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Vialfrè, Province of Torino, Piedmont

An agricultural center in the Lower Canavese, situated on the top of the Martinasca moraine hill, which overlooks the wooded hills around Ivrea. The slopes, partly occupied by vegetable gardens, fruit trees or vines, gently slope towards the large plains of meadows and grass crops. Within the territory is a Site qualified as of interest for the EU, Scarmagno - Torre Canavese (Right Morain of Ivrea), which includes the western part of the town of Vialfrè and an interesting wetland occupied by a peat bog.

Info

  • Population: about 200 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 10090
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0125
  • Patron Saint: the SS. Rosario, celebrated on the first Sunday in October

History - Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The name probably came from Vicus Alfredi, one of the first counts. Another etymology is from a 10th century bishop named Vialfredi and still other theories mention an ancient toponym as Vicus Ba Fred or Bafredus; a Balfredus was an ancient war tower on wheels used during sieges. There are actually traces of an ancient castle, with ring walls, moat and a single door to the east.

However, the settlement rose along the ancient road to Macuniacum, with the recorded name of Gualfredus. In mid-13th century Vialfrè was a fief of the Counts of San Martino. The people took part to the Tuchini social rebellion, destroying the ancient feudal castle.

Around the 14th century during the wars between the San Martino and Biandrate the population took refuge at the top of the hill defended by the walls of the castle.

History - Modern Times

In the 17th century the Perrone took over the place of the Counts of San Martino, then other families followed until 1665 when Tommaso Cauzono and Bartolomeo Baratono were elected as mayors. In 1869 at Vialfrè there were three silk-spinning mills, with over 300 workers, and in 1870 there were 508 inhabitants.

What to see

  • as in other Canavese centres also in Vialfrè there are still ancient remains of the old Ricetti, fortified medieval buildings inside the castle where, in the case of invasions, the population from the countryside took refuge with their animals and food. The alarm used to be given by men on guard at the towers, which controlled the transit of armed men along the roads. At the sound of a horn or bell, people fled from the fields and took refuge in the shelters.

Genealogy & Links