Thu 30°C

THE SPLENDOUR OF TREMONA

The Early Medieval Period

From the fifth to the seventh century AD the climate in Europe became harsher, with higher rainfall,
greater humidity and lower temperatures. The economic system of the ancient estates, the agricultural
holdings that formed the basis of the Roman economy, went into crisis. Many villages disappeared, and with
them the hill-top settlements built for defensive purposes. Most of the small clusters of houses were moved
to an altitude of between 300 and 600m above sea level. Tremona, which covered an area of around 4,200m2
at 640m above sea level, followed this trend identified by historians and archaeologists.

The rebirth of Tremona

The Roman buildings (we must assume they existed, although no trace remains of them today), were
reoccupied, rebuilt and used as workshops or warehouses. The settlement grew around a principal brick-built
building which served a religious purpose - the “church” - built in a commanding position at the centre
of the settlement. Tremona was part of the “Contado del Seprio” and for a long time maintained its strategic
importance as a crucial hub and observation point along the most important roads connecting Milan and
Novara to Como, as well as the routes that led from the passes of San Gottardo, Lucomagno and San Bernardino.

Tremona at its height

Although Tremona never played a major part in history, it was at its greatest between the tenth and twelfth
centuries. A proper village grew up on the existing early medieval site, with three terracings and distinctive
city walls built in two phases. Tremona became a castrum, a fortified camp or fortress. A total of 51
different buildings have been discovered by archaeologists in the various excavation sites: in addition
to the “church”, these include a square-based watchtower, dwellings, storehouses, workshops and forges.