Valdesina goes on holiday – Garzigliana

Hello there!
Today I took a little day trip and I moved away (but not that much!) from my beloved Waldensian Valleys to visit the ruins of Mombrone, a little hamlet known today as Montebruno, in the municipality of Garzigliana (Torino).

Over the tree tops you can see the ruins of the castle tower… I’m in the picture too, can you see me?

On this hill you can still see the medieval remains of the noble feudatories’ (a branch of the Rorengo descent from Luserna) castle that was once the center of Garzigliana. Afterwards, since it was too close to the stream Pellice, which indeed ruined it on several occasions, the village was rebuilt where you can find it now. According to some others, instead, the castle was owned by a family called Garigli, which the name Garzigliana derives from; according to others the name would indicate a place where the acacia grows.

The river Pellice flows not far from here: its river bedis quite big… Well, it’s not hard to believe that somewhen Mombrone was whiped out by water.

In this place a legend is set… but, let me warn you, this legend is very, very sad. Tell Mom and Dad that this story is as tragic as the one of Romeo and Juliet, and let them decide if you can read it or not. I sincerely thought long and hard about how to tell it without sad endings, but the truth is that I really couldn’t manage to find a different and less sad ending… ;(

At the bottom of the hill, you can see in the woods, the impressive shape of the castle.

Once upon a time, when the castle was inhabited by some count of Luserna’s relatives, a really beautiful girl born in the valleys used to live here; she had been kidnapped when she was a baby to be raised away from her family and to be grown in the Catholic faith (as unfortunately often happened to Waldensian children). The noble castellans’ son fell in love with the girl, but his parents absolutely disapproved their love: not only was she a servant, but she also had not even rejected her native religion, and this was unacceptable to them!

Here I am, after climbing the slope, at the base of the ancient palace!

One day the boy went out hunting, and when he turned back home he did not find his fair maiden any more… He looked for her everywhere, ‘till his parents informed him that she had managed to escape in secret and that she certainly returned to her family up there on the mountains, and certainly she had not had second thoughts in breaking his heart.
The young man did not comfort at all to those words, and indeed, he spent all of the following days crying and despairing for the loss of his love… he gave up hunting, doing tournaments and playing, because of the great pain he felt.

Next to the ruins, the Montebruno sanctuary is still intact…

After some time, in the castle some works had to be carried out, and a wall had to be broken down. One day the young man (who had meanwhile become the lord of the building and had to manage those works) was informed that in the bricks a corpse was found… The poor man discovered with horror that someone had been walled up alive in the castle! …and immediately after, incredulously, as he approached the corpse he saw long blond hair coming down from the head of the corpse… And he immediately realized that it was his beloved maiden’s corpse!

If you want to go up to the walls (like I did) you’d better wear confortable shoes and trousers, since there is not a real trail, but you’ll have to follow the paths made by roe-deers… They are steep, but I often walk along them!

When the boy understood that years ago his parents not only had lied about the girl’s escape, but they were even guilty of this terrible crime, he took away his own life and killed himself right there, at the foot of his beloved who had never left!
The two old nobles spent the rest of their years mourning about their son, whose loss was their own fault.

As I was woundering around the castle I saw this breach, I’m aware that probably the wall fell because of time, but the idea that the young girl could be walled up right there, made me run away in a hurry and terribly scared!

it’s a very sad story, isn’t it?! Think that once the farmers of this area at night did not even dare to approach the castle, for fear of bumping into the spirits of the two lovers who still continue to live, this time together, among the ruins of the castle…

Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?

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