Usseaux, Province of Torino, Piedmont

The town, 78 km from Turin is situated in the High Chisone Valley, part of the wider Chisone Valley extending from Meano to Pragelato and Sestriere, an area of glacial origin.


  • Altitude: 1416 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 200 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 10060
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0121
  • Patron Saint: St. Peter, celebrated on 29th June
  • Frazioni & Localities: Balboutet, Fraisse, Laux, Pourrieres.

History - Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The origins of the hamlets of Usseaux are related to the peoples who lived in the Upper Chisone Valley leaving a strong imprint on the territory of their culture, their language and their traditions: the Ligurians, Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Provencals, Saracens.

The first evidence documented the existence of Usseaux, Pourrières, Balboutetand Fraisse dates back to 1064 when Countess Adelaide founded the Abbey of Santa Maria in Pinerolo donating it to the territories of the Upper Valley.

The birth of the township of Laux is attributed instead to a group of exiles persecuted as heretics, from Lyon and Provence in the early 13th century. A little later also the "poor of Lyons" (the Waldenses), followers of Peter Waldo, dissenters from the Church of Rome, settled in the valley.

In the centuries that followed Usseaux shared the history of the other communities of the Upper Chisone and was under the Dauphine from 1091 to 1349.

History - Modern Times

From 1349 to 1713 Usseaux was under the Kingdom of France, then under the Duchy of Savoy from 1713 (Treaty of Utrecht), and then the Napoleonic Empire (1798-1815), to return in 1815 under the Savoy and finally in 1861 in the Kingdom of Italy. As all the communities of Val Pragelato also Usseaux was part of Escartons (1343-1713) and shared the presence of the two communities of different faiths, Catholic and Waldensian.

In the Second World War the territory of the upper valley was hit hard and during the war of liberation the mountains became a natural refuge of partisans with retaliatory incidents and great loss in terms of human lives and destruction. In the post-war years, after decades of seasonal migration to France and industrial areas, the valley is enjoying a new economic life thanks to tourism.

What to see

  • The renovated oven, laundry and mill of the 17th century
  • Interesting graffiti found almost at every corner
  • The parish church dedicated to St. Peter.

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Provinces of Piedmont
Piemonte region
Surnames in the Provinces of Piedmont