Today we are on the banks of the river Pellice, in the district of Bibiana (To), ‘cause I’m gonna tell you a fact that is halfway between history and legend.
Can you see that hole behind me? It was dug in the stone and its purpose was to bring water from the river to the plain at the foot of the mountains; it was made in the past and it must have cost great effort. Some even doubt that it was built by men only…
It is in fact told that a group of monks who used to lived not far from here were desperate because their vegetable gardens and the surrounding lands were extremely dried by the sun and with little water. The stream was not far from the fields, but in the middle there was a rock that prevented the construction of a channel that would bring the water to the fields. The only thing the monks could do was pray to the heavens for divine intervention…
It is said that the devil was there in the neighborhood, and that he had heard the monks’ prayers. He then started banging his foot on the rock as long as he made a hole in the stone.
It seems that the devil had behaved in that way in order to ask, immediately after, an innocent soul as a payment for his work… but the monks gave him a dog, and this fact angered him hugely!
This is why this place is called “Pertus Diao”, which means “the Devil’s hole”.
In fact, this story is the result of popular imagination, and it is due to the fact that there is lack of documents telling exactly who built this channel and when it was made.
The only certain thing is that this artificial hole in the rock (lying beneath the hill of Rocca Caburna) is of medieval origin and it is a hundred feet long, with an opening half-way;
It was probably commissioned in 1041 by the Benedictine monks of St. Mary Abbey of Cavour, in order to bring water from the river Pellice to the fields of the nearby towns of Bibiana and Campiglione Fenile.
…which version d’you prefer most?
How to get here:
go along the provincial road 161 till you reach the village Pecoul before the town. On your left you will find some paths leading in the fields towards the stream Pellice: protect yourself by wearing thick pants and long sleeves because the vegetation (including brambles and nettles) grew thick in those places! Once you reach the banks of the river you will find in front of you, over the river, the Caburna fortress… Among its narrowings you can see the breach of the “Pertus del Diao”. Remember that walking on the stones of the river is dangerous because they are very slippery: do not take the risk of going there alone, and ask mom and dad to take you there!
Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?