The small village of Pizzogreppo
(in the village's dialect called "h-a") lies amidst
ancient larch forests, at an altitude
of 3415 meters (11204 feet), in the middle of an immaculate encircling
chain of alpine tops perennially covered
The population of the country is estimated in 112 inhabitants (February 2007) even if it has not been possible to take a census since Septimius Severus' age.
The villagers are named "pizzogreppese", even if in the dialect they are defined "he-ì".
The economy of the country is since centuries based on the cultivation of larch (called in dialect "h"), on the picking of the larch cones (called in dialect "h-h") and on the picking of dead rock-goats fallen from the surrounding mountain tops.
The pizzogreppese handicraft uses as a raw material the larch wood, which is carved by the skillful local sculptors with the traditional technique by blows with the heads and punchs. The most represented subject is the cube, but also the wooden ball and the pancake can be found in every store of the country, if you only succeeded in finding an open one. An old craftsman of the village, Aldo Oi, known as "òi", tried in 1912 to make a crucifix in larch wood for the parochial church, but after having barked the first log by the head, he had a nervous breakdown and retired into himself.
What to see
The main square of the village bears the dialectal name of "hàa", meaning "larch square" and is occupied by a majestic stone pine.
The parochial church was built up in 1300, and it was entirely reconstructed in larch wood, after the fire of 1301 that destroyed it completely.
The furnishings of the church, from the walls covering to the altar, from the confessional to the benches, are in pvc imitating larch wood.
The pizzogreppese summer, due to the extreme discretion of the inhabitants, occurs all within the private houses, whose doors normally are not opened neither as the bailiff knocks. Until 1987 the village's main square was constantly animated by the discreet presence of the old mayor, Ugo Ui, known as "ùi", until when it became clear that he had freezed to death in the winter of 1948, although he had been uninterruptedly re-elected for all those years.
In winter Pizzogreppo retires into itself, due to the rigorous temperatures and the lack of larch needles, therefore traditional fairs or festivities are not carried out.
At Easter in the villagers exchange the traditional wooden eggs, named in dialect "huò", decorated with larches and firs drawings.
For Christmas the Pizzogreppeses exchange the traditional wooden logs painted in brown, named in dialect "hn", and which pass from hand to hand since the Carolingian age.
Pizzogreppo cooking is typically alpine. In winter the meal is opened by the "hùa" (very hot larch soup), and in summer by th "hù-a" (hot larch soup). Between the main courses we can mention the "hm", rock-goats horns stew with larch-shavings, "hié", rock-goat manure rissoles with larch sawdust and "hg", eagle eggs omelette with rock-goat milk cheese.
The traditional pastime of the village consists in counting the circles of the knocked-down larches, or counting the knocked-down larches or, as an extreme sport, counting the still standing larches.
The discreet character of the inhabitants sometimes prevents to appreciate their bashful courtesy. It seems that in 1962 a traveller could catch a glimpse of one of the inhabitants of the village, just before he barricaded himself again in the house. Since then who reaches the small village in summer can take refuge in temporary shelters or, if he arrives there in winter, then dies.
How to get there
Pizzogreppo does not have a railway station, in effects it does not have neither roads, The gps maid, as the name of the village is marked, begins to cry: "no! no! I don't want! Please, don't take me THERE!".
The Pizzogreppo tourist office is on the village's main square, but it is closed.