Torre Pellice, which you can find on the map South West of Turin, closer to the French border than that city, deserves a mention for being Cinzia’s family’s ancestral home, and a town with which we have close ties.
The name comes from the wide river of the central valley, the Pellice. It was founded in the late 12th Century by the Valdesi, a Lyonnais Protestant reform movement led by their own eponymous St. Francis, Pietro Valdo. By the early 13th Century the movement had been outlawed as heretical, and it was in this time that the group sought refuge in this protective valley. In 1590, with the Protestant Reformation, Torre Pellice became the spiritual homeland of the Valdesi, now a global Protestant movement.
More recently it saw fierce fighting between Partisans and Fascists.
These days Torre Pellice bustles – especially on a Friday, when the market fills the length of the town.
Food and drink
There is a slow food presidio by the name of Mustardela, available at Macelleria Gonin. Mustardela is a type of black pudding – the food of peasants, where the whole of the pig is used. Added to the mix is a kilo of pork rind, carrots and puréed leek.
Further along the main street are destinations for a certain visit when we are here – on the one side is the Enoteca (wine shop) del forte; while opposite the Enocaffé (wine café) del Forte. Both are run by sommeliers Patrick and Loris, who offer a comprehensive, authoritative, enthusiastic journey – either by bottle or glass – through Piemontesi wines, and beyond.
There are myriad other shops, bars and restaurants to explore when in town, however last mention must go to Caffarel, a famous name in Italian chocolate and confectionery, the inventors of Gianduia, the other-wordly Piemontese chocolate and hazelnut cream, and an employer of numerous of Cinzia’s family members for many years.
If you are interested in visiting Torre Pellice, come and have a chat with us. As far as accommodation goes, a great place to start is the Foresteria Valdese, run by the Valdesi. It is simple, but good and very cheap.