The ''Match in Valdigne''
In the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, during the construction of the national road between Morgex and Pré Saint Didier, the men of La Thuile and those of Courmayeur worked side by side in corvées (each for four days, which turned into eight if one possessed a mule), but an ancestral rivalry continuously pushed them to compete against each other’s capacities. They finally decided to let two champions compete against each other in order to establish, based on the result of the match, which town was the strongest.
In those years a woman with extraordinary strength lived in La Thuile. Her nickname was Trifolla: the townspeople unanimously chose her to face the test.
At this point the townspeople of Courmayeur agreed that the match between one of their male champions and a representative of the weaker sex, whatever the outcome, would have embarassed them; therefore they decided to make one of their women compete against Trifolla. They trained her very hard even if she did not have the same build or strength as her opponent. The young girl, whose nickname was Mezola, was taught fencing and boxing in order to learn a few ploys that would allow her to beat her opponent.
The match took place at Pré Saint Didier. In the square of the church filled with people, the two women were placed five meters away from each other: the winner was the one who was able to throw the opponent to the ground. The losers would then have to treat fifty townspeople to a good lunch.
At the starting bell, Trifolla threw herself against her opponent, ready to grab her in a strong grip. But Mezola deftly placed her elbow underneath Trifolla’s chin and, tripping her up, threw her to the ground.
Not believing in what they saw, the fans of La Thuile claimed a new match: they lost a lunch, now they wanted to bet on a dinner; Mezola accepted. Once again her opponent threw herself on top of Mezola with all her giant weight, this time squeezing her between her arms. But, remembering all her lessons, Mezola moved with such agility that, rolling on the floor together with her opponent, she was able to land on top of her.
The show ended with a delicious dinner, satisfying both parties. And the records were established: strength for La Thuile and agility for Courmayeur.
Based on: “Il fiore del leggendario valdostano” (The Flower of the Legendary Valdostan) by Tersilla Gatto Chanu Edizioni Emme/Torino (publishers)