Good morning, my friends!
Today’s walk is gonna be very special: for the first time since we started our adventures together, we are in a place where… history has yet to happen!
Yes, kids… you got it right…
Today we are at Stallè hamlet, between the towns of Angrogna and Luserna San Giovanni in Pellice Valley. In a few days, here, a big bonfire will be lit up. Can you see the stack of wood behind me? Well, that’s where the fire will burn up.
You have to know that every year in Waldensian Valleys, on the evening of February 16th people use to light memorial bonfires to commemorate the distant date of February 17th, 1848, ‘cause on that day King Charles Albert promulgated the Letters Patent, an official document that finally granted civil freedom to Waldensians.
In fact, these Letters did not grant completely all of other citizens’ rights to Waldensians, but it was the beginning of a big change, and that’s why this date has been commemorated every year since then.
It is said that in the days preceding the signing of Letters Patent by King Charles Albert, a few boys from Waldensian Valleys had been sent to Turin in order to wait for the big news in front of the Royal Palace.
As soon as it was heard that the King had given his approval, boys jumped on their horses and moved towards their Valleys as fast as they could.
People from the Valleys were waiting for them to come back; the first ones that saw them riding with so much ardor realized that good news were coming from Turin.
So, in order to warn all of the other hamlets, each village lit a bonfire, and in a while the whole Valley was dotted with celebrating fires!
Even today, on February 16th, Waldenses light fires.
In the hamlet we are today one of the biggest fire of the Valley is lit: at 7pm a torchlight procession starts from the temple of Angrogna, and another one moves from the temple of San Giovanni. Both of the processions meet here and at 8pm the fire is lit, while people sing and enjoy warm wine and hot chocolates.
The next day, as it is a celebration day, all of shops, offices and schools are closed. At 10am we all go to the cult and then we all go home and have lunch with typical dishes of Waldensian tradition, like the “supa barbetta”. Would you like to taste it? Well, just follow the recipe you can find behind with mom and dad!
Sunday evening I will put on a warm shawl and I will come to the bonfire.
I’m going to be here… will we meet?
Have a good February 17th!
How to get here:
leave the provincial road 161, that connects Pinerolo to the Pellice Valley, at the roundabout in Pralafera, and turn right in Masel Road; cross the intersection and continue straight onto the Provincial Road 163. After less than a mile you will find yourself surrounded by meadows and on your left you can see the great pyre for the bonfire (but only during in the period of February!).