Borghi magazine ~ the discovery of the fantastic world of italian medieval villages

© 2018 - All Rights Reserved.



Views of Usseaux






Usseaux (Usseauso also in Italian; Usseaus in occitan, also known as Useaou; Ussò in Piedmontese), in Piedmont, is an Italian town that counts less than 200 inhabitants. The name Usseaux probably has Celtic origins "uxellos = high". The village was crossed in ancient times by Giulio Cesare, who cites, in "De Bello Gallico", the village called "Occellum". Is located in Val Chisone and is affected by the Parco Naturale Orsiera - Rocciavrè and from the Natural Park of the Gran Bosco di Salbertrand. The Municipality, in addition to capital Usseaux (Usseauso), also includes the following villages: Balboutet (Finale), Fraisse (Fragoleto), Laux (Lauso), Pourrieres (Purrieri).

The human presence in the High Chisone Valley is very ancient. The first testimonies of rock art date back to 12,000 years BC The origins of the townships of Usseaux are linked to the peoples (Liguria-Celts-Romans-Barbarians-Byzantines-Provence-Longobard-Saracens) which over time lived in the Upper Val Chisone (in the Middle Ages called Val Pragelato) leaving a marked area impressions of their culture, language and traditions such as coins, streets, and toponyms. The first documentary evidence of the existence of Usseaux dates back to 1064, when Countess Adelaide founded the Abbey of Santa Maria di Pinerolo giving to it the territories of Upper Val Chisone. In the centuries of history Usseaux lived the experiences and events of other communities in the Upper Valley: the Dolphin (1091-1349), the Kingdom of France (1349-1713), the Duchy of Savoy, the wars between the French and Savoy (battle of 1777), again the French rule, the Napoleonic empire and the independence wars that led to unity in Italy in 1861. It was part of the Escartons (1343-1713) and for centuries shared the presence of two communities of different faith, the Catholic and the Valdese. With the unity of Italy, the inhabitants of the high Chisone valley and therefore also of Usseaux progressed gradually from the French habits; the language of the public acts became the Italian one and was taught in elementary schools. The First World War was experienced and suffered by the valley. The postwar period saw the phenomenon of seasonal emigration (people employed in the hotel industry in France or in the Pinerolese industry). The Second World War and the Liberation War also hit the high Chisone Valley with several episodes of blood and destruction. In the following years the valley revived the phenomenon of emigration (seasonal in France and towards the plain industries). Many emigrants have never returned to their homeland.

In the village of Usseaux stand out some buildings, largely restored, dating back to 1700, such as the oven, the wash-house and the Mill. Numerous and characteristics are the fountains. You will also meet in every corner of the village of original Balboutet sundials painted, one different from the other, together with lovely illustrative paintings. Particularly impressive and valuable is the parish church dedicated to Saint Peter.

The Municipality of Usseaux
Metropolitan City of Turin
Piedmont Region

inhabitants: 186
Altitude center: 1416 m a.s.l.

The Municipality is part of
I Borghi più belli d'Italia
Borghi Sostenibili del Piemonte
Unione montana Valli Chisone e Germanasca  
Comuni fioriti
Paesi bandiera arancione

Protected natural areas:
The Natural Park of the Gran Bosco di Salbertrand
Parco Naturale Orsiera - Rocciavrè

Municipality of Usseaux
Via Conte Eugenio Brunette 53 - Usseaux (TO)
Tel. +39 0121 83909

In this small town distributed on five villages among the most ancient of Val Chisone, the slow life is a promise: the solar sundials with the written in patois remind us that each hurry is in vain, and every minute is precious, but for eternity. Refuge of the Waldensians, land of the free men, the alpine microcosm of Usseaux is, in every season of the year, the synthesis of what makes yet fascinating mountain: nature, traditions, serenity and wonderful landscapes. In the extreme North Piedmont Western Usseax, is one of the oldest villages in Val Chisone: the first documents date back to 1064. History, culture, religion in a landscape context fascinating are the characteristics common to these alpine villages, as the total autonomy of their inhabitants, dedicated to agriculture, to sheep farming and handicrafts, active in relations with the Piedmont and the French dauphin. A conception that has helped perpetuate a model, also urbanistic, remained unchanged over the centuries.

A journey to the village of Usseaux and a visit to the nearby Fort of Fenestrelle

In the shadow of the Albergian and the Orsiera, where the battle of Assietta took place, among murals, genepì, pastures and woods.

Next or present Events

  • San Pietro
    Patronal parties

    Add to calendar 2019-06-29 2019-06-29 Europe/Rome San Pietro Usseaux

Past Events

  • The Romantic Night

  • 28-07-2018

  • MTB5borgate + 1

    Non-competitive tourist cycle to discover the 5 Alpine villages of Usseaux and the village of Soucherers Basses in the municipality of Pragelato in the Alta Val Chisone.