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History of Cavaion

Ultima modifica 14 February 2019

The first traces of human attendance in the territory of Cavaion Veronese are from the Middle Paleolithic with the remains of lithic artifacts from the Mousterian period found on Mount San Michele (from 45,000 to 35,000 years BC).

But the first settlement, of huts and some stilt houses, dating back to the Bronze Age – and of which traces remain and noteworthy archaeological finds preserved today at the Archaeological Museum in the Town Hall – is the one near the pond of  Ca’Nova, at the foot of the current country.

They lived dedicating life to hunting, breeding and to a modest form of agriculture and some forms of exchange and trade with the lake-dwelling villages of Garda and its hinterland. This settlement was abandoned perhaps even before the Iron Age (1000 – 200 B.C.), while settlements enclosed by dry walls made up of huts and dry stones, stood on top of the wooded hills of the area.

In the VII century B.C. there were probably contacts with the Etruscans, while in the IV century B.C. these villages were subjugated by Celtic populations (Galli Boi and Cenomani). The Roman occupation, completed around the I century a.C., brought considerable changes to the ethnic and territorial fabric of Cavaion. The Roman settlements first located above the castles, in strategic positions easily defensible, then were also built villas-farms that, through the development of agriculture, radically changed the landscape of the area. With the fall of the Roman Empire, in 476 AD, a period of peace and prosperity ended, already compromised in recent times by invasions and raids by barbarians; around 493 d.C. the Ostrogoths settled who built military garrisons taking advantage of the previous Roman settlements, while in 568 there was the invasion of the Lombards that coincided with a certain administrative reorganization of the Garda territory and the completion of the Christianization of the lake inland started by San Zeno in the fourth century .

In 774 d.C. the Frankish domination of Charlemagne began; the overall conditions of life of the population improved, even if there were the appearance of large feudal estates at the expense of small properties; trade was born and crafts developed. In 899, under the reign of Berengario I the defenses were strengthened and the Tower (now annexed to Villa Trabucchi) was built to defend against the Hungarian raids (899-924).

The name of the village of Cavaion appears for the first time on documents dated 1130 as ‘Caput Leonis’ and as ‘Capalionis’ with the meaning of ‘Lion’s head’, perhaps to indicate a fortified place, placed as high as the Longobard Bastia. In the following centuries Cavaion passed under the rule of the Scaligeri (1277) for over a century, then for almost four centuries, starting from 1405, under the rule of the Venetian Republic; the practice of pastoralism decreased and the cultivation of vines and olives increased. To remember the plague of 1630 which decimated 49% of the population (268 inhabitants out of 545). In the eighteenth century the territory was affected by theft and damage during the passage of Spanish, German and French troops.

With the end of the Serenissima in 1797 Cavaion is part of the province of Verona, subject to Austria, until 1801 when it was incorporated into the Cisalpine Republic and in 1814 the whole territory came under Austrian rule. In 1818 Cavaion returned to being a single municipality until the annexation to Italy in 1866. During the Risorgimento, in the First War of Independence, Cavaion was affected by some battles and passes by Austrian and Piedmontese troops.

Bibliography: Maurizio Delibori