Rovereto - Encyclopedia

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ROVERETO, the most important industrial town in the southern or Italian-speaking portion of the Austrian province of Tirol, though its population (which in 1900 was io, r 80, Italian-speaking and Romanist) is less than that of Trent. It is also the principal town of the administrative district of Rovereto. Built on the left bank of the Adige, in the widest portion of the Val Lagarina (the name given to the Adige valley from Acquaviva, above Rovereto, to the Italian frontier), it is divided into two parts by the Leno torrent. It is on the Brenner railway, by which it is 15m. S.W. of Trent and 412 m. N. of Verona. Save in the newer quarter of the town, the streets are narrow and crooked, several being named after the most distinguished native of the place, Antonio Rosmini-Serbati. The finest church is that of Santa Maria del Carmine, the old 14th-century church now serving as a sacristy to that built from 1678 to 1750. The church of San Marco dates from the 15th century. The town is dominated by the castle (now used as barracks), which was reconstructed in 1492 by the Venetians, after it had been burnt in 1487 by the count of Tirol. The staple silk industry (which dates from the 16th century) has declined, the number both of filande (establishments wherein the cocoons are unwound) and of filatoje (those wherein the silk is spun) having diminished.

In 1132 the emperor Lothair found the passage of the gorge above the site of the town barred by a castle, which he took and gave to one of his Teutonic followers, the ancestor of the Castelbarco family. Towards the middle of the 13th century that family obtained by marriage the lands of the Lizzana family (whose castle rises S. of the town), and in 1300 practically founded the town and surrounded it with walls. In 1416 it was taken by the Venetians, who in 1487 successfully resisted, at Calliano, an attempt to take it made by the count of Tirol and the bishop of Trent. In 1509, at the outset of the war of the League of Cambray, the town gave itself voluntarily to the emperor Maximilian, to whom it was ceded formally by Venice in 1517, and next year incorporated with Tirol. South of Rovereto is the village of Marco, near which are certain natural remains (either those of a landslip that occurred in 883, or of a glacier moraine) believed to have been described by Dante (Inf. xii. 4-9), who is said to have spent part of the year 1304, during his exile from Florence, in the castle of Lizzana, between Marco and Rovereto. (W. A. B. C.)

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