Valle di Viù
Valle di ViùThe Val di Viù is the most southern of the three Lanzo Valleys. The Stura di Viù, branch of the Lanzo Stura, has excavated it. In the higher part of the valley it lays in an East-West direction, slightly turning northward in the lower valley. Small artificial lakes, Lago di Malciaussia at 1.805 m altitude, and the bigger one Lago della Rossa, to the North-West at the foot of mount Croce Rossa, are in the higher part of the valley. The dam of Lago della Rossa, at an altitude of 2.718 m, is the highest dam in Europe. The Rocciamelone, 3.538 m, recognizable from the lower valley due to its pyramidal shape, closes up the valley to the West while the Torre d’Ovarda, a rocky trapezoidal massif, borders to the North with Val d’Ala. Another massif, less impressive than Torre d’Ovarda, culminating with Punta Lunella is the southern watershed with Val di Susa. The gigantic shape of mount Lera is clearly visible from the village of Usseglio as it temporarily obstructs the view of the valley’s end and of Rocciamelone.
Following the country road, having passed Viù and where the Torre d’Ovarda valley opens up there is a wide basin, rich in vegetation, where Lemie (960 m) is situated.
Different are the theories about the place name origins. Some academics want the name deriving from the Latin word lamiae, meaning the place of the fairies and witches. Others believe it origins from the Latin word limina, meaning the limit of place on the borderline probably of Augusto’s XIth Regione Transpadana (Region across the Po River). The story tells of the ancient Lemie village situated in an area where the fields were called casali, that a flooding in the XVth century completely destroyed it.
Around the year 1000, Lemie was subjected to the Turin Bishop. Later on, with Forno di Lemie and other villages of the Valley, it was granted as feud to the Viscounts of Baratonia. Later on the Giusti of Susa and the Provana of Leinì followed in the feudal jurisdiction. In the XVth century the Arcour obtained the Lemie and Usseglio mining claim. In 1741, the lawyer Giacomo Ottavio Gastaldo, last feudatory, died without heirs and the feud became state property. Already in the XIVth century many iron and copper mines in the area were exploited. For this reason, according to some academics, families from Val Sesia and Bergamo moved to Forno di Lemie where there was a furnace for metal casting. Lemie was an independent municipality until 1810.
In Roman age, Rubiana was a trade transit point. The first time Rubiana was mentioned is in medieval age when its name appears in Abbazia di San Giusto di Susa assets. This abbey was founded in 1029 by marquis Olderico Manfredi and Asti bishop Alarico. From 1414 to 1786 Susa’s monks dominated Rubiana and then the abbey was abolished.
Following the road after Lemie you will come to Usseglio (1265 m) last municipality of the Valle di Viù. It is a village situated in a wide green basin, crossed by the Stura stream and surrounded by majestic mountains.
Usseglio, called in old times Uscelli, it is mentioned in Medieval documents as Uxeillo or Uxellis, names of Celtic origin meaning “high mountain”. Another theory identifies Usseglio as Ocelum, a site that Roman historians suggest as borderline place with Cisalpine Gaul. Various evidences bear witness of Roman settlements and of its strategic position proving that through Autaret and Arnas mountain passes it was possible to reach Gault. In the XIIth century this territory was part of the Turin Bishop’s properties who, in 1168, assigned it as emphyteusis (lease of real estate) to San Giacomo di Stura Abbey. In 1266 the feud was granted to the Viscounts of Baratonia. Usseglio history followed the one of Lanzo Castle and was subject to the jurisdiction succession of the Provana, Arcour and Gastaldo. At the beginning of the XXth century it became an important vacation site for the Turin aristocracy. The most important dignitary was Count Luigi Cibrario (1802 – 1870). Named senator of Italy’s Kingdom in 1848 he also covered other important public roles. GO TO THE PAGE
The Viù name originates, according to some academics , from the Latin word vicus interpreted as village, according to others meant as way or passage. Neolithic finds and rock engravings prove that the Viù territory has been inhabited since the prehistoric age. The presence of Romans is also proved by the coins found on the site of the old castle in the Versino hamlet. In 1159 the Viù feud was granted to the Baratonia Viscounts. As from the first half of the XIVth century, Viù historical events intertwine with those of the Savoy Family. In 1313 the territory was granted to the Acaja Family, later on, in 1345, to Amedeo VII, known as “Conte Rosso”. Between 1333 and 1335 three quarters of the territory were handed over to the Giusti Family of Susa and, in 1350 were transferred to the Provana of Carignano and Leinì. In 1465 the Arcourts inherited the last quarter of the territory. In 1633, the duke Vittorio Amedeo I unified the feud under Ottavio Provana’s authority and named him first Count of Viù. Between 1799 and 1815, during the Restoration, an outpost of the Austrian – Russian troops which had occupied Lanzo was set in the Maddalene hamlet. After the Savoy Family coming back, the Turin aristocracy began to frequent Viù which became their resort site. GO TO THE PAGE