Hello my friends! Nice to see you back!
Today we are in a village that, in ancient times, used to be called “Li Bertini”, ’cause originally several Bertin families used to live here in this area; later on the name was changed due to the many alders (in dialect: “vèrna”) that grow in the area: so today let me welcome you at Verné of Angrogna.
The particular landscape that lets us appreciate all of the mountain peaks of Pellice Valley made it become a strategic area for defense, and right here there was in fact the base camp of Bartolomeo Jahier, a rebellious who in 1655 had taken refuge in the valley after having fought the ducal troops in Germanasca Valley; from this place he could continue attacks on the enemies.
Gianavello had just returned from France and very soon they met to join forces, since they were famous throughout the whole territory and both had been banned! The Verné became their headquarter.
Bandits gathered here, and I suppose that their sight would be really unique: camped as they could among the small houses of the township, dressed in the most peculiar ways and with all sorts of weapons… knives, slingshots, rifles and… last but not least, renowned culverins!
From here Bandits could leave early in the morning to strike the enemy in a flash, and then return to the mountains without leaving any trace, hoping to weaken the army of the Duke and force him to surrender. Gianavello’s men were tenacious men, used to not revealing their identity, loyal to their leader and leading an uncertain, Spartan life, spent in assaults and prayers.
This used to be life of the Bandits until 1655, June 18th; that day Jahier had gone to Chisone Valley in order to sell some cattle and, in the meanwhile, enemy troops chose to surround and assault the Verné where Gianavello and his men were resting, exhausted by hard work.
Fortunately, sentinels gave the alarm in time for the Bandits to jump off their cots, hide in the ravines of the surrounding rocks and start the defense. They resisted for about eight hours of battle then, suddenly, Jahier returned with his men who repelled the exhausted enemy…
While chasing the enemy downstream, however, at the Chabas (on the border between Angrogna and Luserna), Giosuè Gianavello was hit and pierced in the chest by a bullet.
Torn by his comrades to battle, he was urgently carried up the slopes to Pinasca, which was, at that time, Waldensian territory under the protection of the French; right there, the day after, he came to know about the death of Jahier, who had bravely chased his enemies up to Osasco, at the gates of Pinerolo.
Waldensians turned back at the Verné where, despite some misfortunes, they elected two new captains and continued guerrilla warfare from there. Gianavello got back in force and returned here to attend his last victory: in a very short time, in fact, Patents of grace were granted. Thanks to these Patents people obtained a period of peace thanks to the intervention of the European Protestant countries.
How to get here:
reach the village of San Lorenzo, capital of Angrogna (Turin). Once in town, take the road on your right and follow signs to Vaccera; after 1.5 km you will arrive at the Prassuit hamlet and near there the Vernè hamlet.
Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?