The Magnificent Land. Bormio has always been known as the “Magnifica Terra”, a land with an ancient history which has shaped our culture since time immemorial.
Saying that the history of Bormio is thousands of years old is only the half of it. The earliest evidence dates back to the dark ages when groups of hunters would camp out in the high mountains during the summer months. The region became famous during the Roman era. Both Cassiodorus and Pliny the Elder mentioned Bormio's thermal springs, praising their therapeutic benefits.
By the 11th century, the town was thriving and very wealthy, including culturally, thanks to its strategic position in the centre of the Alps, at a crossroads of trading routes between northern and southern Europe. Although it was subject to foreign rule for long periods, Bormio always managed to maintain some sort of independence and autonomy. The 14th and 15th centuries were undoubtedly Bormio’s golden era, as the town boomed culturally and artistically, as reflected in its churches and palaces and the many fine works they contain.
In 1797, Bormio lost its autonomy and became part of the Napoleonic Cisalpine Republic, before later becoming part of the unified Italy. During World War I, Bormio and the area around the Stelvio was on the front line, a 40 km long front at an average altitude of 3000 m, the scene of much fierce fighting between Italian and Austrian soldiers. The remains of military camps and trenches and other wartime artefacts can still be seen and visited today. Since World War II, Bormio has seen a boom in tourism, helped by its wonderful setting which is perfect for both summer and winter holidays, as well as the famous spas.