Hi all! Today I’m here to tell you some bits of the story of the Waldensian condottiero Giosuè Gianavello. Yes, he’s this guy standing next to me, and he will be my guide today along the steep trails of a place he knows inside out: the Bric di Bandì, literally “mull of the bandits”.
Where should we start, Giosuè?
«Follow me, Valdesina. We will start from my home, at Liorato, known today as Gianavella. From here we’ll ride precipitous slopes until the woods between Rocca Budet and Rocca Bera».
Even if you could think that the name of Bric di Bandì came after the deeds of Gianavello and his men, that’s not the case. According to documents of the time, this place had already this name, probably because it was a shelter for other bandits that in ancient times chose these harsh places as their base.
«Here we are, Valdesina. As you can see, from this place you can control both Luserna and the valley of Rorà, in order to not being taken aback by enemies and to have the time to reach our shelters in the gorge of Eidù, where you can find the Balma dei Banditi (Grotto of the Bandits) and the Pertüs dei Banditi (Hole of the Bandits). These are two ravines dug in the rocks, so hard to access that they allowed me and my men to hide in the most difficult moments».
«Now we should descend, I want to pass by Tribulet hamlet, a small group of houses I used as a shelter and hiding place for the goods we stole during our raids in the plains. But you have already been here, haven’t you? And so, let’s go back to Gianavella!».
The love for his places of origin and the knowledge of any tree, rock or gorge were decisive for the guerrilla strategy which allowed to Gianavello and the Waldensian bandits to carry on a strenous resistance until 1664, when they were forced to exile. But I will tell about this another time!
How to get here:
Reach the center of Luserna San Giovanni, in Pellice Valley. Starting from here, follow the traffic signs to Rorà and go straight on, passing beyond the Pellice stream and the hamlet of Luserna Alta. Immediately after, on your right, you’ll find a yellow sign showing the way yo the Gianavella: well, follow the sign and get to it.
From behind the house of Gianavello starts a trails in the woods. Follow the red and white signs that will bring you to a group of houses. From here the trail goes up on the right inside the woods. Keep your eyes open and never lose the directions. Oh, and be prepared for some very steep points!