The name Chiavenna derives from chiave or "key," for "Key to the Alps." The term referred to the settlement's strategic position at the crossway of main routes leading to the Alpine passes, making it a regular stop for freight and commercial travelers. Via Dolzino, in the town center, is flanked by portals and flowered balconies of beautiful palazzi, many converted as shops and boutiques. Strolling down this main street we arrive at the fifteenth-century Balbiani Palace, with its massive facade and flanking towers. The palace grounds to the rear, originally laid out as the Gardens of Paradise, are now managed as an archeological and botanical park. Other highlights are the parish church of Collegiate di San Lorenzo, the Treasury Museum and the Mulino di Bottonera, a nineteenth-century flour mill complete with the workings for industrial pasta making. Near the town is Marmitte dei Giganti Park, a protected landscape of woods and glacial rock-forms.