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The etymology of Sauze d'Oulx has been lost in time, despite it being quite common in nearby France. Sauze d'Oulx was sheltered and protected in comparison to Oulx, but in times gone by only a few mountain refuges existed for shepherds and agriculturists who must have followed with curiosity, and possibly fear, the comings and goings of people and armies, which for centuries crossed the Susa valley and it's mountains. Probably already in 500 B.C. some Celtic tribes lead by Bellovesio descended from Monginevro en route to the Padana plains, but instead decided to stay in this luxuriant valley, rich in water, pastures and thick woods. Segovij, Belaci and Segusii coloni-sed the valley bringing with them their customs, costumes and Gods.
A few centuries later Ceasar's legions imposed the customs and divinity of the Romans, who, realizing the strategic importance of this crossing point towards Europe, trasformed the old village into important encampments for the armies. Hypothetically speaking, it would have been ideal to sit at the top of the Clotes slope and observe the comings and goings over the centuries: after the Celts, Hannibal and then Ceasar, Galba, Costantino, the Saracens, Longobardi and Franchi, Barbarossa and Napoleon all invaded this valley and left their mark on the culture. The church of San Giovanni Battista (St. John The Baptist) is a symbol for Sauze d'Oulx.
Built in Roman-Gothic style, with a characteristic belfry decorated with two and three mullioned windows, this is a national monument, painted and photographed numeros times "as a memory" of Sauze. Built with volontary contributions, the central part was inaugurated in 1538 and the side chapel was added in 1676. Inside you can admire the baptistry in forest green marble built in 1540 and the main altar decorated with wooden columns carved in 1700. Nearby Jouvenceaux is also worthy of a mention. With its narrow streets, squares, fountains and carefully reconstructed houses, it retains the aromas, tastes and colours of an antique village.
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