Today I want to take a little trip out of Waldensian Valleys, but I won’t move too far: together we’ll talk a bit ’bout history, and we’re gonna do it in Cavour!
It is a small town in the district of Turin, which used to exist even before the ancient Romans; this village is known for its unique stronghold, which seems to have legendary origins.
I want to take you in front of a particular building because right here a very important event of Waldensian history took place…
Here we are at the Acaja Racconigi’s Casa-Forte, a palace which the noble cadets of the family of the Duke of Savoy used to live in. Right here in 1561 the Agreement of Cavour was signed.
On June, 5th of that year, the representatives of the Duke Emanuele Filiberto and the ones from the Waldensian Valleys met to sign peace; with that act the Duke forgave Waldensian for all actions that were committed during the previous months of war.
The Duke, dealing with his subjects, would risk to be condemned by the Catholic Europe and by the Papacy; that’s why Emanuele Filiberto did not attend in person the event. In exchange for the forgiveness of the Duke, Waldenses signed an agreement in which they undertook to settle in remote areas of the Valleys by insurmountable boundaries.
Through this agreement, Waldensian Church saw its existance for the first time legitimated.
From that moment on, it would’ve been impossible to deny the presence of Protestants in Piedmont, that had to be accepted by Papacy and by the rest of Italy (at that time, under Spanish and Catholic dominion).
The importance of the agreement, also called Peace of Cavour, is that it is one of the first official act that would grant a form of religious freedom in European history.
Although Waldenses were locked in their ghetto, they could start building their temples and celebrate – at least for that moment – their faith in freedom.