The vicinie

Expression of the Valley’s autonomy, the vicinia (the institution formed by the townspeople, residents of the vicus) oversaw all of the communal properties: fields, meadows, mills and sawmills, and also the purchase and distributions of basic goods such as the salt, once a high-valued good in the alpine area; to this day the vicinia of Ponte di Legno distributes every year two kilos of it to each of its members.

In the vicinia only the males head of the families had political rights, while were excluded from all rights –but still had all of the obligations- forestieri (lit. “foreigners”), word that indicates the families that weren’t part of the vicinia at the time of its constitution, no matter for how long they dwelt in the village.
Suppressed by Napoleone in 1806 and their properties seized by the newly-born comuni, in the present day the vicinie are still active in the villages of Poia, Ponte and Zoanno.