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Val Bregaglia

Val Bregaglia Introduction

The Val Bregaglia (an Italian word) is a valley located in Italy and Switzerland at the foot of which runs the river of Mera (also spelled as Maira). It starts at the Maloja Pass, which links it to the valley of Engadin), and then it stretches on westwards to Chiavenna a little bit after which the river of Mera connects with the Liro and then flows south to Lake Como. From Chiavenna all the way to Maloja, a distance of roughly 30 KM, the valley goes up to about 1,500 m. Much of the valley is within the Maloja district in Switzerland, which is in the Graubunden canton, and the lower part is in Sondrio, which is an Italian province.

The Bregaglia Range is the mountain range that sits to the valley’s south. Interestingly, it is just this valley in the entire continent of Europe where the sources of three major basins (which flow out to different seas) have their beginning: the Rhine (which goes to the North Sea), the Inn (which goes to the Black Sea), and the Po River (which runs to the Adriatic Sea). 

This important valley includes the former municipalities of Castasegna, Soglio, Bondo, Stampa, and Vicosoprano. Castasegna has been consolidated into the Bregaglia municipality. It also consists of the Italian municipalities of Chiavenna, Piruo, and Villa di Chiavenna. 

There are three hydroelectric power plants operated there, and EWZ operates them. They are located in the valley at Castasegna, Bondo, and Vicosoprano. The hydroelectric project located Vicosoprano was created by daming up the Albigna river, creating Lake Albigna. It is situated about 1000 m above the village and set back, and the site can be gotten to through an aerial tramway that is operated by the company. 

The Swiss portion of the valley has people living there who are the descendants of Protestants from Italy who arrived in Switzerland in the mid-1500s to flee persecution by the Spanish Inquisition, and right now about three-quarters of the residents are Protestant. The dialect spoken there is a type of Lombard that is similar to Romansh dialects from neighboring areas. 

The valley gets its name from the Alpine tribe that used to inhabit it before the Romans arrived. The tribe was called the Bergalei. 

This valley has an interesting history, and you can learn a lot about the history of the Spanish Inquisition, persecution by the church, and the pre-Roman tribe that used to inhabit. However, you will have to visit it and talk to the people for yourself. That is the best way to learn about it.

Val Bregaglia Photo Gallery

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