Waldensian Valleys

Today we went to the Waldensian Valleys. Last week, we went through San Germano Chisone just as it was getting dark. We happened to stop just in front of the Chiesa Valdese (Waldensian Church), where someone was filling water bottles at the town fountain. So we filled ours too. But today we went back to see the valleys a little better. We drove up and up and up, higher than Melle, into Angrogna. There, we parked the car and walked down a path to a place where the mountain’s bones are exposed and broken in pieces. This was the Cave Church. A little path led off the main path, and we walked down to a tall jumble of rocks, hiding the small opening. It’s difficult to imagine climbing in there, let alone bravely singing hymns while hiding as fugitives from the prevailing authorities. Grandpa Bringhurst would have said, “let’s sing!” And we did. We sang “For the Strength of the Hills,” also named “The Hymn of the Vaudois Mountaineers in Times of Trouble.” It was a humble and awe-inspiring experience to stand on what for them was, and for us is because of them, holy ground.

Off in the distance from Torre Pellice, you can see Casteluzzo, the outcropping of rock that looks like a “little castle.” Having seen so many real castles perched on hills here in Piedmont, we can see that its name is no more fanciful here than Chimney Rock is in Utah. As we drive through the countryside, we picture how here, or there, we will remodel our own little house in Italy, our own Casteluzzo. At Torre Pellice also is the main Waldensian Museum, chronicling their long historic struggle to maintain their faith in the face of every adversity.