MAIRA valley
(prov. Cuneo)
Piemonte - Italy

The turism office

in Elva

Everywhere in the Alps houses are made of stone, with a rectangular base and a wooden beams supported schist plate roof. Elva is no exception. In some cases the stone walls are supported by overlapped tree trunks. In the oldest buildings the floors are separated by wooden roofs, only after (1700-1800) arch-roofs were adopted for the base floor, normally used as stable. In the oldest houses there're small windows which open wider on the outer side, this to allow the biggest light income from the outside and the minimum heat loss form the inside. Houses are generally made of three levels: the lowest, adhibited to stable, the middle one used for the everyday living, and the upper where the hay was stored. Facades often show two or three levels of balconies, used partially to store hay and protect it from bad weather. These balconies were usually quite big, supported by stone pillars. Examples can be seen in Molini Allioni or in other houses in Chiosso. Generally the hamlets are formed by many of the described buildings which, however, keep their independence. Many passages in these hamlets were covered by haylofts linking two houses, this allowed the communication in winter, despite snow.

Photos: Franco Baudino, Guido Cavallo, Valerio Bergerone, Fulvio Beltrando e Ugo Morello
Text by Giulio Rinaudo - English translation by

Suggested pages

- HANS CLEMER - Elva's Master Painter
- LA PARROCCHIALE - Elva's Parish Church
- A SPASS PER LOU VIOL - A trip walking in Elva

valle Maira