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Chivasso, Province of Torino, Piedmont

An important industrial center 23 km northwest of Turin in the southern Canavese area, the town is also one of the key railway stations in the province and an important communication center between Milan and Turin, also thanks to its position at the junction of the three provinces of Torino, Vercelli and Asti. In the vicinity there are the beautiful forest of the Bosco del Vaj, a natural reservoir with a spring of sulphurous water. Chivasso is situated a little distance from the Po river, which divides the urban center from its hills.

Info

  • Altitude: 183 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 25,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 10034
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 011
  • Patron Saint: Blessed Angelo Carletti, a Franciscan from Chivasso well known as the author of the Summa Angelica, a kind of manual for confessors.
  • Frazioni & Localities: Betlemme, Boschetto, Castelrosso, Mandria, Montegiove, Mosche, Pogliani, Pratoregio, Torassi

History - Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The ancient Roman name of Clavasium and the town's coat of arms consisting of 2 keys, a white key against a red background and a red key against a white background points to its key position between the Roman province of Gallia and Lombardy. Also in the Middle Ages it was the last stop along the Via Francigena, leading from Rome into France.

Two milestones found in the place date its origin to the fourth century AD, though the first historical mention is in a document by Emperor Lotarius I of 843 AD, where the town appears as Clavasium. In 1164 the village was given as fiefdom to the Monferrato marquis, who realizing the strategic position of the small town, at the time a fishermen' river borough, and built here a powerful castle. In the 14th century prince Teodoro I established a mint, and his descendant Teodoro II strengthened the wall and started two wide ditches, called "Cerche", and a number of canals to improve the cultivation of the surrounding fields.

History - Modern Times

In 1435 Chivasso passed under the rule of the Savoy House, and was at the time a flourishing market and crafts center, with renowned schools of wood-carvers, painters as Giovan Martino Spanzotti and Defendente Ferrari, as well as one of the earliest printing press in Italy.

In 1705 the town resisted the siege of the French invaders enough to allow to Turin, the capital of the Savoy Dukedom, to get ready to the invasion. In the late 18th century the royal territory called Mandria was used as an important horse breeding center.

In the mid-19th century after the introduction of the railway system Chivasso became an important railway junction point, and its commercial growth was accompanied by important architectural works, such as the Canale Cavour, and in 1870 a majestic bridge over the Po river was inaugurated.

What to see

  • The Cathedral, in the gothic style, built in 1415. Inside a 15th century statue of the Virgin Mary, and a fine colored terracotta group of a Pietà consisting of 8 figures and a16th century canvas representing a "Deposition of the Cross" by Defendente Ferrari.
  • An ancient medieval tower, the only extant remain of the fortress built in the 11th century by the Monferrato Marquis.
  • In the piazza d'Armi, the fine 18th century Palazzo Tesio, with an elegant facade in bricks.