Where Was I ?
October 30, 2009 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Name that town or city

About 15 years ago I was somewhere in France or Italy I believe and I was in a city.

I think it was south west or south of the Italian Lakes, (as in maybe a hundred kilometers from the Lakes) but that is just a recollection of a faint memory of looking at a map and thinking I might go there.

I was told that the river that runs through the city was once the border between France and some other country (the Austro-Hungarian Empire ?).

I recall light brown or tan stonework in a broad sweep of the river, but again it is a faint memory.

Any suggestions as to which place it might have been that I visited?
posted by Quillcards to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
Do you recall if the town was in the mountains?
posted by thirteenkiller at 2:02 PM on October 30, 2009

Can't help with the city, but according to this page, the Var River "was the former border between France and Italy (or to be precise kingdom of Piemont Sardinia)."
posted by soelo at 2:13 PM on October 30, 2009

The Ticino is a boundary between Piedmont (part of France under Napoleon) and Lombardy (part of Austria-Hungary at the same time).
posted by thirteenkiller at 2:23 PM on October 30, 2009

Response by poster: I don't recall whether it was in the mountains but I think the river was quite broad, which makes me think it was not. But it could have been set against a backdrop of higher ground - I don't recall.
posted by Quillcards at 2:23 PM on October 30, 2009

The Var and Ticino are both good suggestions -- but it's even possible that the river you have in mind was the Rhône, which was the easternmost boundary of France (or Francia, the Western Kingdom of the Franks) in the Middle Ages. France gradually took over what is now eastern Provence, which was a melange of papal holdings, duchies, autonomous cities, and so forth. The modern border wasn't really fixed until well past post-Napoleonic times and the unification of Italy. So you could have been quite a few different places that all, at one time, could have been "the" border of France, or the border of a French dependency.

The Var also has a problem in that it no longer flows where once it did.

I'm increasingly suspicious that your river may be the upper reaches of the Rhône, which was the border between France and the Kingdom of Sardinia when the latter held Savoy. Possibly also the Durance or the Isère, though I can't find when either has been an official border (I think the latter was the southern border of the Dauphiné Viennois, but that goes way way back.

The only other option might be the Po, which was a boundary of Napoleonic France.
posted by dhartung at 4:03 PM on October 30, 2009

Pavia, in Lombardy
posted by Zambrano at 5:33 PM on October 30, 2009

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