History of Brinzio

It is said that Brinzio was founded around the year 800 AD by a group of shepherds moving away from the neighboring village of Castello Cabiaglio (which at that time numbered some 750 inhabitants and was quite important for the whole region). Legend suggests however that the colonization of the Brinziese valley (which was noted to be a very inhospitable area, darkly wooded, swampy and infested with wild animals) is much older: proofs of this are the archaeological finds including tools and the remains of hearths of prehistoric times. In evidence of the longevity of a settlement at Brinzio there have been other archaeological finds including a bronze key, some coins with the face of Emperor Commodus (161-192 AD), vessels and other objects. A key found near Brinzio thought to be medieval (available at the Civic Museum of Varese)
To find the first written mention of Brinzio we must make a leap forward in time to 979 AD and a contract of sale for of land in the Sacro Monte region of Varese, where the beneficiary was a Bonifredo de loco Brenci. We also know that during this time the village is governed politically by two consuls for a yearly term, they are assisted by a council (the so-called "Vicinia", an assembly of heads of families) and presided over by a dean.
The reconstruction of the history of the village is made difficult by the lack of documents that leave gaps in the chronology.  We know, however, that in 1487 the system of local government was still the one just described, and would remain so until the eighteenth century when the state of Milan issued regulations to eliminate the diversity in local government: Ultimate local authority is given to a chancellor, who notes the role of the consuls, but it is still supported by the "Vicinia". A document of 1751 mentions the first Brinziese chancellor: Carlo Antonio Piccinelli.
At this time the inhabitants are less than 300 and live more or less in poverty: the local economy is based on timber sales, but many are forced to emigrate to find work.Between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the country sees several changes of rule: the rise of Napoleon sees Brinzio submit to the jurisdiction of the Cisalpine Republic, before returning under the control of the Habsburgs after the Congress of Vienna.
The nineteenth century celebrates the unification of Italy in 1859 and, as noted in the memoirs of the "red shirt" Giuseppe Monico, even the hero of two worlds Giuseppe Garibaldi, who was marching toward Varese to fight the battle of Biume, stopped in Brinzio at a tavern located near the present Piazza Galvaligi. Shortly after Lombardy enters the domain of Savoia which in 1861 would become the Kingdom of Italy. In early 1860 Brinzio votes to elect the first council and of about 78 are entitled to vote 43 elect 15 councilors, including the King and Mayor Pietro Vanini, who had already held positions in the Habsburg era. He would remain in office until 1875. At that time the village made the headlines for the The Walnut Tree of Brinzioremoval of a majestic walnut tree (36 m high, trunk diameter 8.20 m, crown diameter 185 m) growing south-west of the town. It was such a senseless resolution of the conflict between the various owners who contended the proceeds of the plant as the walnut tree was healthy and very fruitful. Meanwhile there was news of a Royal Decree in 1898 which established that the Mayor was no longer in the position as King, but now reported directly to the city council.
This new mechanism, on July 22 1899, led to the election of a new mayor prof. Daniele Piccinelli, he was an enterprising man who would head the town hall for almost twenty years.  Among his major projects were; the opening of a night school for children up to 14 years, housed in the town hall, and a feasibility study (fortunately never translated into practice) to drain the lake and recover farmlands.  Of course the biggest success was the total reconstruction of the bell tower of the parish church, completed in 1903.  At the sitting of the city council on the 28 May 1905 it was even proposal to connect the village to the Varesine Tram, but unfortunately no action was taken and the village did not benefit from the tourist boom that was spreading in the Varese area in the early decades of the twentieth century.
In 1905 electricity arrived in the village and in 1914 the first bus service from Fogliaro to Orino via Brinzio started and the first pay phone was also installed in the town hall the same year. The following year The Great War broke out and Italy would play its part.  In 1915 many Brinzio citizens were called to arms to fight for their country and 22 of them would never return.  The horrors of the conflict did not touch the village where daily life continued without major changes until 1929. During the height of this fascist period the current City Hall is built including the elementary school, post office and doctor's surgery. Also at this time the road is extended to nearby Varese, which in 1927 had become the capital of the province, freeing itself from Como. During World War II three villagers tragically died but once again Brinzio was not directly touched by the conflict and became a safe haven for hundreds of displaced people from the big cities, especially Milan but also from further afield. Among those who found refuge in Brinzio there were two Jewish girls who, thanks to the good heart and discretion of the mayor and villagers, were saved from the horror of deportation.
It is said that in 1945 even the Duce Benito Mussolini, who was ready to flee to Switzerland, spent the night in disguise in Brinzio.  The Kingdom of Italy in the meantime is "migrated south": the north of the peninsula is subject to the Italian Social Republic or Republic of Salò. In January 1945 Francesco Parini become mayor, appointed special commissioner however he stepped down on April 25, the day the partisans occupied the town hall. On June 2 1946, there was the referendum on the institutional form of the State and in contrast with the national result; the monarchy won 216 votes against 96 for the republic.
The village returned to the quiet routine of daily life and in 1947 there were the first rudimentary experiments atThe Lake in 1929 preparing the ski slopes and in Pardòm in particular this proved to be a great success. In 1951 Brinzio is included on the route for the world road cycling championships held in Varese and won by Swiss sprinter Ferdi Kubler. Other significant post war events include; in the spring of 1964 the sighting of a brown bear in the woods north of the village and the following summer extensive fires destroyed large wooded areas around Brinzio. On January 6, 1968, the journalist and musician Tonino Piccinelli founded the Choir Valmolina, which for a short period would become the pride of the village, but is sadly short lived due to the premature death of its founder in 1973. On July 5 1970 Dr. Mario Mauri becomes mayor and in the same year, on November 28, the Pro Brinzio association was started with the task of promoting the development of tourism in the community. A month later the Ski Club "Sette Termini" was founded and this later became known as "Sci Club Brinzio". In 1975 the Public Library was established and initially located in a room in the Town Hall.
In the 70s various controversies shake the quiet life in Brinzio. In 1973 the porphyry quarry opens and is active for about twenty years on Monte Martica, this is a blot on the surrounding mountains and has a serious impact on the environment: it is observed that rainfall causes leaching of the bare rock stripped by mining allowing debris to flow into the lake at Brinzio. In spite of the protests the quarry continued to operate until 1993 when it was finally abandoned, which significantly benefitted the local landscape. In 1974 a new concern is raised in the community: plans begin for the establishment of a Regional Natural Park for the protection of the mountain massif of Campo dei Fiori and Monte Martica.  At the head of the initiative is the well-known meteorologist Salvatore Furia. It is rumored, however, that such an enterprise could block agricultural activities in the villages involved.
The cross country ski trackIn the early 80s, after a number of experiments over previous years, the cross country ski centre is permanently opened. This was initially managed by "Sci Nordico Varese" until 1987 when the "Centro Fondo Brinzio" was started. On December 31 1980 however fatal news shakes the village: in Rome the Red Brigades kill the Carabinieri General Enrico Riziero Galvaligi. The general, a colleague of Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, was a former partisan who took refuge in Brinzio during World War II. It was in Brinzio he met his wife Federica, displaced from Bologna and after the war he maintained strong ties with the village and returned often in summer and at every possible opportunity. This explains the great emotion with which the entire population participated in the solemn funeral, celebrated on January 4 1981 in the parish church and presided over by the bishop of Como Teresio Ferraroni. The square outside the church is now named after the general and there is a monument there in his honor. From 1983 on there are many noteworthy events; in 1986, the first "Rural Life" (Civiltà Contadina) cultural event was held designed to revive the traditions of the village and born from the first exhibitions of 1983 and 1984, it was later renamed "Brinzio in Cornice" and was held without interruption until 2011.
The twentieth century comes to an end with the restoring of the eighteenth century chapel of the Addolorata. The space behind the Town Hall became the town park "Tonino Piccinelli" and the Wild Land sports arena is opened right on the slopes Campo dei Fiori. In the early years of the third millennium the bell tower of the church of St Peter and St Paul is restored and in 2006 a new headquarters for the municipal library in the former Town Hall Square Galvaligi is opened.  But above all in 2008, when the world road cycling championships returned to the village, the Museum of Rural Culture Prealpina was inaugurated, with the aim of gathering historical memories of daily village life. Finally, on May 4 2013, the village was twinned with the French town of Chaux, in Franche-Comte.