Today I’m going to tell you an interesting story: we’ll talk about the temple of Villasecca in Perrero, in Val San Martino.
At the beginning of their history, the Waldensians of this valley had to face many difficulties. In the middle of the 16th century the local feudal lords, the brothers Carlo and Bonifacio Trucchetti, tried with violent behaviour to prevent the Reformed preaching.
Between 1686 and 1687, after the edicts issued by the Duke of Savoy, Vittorio Amedeo II, every temple in the valley, apart from the Prali’s one, was destroyed.
In 1700–1701 the political situation started to change and Vittorio Amedeo II was forced to stop the persecution. In that period, the Waldensians decided to rebuild the temples, and the first ones were in Roccapiatta, at Coppieri and in Villasecca.
During the ministry of Pastor Giovanni Puy (1754-1774) the temple had to be restored, and there’s a funny story that is told generation by generation about this phase.
Sure enough, the tree which was necessary to build the new temple beam was located near the hill of Lazzarà. A team of volunteers dragged it through the whole valley along difficult paths, and when they arrived in Villasecca and saw the rise in front of them, some members of the team began to be disheartened. So, the assertive Pastor Puy decided he had to do something. With a considerable dosage of grappa relieved the spirit of the volunteers and then tried to lead by example and, with an unexpected strenght, wielded an end of the larch. After this, everybody took again courage and force and the team succeeded in bringing the beam to the temple.
In 1805 the temple of Villasecca became one of the three Waldensian consistories issued by Napoleon. The pastor Adolfo Peyran was chosen as head of the Villasecca consistory: it was said that he was the secretary of Voltaire!
Villasecca hosted 16 synods, but since 1882 the temple was not used for preaching anymore and in 1939 its decors were moved to the Waldensian museum in Torre Pellice.
How to get here
From Pinerolo take the SP23R until you get to Perosa Argentina. When you’ll be in the main square turn left towards Pomaretto and then follow in the direction of Perrero. Just before the Chiotti Superiori hamlet in Perrero, turn left following the directions to Villasecca. After 3 hairpin turns you’ll see a yellow sign which indicates the temple.