Waldensian Review No 126 Summer 2015 - Page 8

played in the river that runs through it, the children skimming stones. We went into the main church in Torre; the children noticed that it was simple, like our home church. The Collegio dei Barbi in Angrogna caught their imaginations, looking in the rooms and seeing how the people lived and studied. Another afternoon we went to the Waldensian museum and were pleased to discover that they now had a choice of languages on headphones that we could listen to at our own pace – our daughter is obviously a faster listener than our son. It was interesting for them to hear the history of the Valleys and the Waldensians explained to them, and it raised lots of questions about why people do not tolerate each other and why people have to live their lives in secret. To lighten the mood we went in search of ice-cream and found a new gelateria that had artisan ice-cream; we sat outside feeling very content in the sunshine. The weather was beautiful for the whole of our stay and we spent time just being together, sitting on the terrace outside the rooms in the sunshine under clear blue skies. It was an ideal way to introduce the children to Italy. Sue Thomason Revisiting the Waldensian Valleys, 13 years on Our first visit to the Waldensian valleys was in 2002; we were fresh from university, keen to do some voluntary work, and we were in Torre Pellice to attend an Italian language and Waldensian culture crash course, prior to spending a year at La Noce children’s centre in Sicily. Little did we dream then that we would be returning 13 years later, this time fluent in Italian, members of the Waldensian committee and accompanied by our baby son! It was the arrival of our son Zachariah, and the resulting opportunity of time away from work offered by maternity leave, which gave us the idea to spend a month in Italy – and where better than renewing our acquaintance with the Waldensian heartland? During our month-long stay we enjoyed sampling everyday life in Torre Pellice – plenty of cappuccini under shady porticoes, shopping at the Friday market and pleasant walks around town with the baby in the pram. But perhaps of most interest was revisiting sites of Waldensian importance and seeing them with fresh eyes. The mysterious atmosphere of the Gheisa d’la Tana, the natural cave in Val d’Angrogna where Waldensian congregations may have met in secret, the beautiful surroundings of the College of the Barba in Pra del Torno where mediaeval itinerant preachers were trained. Being there in person we could see how the defensible position of the Angrogna valley helped the community there to resist so many attacks – an advantage not available to other Waldensian communities across Italy, who were subsequently wiped out. History was vividly brought to life in this striking location. Our visit was not just about history though – we were pleasantly surprised by the lively services of worship we attended, and the vibrant feel in these historic communities. We attended an Ascension Day service, held in the 6