Where to discover the Pelassier trade


Elva is located in a splendid panoramic position, at an altitude of 1637 m above sea level. There are 30 ancient villages and hamlets. Legend has it that it was founded by four brigands on the run, looking for a secluded and difficult-to-access spot, characteristics that have allowed the municipality to maintain forms of architecture that have disappeared elsewhere.

A possession of the Marquis of Saluzzo, it was very prosperous, so much so that the parish church, one of the most important monuments in the Western Alps, was frescoed by the artist Hans Clemer.

Between the end of the 18th century and the middle of the 20th century, the people of Elva specialised in a trade, they were pelassiers, or hair merchants. They harvested hair throughout northern Italy and beyond to make wigs that were sold all over the world: from Paris to London and the United States. You can discover this ancient work at the Pels Museum in the Casa della Meridiana in the hamlet of Serre. If you are looking for the meeting point of powerful nature and fascinating history, Elva is the right place for you.

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