Piedmontese Occitan Valleys (geographic location)
1. The Briga Area
In the upper Tanaro valley, Occitan is spoken in Briga Alta (La Briga Auta) and Viozene (Viosena), hamlets of Ormea. The valley is north-south oriented. The state road SS 28 links the valley to the Arroscia Valley and to Imperia in Liguria through the Col of Nava. The Briga territory is also reachable by the Padan plain from Ceva by the A6 Turin-Savona motorway.
2. Kyè (or Quiè) Valleys
Occitan communities, speaking the «Quié» dialect, are found in the Monregalesi Valleys (Ellero, Corsaglia and Maudagna). These are very short valleys ending with alpine passes, located between the Pesio and the Tanaro valleys. The Occitan-speaking villages, Frabosa Sottana and Soprana (Fabrosa Sobrana and Sotana), Roburent, Villanova Mondovì (Vilanòva) and Roccaforte Mondovì (Ròcafort), are close to Mondovì and are reachable by the A6 Turin-Savona motorway.
3. Pesio Valley
This short and narrow valley stretches with a north-south direction for about 10 km from the village of Chiusa Pesio (La Clusa) to the peak of the Màrguareis Mountain. The whole valley including Peveragno (Poranh) and Boves (Bueves) is Occitan-speaking. In the upper valley lies the Regional Park of the Pesio and Tanaro Valleys. The provincial road SP 42 runs along the valley which is also well connected to Mondovì and Cuneo.
4. Vermenagna Valley (val Vermenanha)
The valley is north-south oriented and stretches for about 30 km from the plain near Cuneo and Borgo S. Dalmazzo up to the Col of Tenda (1871 m), which separate the Ligurian Alps from the Maritime Alps. The valley is crossed by important road (SS 20, E74) and train lines (the Cuneo-Nice line) linking to the Roja valley, Nice (France) and Ventimiglia. The whole valley speaks Occitan. Road access from Cuneo.
5. Gesso Valley (val Ges)
Gesso valley and its side valleys branch off from Borgo S. Dalmazzo (Lo Borg) with a northeast- southwest orientation. Owing to the complex orography of the Argentera and Maritime Alps, these valleys end with hardly practicable alpine passes. All these valleys are Occitan-speaking and from here we are entering the very heart of alpine Occitania. In the upper valley lies the Regional Park of the Maritime Alps. Road access from Cuneo.
6. Stura Valley (val d’Estura)
The Stura valley is a long valley, east-west oriented, that from Cuneo reaches the Col of the Maddalena (1996 m). The state road SS 21 goes across the 60 km of the valley. From the bottom of the valley some short side valleys depart with a south-north orientation. The Stura valley is the natural access to the French part of Occitania: the Col of the Maddalena (also known as Col de Larche) separates Maritime Alps form Cozie Alps and gives access to the Ubaye valley in the upper Provence. A less busy pass is the Col of Lombarda (2350 m) that links to the Tinèe valley. The whole valley is Occitan speaking. Road access from Cuneo.
7. Grana valley (val Grana)
This short valley lies between the Stura and the Maira valleys with whom it is connected by military roads at high altitude. It is possible to reach the Maira valley through the Col of Esischie (2370 m) and the Stura valley through the Col of Fauniera (2515 m). The whole valley is Occitan speaking. Road access from Cuneo.
8. Maira valley (val Maira)
The Maira valley is probably the most well-known Occitan valley. It stretches for 40 km along the provincial road SP 442. A carriage road run through the Col of Sampeyre (2284 m) and links to the Varaita valley. Some alpine passes link to the Ubaye valley in France. It is a narrow valley in the Cottian Alps with side valleys north-south oriented. Due to its orography and isolation through the centuries the usage of the Occitan language has been well preserved in the whole area. Road access from Cuneo.
9. Varaita Valley (val Varacha)
The Varaita valley includes two branches: the Bellino valley and the Pontechianale valley. Together with the Maira valley represents the core of the Italian Occitania, in the Cottian Alps. It stretches for 58 km along the provincial roads SP8 and SP105 up to the Col of Agnello (2748 m) and it is connected to the Dauphinè (France) to which it belonged to in the past. Occitan is spoken from Piasca in the plain up to the Col of Agnello and in the upper Bellino valley which has no carriage pass. Road access from Saluzzo.
10. Po, Bronda and Infernotto valleys (val Po’, Bronda, Infernòt)
Po Valley hosts the source of the longest Italian river, the Po river. It is one of the shortest Occitan valleys: about 25 km along the provincial road SP 662 which runs from Revello to Crissolo, at the foot of Monviso, the king of Stone of the Cottian Alps. The valley has no more than hiking mountain passes as it occurs also for the Bronda (between Varaita and Po valleys) and Infernotto (between Po and Pellice valley) valleys. Occitan is spoken along the whole valley. Monviso and the Po river belong to the Regional Park of Po. Road access from Saluzzo.
11. Pellice Valley (val Pèlis)
The Pellice valley is short: about 15 km along the provincial road SP 161, from Bibiana in the plain to Bobbio Pèllice, in Province of Turin. The side valley, the Angrogna valley, is north-south oriented and leads to Torre Pellice. Besides being Occitan, the Pellice valley is the centre of the Waldensian Church so that French is used as language of confession and for education. The valley has not direct road passes to the neighbouring valleys. Road access from Pinerolo (by motorway A55).
12. Chisone (val Cluson) and Germanasca Valley (val San Martin)
From Pinerolo, the long Chisone valley enters the Cottian Alps with a southeast-southwest orientation. The valley stretches for 50 km along the SR 23 road up to the Col of Sestriere (2035 m), which connects the valley with the neighbouring Susa valley. Also the Chisone valley is historically bound to the Waldensian Church. Occitan is spoken from S. Germano Chisone (Sant German de Cluson) and from the hamlets upon Pinerolo to the upper valley. The upper valley belongs to the Regional Park of Val Troncea. Road access from Pinerolo (by motorway A55).
The Germanasca valley is one of the most hidden Occitan valleys. The valley, located in Province of Turin, is a branch of the Chisone valley and it stretches for 20 km along the SP 169 road, from Perona Argentina up to Prali. It includes some side valleys such as that of Massello. The valley has no more than hiking mountain passes. Its difficult access and its wild orography made the valley the core of Waldensian resistance against religious persecution between the 16th and 17th century. Occitan is spoken in the whole valley and the usage of French is widespread, thanks to the presence of the Waldensian Church. Road access from Pinerolo (by motorway A55).
13. Susa Valley (val Dueira)
The valley is an important crossroad between Italy and France: here you find two strategic passes of western Alps, equipped with carriage roads since Roman time. From the Turin side, the valley stretches for 80 km with a east-southwest direction up to the Col of Monginevro (1850 m) which connects to the Durance Valley and Provence in France. It is possible to reach the Savoy region in France also by the Col of Moncenisio (2083 m) from the Cenischia Valley, a branch of the Susa valley. The valley is well equipped with roads (SS 24 to the Col of Monginevro and SS 25 to the Col of Moncenisio), motorway (A32 and the Fréjus Tunnel) and railways lines (the Turin-Lyon line and the controversial TAV project, a high-speed railways line). The presence of many transport accesses to the valley gave rise to the co-existence of several languages: Occitan is spoken in the upper Dora valley, from Chiomonte to Monginevro whereas in the remaining part of the valley and in Cenischia Valley, Francoprovençal is spoken. Several protected areas are present on the territory: the Regional Park Orsiera Rocciavrè (neighbouring with the Chisone Valley) and the Regional Park Gran Bosco di Salbertrand. Road access from Turin (by motorway A32).