According to some scholars, the Celtic toponym Par - first latinized and then turned into Parre over
centuries - means “high place”, whereas for others it means “big field”. Thanks to random findings
in 1983 and excavation works carried out from 1983 to 1994, Parre is now considered as “an
emblematic site of the Alpine world”
and the hypothesis that Parre is, in reality, Parra the Oppidum
Orobiorum - mentioned by Pliny in his “Naturalis Historia” regarding a Cato’s passage - is gaining
grounds. Indeed, there was a human settlement on the river terrace overlooking Ponte Nossa, from
the end of the Bronze Age to the late Roman Age. Moreover, the “Villa de Parre”, a ruralsettlement
in Parre, is also mentioned in a document of 928.
At the end of the 12th century
, after gainingindependence, the municipality - governedby two consuls
- was established. After experiencingthe consequences of civilstruggles and the alternation of various
Signorie (governing authorities during the Medieval and Renaissance periods), the upper Seriana
Valley (includingParre)sent its representativesto Venice to declare loyalty to theRepublic of Venice
and to ask for help and protection. The domination of the Republic of Venice, characterized by the
preservation of well-established institutions, ended in 1797 with the arrival of French troops. Neither
the following Austrian domination nor the Renaissance events upset Parre’s inhabitants, who always
showed “quiet general public spirit”.
For centuries Parre was a land of farmers and shepherds
, who brought their herds to the Oltrepò
Pavese and Piedmont in winter, and went through Vatellina and Poschiavina valleys in summer,
providing Gandino and other weaving factories in the valley with wool.
The town has preserved its characteristic division into two urban cores Parre Inferiore
or in dialect
(the lower part of Parre) and Parre Superiore
or Par Sura
(the upper one). The town then
expanded to include those areas once devoted to agriculture, such as Aghèr, Costa Erta, Campella,
and Valzella. Suggestive evidence, dating back to this period, is still visible in ancient houses with
massive stone walls, beautiful arcades, small windows, columns, and arches. These historical traces
can be seen, among others, in the Cominelli’s house - the cradle of Barons Belliboni, who later
became Princes Von Paarin
Austria - or in the ones nextto St. Cristopher’s arch orin Via Tiraboschi.
However, the most precious artistic treasures are preserved within the churches
, particularly in the
parish church dedicated to St. Peter and in the little Church of Saint Roch. The oratory of the Most
Holy Trinity on Mount Cüsen (16th-18th century) and that dedicated to St. Anthony on Mount Alino
are enchanting thanks to both the natural environment and the panorama.