Dubbione, Pinasca – Fontana dell’Orsa

Today I want to go with you in Val Chisone, more precisely in the village of Dubbione, in Pinasca. Near to the hamlet there’s a pretty fountain from which fresh water gushes. During the day, a lot of people stops here to fill bottles with this delicious water. This fountain is popular as Fontana dell’Orsa – the fountain of the she-bear – and this legend explains why.

Here’s the Fontana dell’orsa with its fresh water gushing
Here’s the Fontana dell’orsa with its fresh water gushing

Long time ago, it is said that into the woods above Dubbione lived a brown bear, beautiful and impressive. Every evening, at the sunset, he used to go out from its lair to go and water from a pure spring right in the hamlet. The inhabitants, captivated and a bit afraid, used to stare from far at the beautiful animal. The bear never missed that evening event at the fountain, and the people of the village grew fond of it.

Nobody knows when the fountain appeared: the people from Dubbione thinks it’s always been there
Nobody knows when the fountain appeared: the people from Dubbione thinks it’s always been there

But an evening the bear didn’t come, and not even the following one. The inhabitants of Dubbione were very worried, because they feared that it passed something bad. For a while the bear did’t come to the fountain, but an evening, at sunset, it appeared from the dense greenery of the forest. It was even more beatiful and healtier than usual, but it was very precautionary.

The fountain is located near a hamlet which has the same name: Borgata dell’Orsa, which means “hamlet of the she-bear”
The fountain is located near a hamlet which has the same name: Borgata dell’Orsa, which means “hamlet of the she-bear”

At a certain point, it started to growl pointing to the woods, and… surprise! Two beautiful bear cubs jumped out from the bushes. Actually, the bear was a she-bear, and they were her cubs.

The people of the village stared at the beautiful scene from the right distance to give to the family the serenity to enjoy the fresh water. The fountain became for everybody the “fountain of the she-bear”, and still today it’s said that you should never go to tap the water at sunset to avoid disturbing the possible return of the bears.

How to get here
In order to reach Fontana dell’Orsa from Pinerolo, take Strada Statale 23 del Colle del Sestriere and go straight until you reach Via Nazionale in Villar Perosa. Turn right before the bridge on Grandubbione river; you’ll be in Via Antica di Fenestrelle, in the municipality of Pinasca. Now go straight for 300 meters until you reach Fontana dell’Orsa.

Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?

  • Once again you have provided a great insight to this latter day Waldensian. I am beginning to realize why I have such a yearning to understand my heritage. You do a wonderful job of revealing some of the bricks and mortar of Waldensian research. Thank you!