A Scottish Village in Italy?

scottish-villageGurro, a tiny town perched in the hills above Lake Maggiore is located in the province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola in the Piedmont region. It is picturesque and curiously Scottish. The town’s 221 inhabitants speak in a strange and some say nearly incomprehensible dialect (over 800 words in the local dialect are of Gaelic origin) and have a penchant for playing bagpipes. Even some of their surnames, including Gibi, Pattriti and Donaldi are Italianized forms of Gibbs, Fitzpatrick and MacDonald.

In 1525, a group of Scottish mercenaries were forced to retreat into the town which lies close to the Swiss border, because of the onset of winter. Apparently, the mercenaries fell in love with the town which reminded them of their native Highlands and they decided to stay.

It’s common for foreigners to visit the town on the second Sunday of July, when it celebrates its feast day by donning Tartans and marching the pipers through town. The tartan is not just reserved for special occasions either, a good portion of the women wear kilts daily, although it really hasn’t taken off with the men of the town. As far as Scottish food goes, you won’t find haggis in the local restaurant. Their menu is (thankfully) northern Italian.



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