Piedmont spirituality in the village of Crissolo
On the roof of the Po Valley
Crissolo, a small mountain village in the province of Cuneo, is a gem set in the marvellous panorama of Monviso. It is the highest village in the Po Valley, and it is probably its proximity to the sky, combined with its peaceful surrounding nature, that has kept the spirituality of its inhabitants so strong. One of Crissolo's best-known attractions is in fact the shrine dedicated to St Chiaffredo. The shrine is much loved both by the locals, who entrust their sorrows and joys to the saint, and by the travellers who pass through in search of the river spring.
Why it is special
The shrine is just outside the village, almost marking the boundary between the village and the mountain. Its neo-Gothic façade and the white stone bell tower rise above the nearby houses and invite all who need comfort to enter the simple and cosy church. The ex-votos collected there testify to the popular devotion to the saint and the shrine is one of the most popular places of pilgrimage in the area. The remains of the saint appear to have been found right here in Crissolo.
A bit of history
The shrine of St Chiaffredo was built in 1440 on the remains of an older church. It is a place of great inspiration enriched by the legend associated with the saint. According to tradition, Chiaffredo, a soldier of the Roman Empire and a member of the Theban Legion, after rejecting the pagan gods, took refuge in these mountains to escape anti-Christian persecution. Here he was hunted down and martyred in 290. Then, in 522, due to miraculous circumstances, his burial place was found and honoured with a simple little church. When the number of pilgrims increased, it was decided to build a shrine.
Not to be missed
The shrine is certainly the most concrete expression of local devotion, but in Crissolo there is another very well known and appreciated religious symbol. It is the batiaje, a round biscuit made with local corn flour. What does a biscuit have to do with spirituality? Its very name suggests it: “batiaje”, in the local dialect, refers to baptism, the occasion on which these biscuits were originally made. Appreciated even by the Savoy royal family, these biscuits were first made in the nearby village of Barge.
Credit to: Supermferdi