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Bormio and the Alta Valtellina, thanks to their location in the heart of the Alps, are at strategic points on the routes between the North and South of Europe, where for centuries have passed merchants and the military. Due to this strategic location, Bormio and its districts were able to maintain for a long time, a certain amount of independence and wealth, as is attested by the civil and religious historic buildings which were built over the centuries in Bormio and the nearby valleys.
The square of the Kuerc, the heart of Bormio
Bormio is rich in history and art, in both its religious and civil buildings. The town square Piazza Cavour is the pulsating heart of Bormio, at the center of which stands out the Kuerc, where at one time, justice was administered. Behind, there is the Tower of the Hours where in times past rang the Bajona, the great bell used to warn Bormio’s population, and those in the nearby valleys, in case of danger.
On the square, is prominently display the Palazzo del Podestà, seat of the courts and prisons, and the Cortivo, the ancient palace where the public assembly met at the time when Bormio’s districts were important. The square is connected to the district of Combo, once the agricultural part of Bormio, by the bridge of Combo (XIV century), one of very few in the Valtellina having the form of an arc. In the Middle Ages, the bridge of Combo was the only way to the cross the stream Frodolfo. And lastly, there is the Salacrist Mill, from the XII century, in which the hopper, grinders, wheel, and buratto are still perfectly functional.
Little jewels in the valleys
To guard the valley, high in the Valdidentro, are themedieval Towers of Fraele, constructed in order to protect the road to Bormio from possible hordes of invaders. The Val di Fraele is also known for its two dams, Cancano and S. Giacomo, both built between the forties and fifties.
To protect Valdisotto, on the other hand, is the military fort of Oga Venini. It was erected between 1908 and 1914 to defend the main alpine passes entering the Alta Valtellina, and it looks toward the trenches of the Stelvio Pass.
TheValfurva, along all its length, is studded with beautiful houses and and mountain huts (baite), constructed in wood and stone, which provide a reminder of the ancient village farm houses. In S. Caterina Valfurva, a small building at the base of the Cevedale ski run, commemorates the old pavilion, where during nineteenth century flowed the Akua Forta spring, a sulfurous water impregnated with iron and with a slightly sour and spicy flavor.