Historical testimony of the Lanzo valleys exists from the times of the Romans, who frequented the area because of the convenient passage they offered to reach Gallia over the Autaret and Arnas passes.
Archeological finds in Usseglio and Balme confirm this (tombs, coins, household artifacts). However, the first documents that clearly refer to Lanzo and its valleys date back to around the year 1000. In 1305 the usufruct of the area passed to the Marchioness Margherita di Savoia who reigned over a territory that extended from Lanzo to Caselle.
The Marchioness did much to favour the people of the Valleys and emitted special statutes to make their lives more secure, with particular attention to the products of the territory. The manufacture of products in the Valleys was facilitated by the waters of the river Stura. Flourishing industries came into being such as the forges that worked iron and copper extracted from the mines in the area. These activities remained the most important for centuries, giving a substantial level of well-being to the Valleys, which remained tied to this mining exploitation with a complete cycle of production. The products were exported and appreciated for their high quality of work. Today it is still possible to see the forges and some are still active like ‘L’Ecomuseo dei Chiodaioli’ (The Ecomuseum of Nail Production) in Mezzenile. Almost every village had a flour mill and a great number of these structures can still be found in the area.
For this reason the market became very important as a place to meet and exchange for all the inhabitants of the Valleys.
The one in Lanzo was the biggest of the Valleys and in 2019 it celebrates 800 years of existance. During the 16th century the plague spread through the area. Exactly for this reason a fervent religious spirit sprang up and many sanctuaries, monastries, churches and votive pillars were built, which still bear witness today. The Valleys followed the destiny of Piedmont under the erratic rule of the Savoy family: war and famine brought desperation and poverty. In the 16th century reconstruction was started in the three valleys. Houses and roads that had been repeatedly destroyed by wars and natural disasters were rebuilt.
The Lanzo Valleys are rich in historical testimony. It is possible to admire every aspect through institutions, constructions and places of worship.
Numeous museums are present in the area, dedicated to the daily life of the People of the Valleys, Alpine History and Partisan Resistance.