Province of Sondrio

Coordinates: 46°21′37″N 9°56′38″E / 46.3601976°N 9.9440002°E / 46.3601976; 9.9440002

Province of Sondrio

Map highlighting the location of the province of Sondrio in Italy
Country  Italy
Region Lombardy
Capital(s) Sondrio
Comuni 78
  President Luca della Bitta
  Total 3,195.76 km2 (1,233.89 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2016)
  Total 181,712
  Density 57/km2 (150/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Telephone prefix 0342, 0343
Vehicle registration SO
Terraced fields in Valtellina.

The Province of Sondrio (Italian: provincia di Sondrio; Romansh: provinza da Sunder) is in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. Its provincial capital is the town Sondrio. As of 2016, it has a population of 181,712. [1]


The Province was established in 1815, within the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, combining the valleys of Valtellina, Valchiavenna and Bormio.

Before the Roman conquest, the territory was inhabited by Celts (Lepontii) and Rhaetians (Camunni). The Romans included this area in their Cisalpine Gaul province.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it was settled by Germanic tribe the Lombards, and it was first ruled by feudal lords from the local area.[2] It fell under the rule of the Duchy of Milan due to the House of Visconti and House of Sforza. Sondrio and Valtellina were strategically important in the politics of Europe, especially in the sixteenth and 17th century religious wars, due to their connections to Europe by Sondrio's Spluga Pass and valleys. Upon the collapse of the Duchy of Milan, rule over Sondrio was exercised by the Swiss Canton of Graubünden. Valtellina was invaded in 1622 by the Spanish Governor of Milan as the valleys had been used to transport troops around Europe; the Spanish efforts were assisted by a 1620 revolt in Valtellina against the Swiss.[2]

The Peace of Westphalia (1648) secured peace in the region and granted the region to the Canton of Graubünden. In 1797, the Republic of Valtellina was formed but was quickly conquered by the French to become a component of the Cisalpine Republic client state. The Congress of Vienna (1815) Sondrio and Valtellina as a province of the Austrian Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia. Lombardy–Venetia was absorbed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.[2]


The Province of Sondrio is a mostly mountainous, sparsely populated area in the north of Lombardy. It borders on the Swiss canton of Graubünden to the north, the Provinces of Como and Lecco to the west, the Province of Bergamo to the south and the Provinces of Brescia, Trento and Bolzano to the east. The Rhaetian Alps are the highest mountains in Lombardy. The valleys mostly run from north to south, the main ones being the Valtellina and Valchiavenna. One of the main towns is Livigno (1,800 m above sea level), which is a tourist centre in the summer and a ski resort in the winter. There are 78 communes in the province and Sondrio is the biggest town and the administrative centre. The Stelvio National Park is located in the northern end of the province.[3]

The economy is based on construction, logging, quarrying, tourism and light industry. Workers from Switzerland commute to work in Sondrio, and other workers cross the border from Italy to join the Swiss workforce.[4] Throughout the province grapes have traditionally been grown, each district having its own local variety and producing its own local wine. It has been necessary for farmers to engineer terraces on the steep slopes, building dry stone retaining walls and moving earth to make the best use of terrain that is unsuitable for general agricultural purposes. The traditions of viticulture are embedded in the culture of the countryside.


  1. "Provincia di Sondrio". Tutt Italia. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 Roy Palmer Domenico (2002). The Regions of Italy: A Reference Guide to History and Culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 201–202. ISBN 978-0-313-30733-1.
  3. Roy Palmer Domenico (2002). The Regions of Italy: A Reference Guide to History and Culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-313-30733-1.
  4. Larsen, Christa; Hasberg, Ruth; Schmid, Alfons; Bittner, Marc; Clément, Franz (2011). Measuring Geographical Mobility in Regional Labour Market Monitoring: State of the Art and Perspectives. Rainer Hampp Verlag. p. 46. ISBN 978-3-86618-757-3.

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