San Giovanni – Luserna San Giovanni

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Hello, my friends!
Today we are in a particular area in the town of Luserna San Giovanni, and we’re about to talk a little bit of history. We are on the side of the river Pellice opposite to the historic center of Luserna (called by people from the valley “High Luserna”), in the hamlet of San Giovanni, which includes the entire hill on the left bank of the Pellice, and that links the towns of Angrogna and Bricherasio.
The town takes its name from the Priory of San Giovanni del Perno (a parish of probable Lombard origin that flourished in the Middle Ages and then declined slowly and inexorably with the arrival of Waldensians).

 

You have to know that the biggest part of the population round here has been of Waldensian faith since long time ago, and that’s the reason why in 1657 the village was officially separated from Luserna becoming a municipality of its own.
Despite the terrible religious persecution in 1655 that devastated the whole Pellice Valley, the village of San Giovanni, also known as “Bellonatti hamlet” or “Blonats”, was spared and it was decided a split from the rest of the Catholic community of Luserna.
In 1863 the village took the name of San Giovanni Pellice, in order to be ideally closer to other historical towns of Waldensian Valleys: Torre Pellice, Villar Pellice and Bobbio Pellice.

Ca ‘Neuva: the big house you can see behind me, also known as “Villa Morglia”, was the town hall from 1859 to 1871.

In the period when San Giovanni was an independent hamlet, it became rich and booming, and some native Waldensian families like the Peyrots, the Appias, the Bastias enriched a lot, while Luserna met a decline, since it was deprived of its historic “barn” on the hill…
The two municipalities finally reunited as the actual Luserna San Giovanni in 1871.

February 17th Square: the “heart” of the village, it gives home to the historic wing and to the building that served as the town hall before the Ca ‘Neuva was built; more behind you can see the Waldensian temple of the Bellonatti hamlet.

How to get here:
along the Provincial Road 161 that goes from the Pellice Valley to Pinerolo (To), turn right in Malan road about 1 km before the town of Luserna San Giovanni. Follow the road for its entire length and you will arrive in XVII February square.

Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?