valley around which nature’s extraordinarily harsh elements would carry aesthetics almost to the level of the sublime.
 
Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus from Rotterdam, Mozart, the renowned Swiss writer Keller, the novelist Fontane, philosophers Nietzsche and Bakunin, Andersen, the physicist Einstein are just some of the characters who crossed the Spluga over the centuries; as men had fully 9000 years ago, who will be forever associated with our mountain region (MUVIS contains an exhibition devoted to the archaeological excavations of the Pian dei Cavalli which unearthed the oldest indications of Mesolithic man at the heart of the Alpine arc,) and how Celts, Romans and hordes of vandals left their mark too whilst heading for Rome, alongside ordinary travellers throughout history.
 
The Museum also serves as an excellent source of information on the artistic and architectural gems which feature along the length of the Via Spluga on both Italian and Swiss soil: the many Catholic churches, embellished with gifts from migrants over the centuries, and Romanesque protestant churches too, some of which boast a highly original beauty, like the church at Zillis, renowned for its painted wood-panelled ceiling dated back to the XII century. Noble mansions of local merchants, stretches of the old road which survived many a flood, bridges, and works of art dedicated to the region by artists of the calibre of Hackert, Towne, Hescher, Koch, Cozens and not least Turner, a great artist so taken that he devoted a good dozen of his watercolours to the route.
 
A visit to the Museum of the Via Spluga is not simply a means of getting to know the traditions and customs of an ancient Alpine valley but it’s a journey back into the political and commercial history of the entire Central Alps which for centuries have been inextricably linked to the greater European history itself. 
 
 



Hotels

Hotel Oriental
Tel. +039 034350014
Email: hoteloriental@libero.it
www.hoteloriental.com


Photos

 

 
viaSpluga - Consorzio per la promozione turistica della Valchiavenna
www.viaspluga.com - www.viaspluga.it - info@viaspluga.com

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