Guardia Piemontese (La Gàrdia) is a small town in Province of Cosenza, in the Calabria region in Southern Italy. It is located on a spur of the Catena Costiera Mountain, it counts 1863 inhabitants and it has been speaking Occitan for four centuries. The occurrence that brought in the deep Southern Italy a community coming from an alpine Piedmontese valley is tragic as any religious persecution might be.
Originally coming from the Pellice Valley, the Waldensian of Calabria settled down in Guardia and S. Sisto between the 12th and 13th centuries. They lived peacefully until the Waldensian Church joined the Reformation (synod of Chanforan, 1532). Considered as heretics, they were persecuted in Piedmont, in Provence and in Calabria. The repression in Guardia and S. Sisto was particularly violent: the villages were annihilated, the inhabitants, including women and children, had the throat slit, were burned alive or were sold as slaves to the Moors. The few who survived converted to Catholic religion.