Due to its geographically strategic position, with the regions of Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige just a short distance away and other large Brescia valleys within easy reach, Valle Sabbia still continues its past tradition of trading between the different communities.
The numerous streams and particularly the Chiese river have encouraged settlements since ancient times: a clear example is the remains of the village of the Rhaetian tribe on the hill of Castel Antico in Idro, which was inhabited up until the 3rd Century AD, even after the Romans conquered the territory. It was actually the Romans who contributed to the formation of new settlements also in other areas of the valley; small centres which witnessed a succession of historical events, from the fall of the Roman Empire to the spread of Christianity, up until the barbaric invasions.
The subsequent arrival of the Longobards and the Franks changed the dynamics of the settlements over time, eventually linking the valley to the city. Centuries later, the territory became dominion of the Republic of Venice; in this period some towns united in the ‘Communitas Vallis Sabiae’ and, in the fifteenth century, the fortress ‘Rocca d’Anfo’ was built, which rose where the state border was at the time.
Subsequently, the French took control of the territory, marking a new age for the valley and leaving evidence of their occupation such as the renovation of the fortress commissioned by General François De Chasseloup-Lau and ordered by Napoleon Bonaparte. The historical events that followed, from the Unification of Italy to the World Wars, also impacted these territories and influenced the valley’s economy.
Iron manufacture has been one of the main activities to date: we find traces of the first forges as early as in 1200, until excellence on a national level has been reached since the Sixties. Furthermore, textile centres arose in the municipalities of Roè Volciano, Villanuova sul Clisi and Gavarda in the second half of the nineteenth century, making use of the abundance of water.