The street that runs along the ancient village of Guardia Piemontese overlooks the Tyrrhenian sea. The name of the town immediately recalls its ancient origins. The cobble paths meander among stone houses that follow one another till they get to the look-out tower. In this place, halfway between memories and legends, each glimpse conveys the traditions of the ancient Waldensian-Occitan culture. The village of Guardia Piemontese has maintained the peculiarities of the Occitan populations settled in the area since 1345. It is not known when the Waldensians arrived in Calabria, nor why they decided to move here. Some scholars maintain that they got here around the 13th century to escape persecutions in Piemonte Valleys. A reliable theory claims that they had to emigrate because of job shortage due to overpopulation of Piemonte Valleys in the 14th century. The Waldensians found fertile soils in Calabria. They grew fruit trees, like walnut, chestnut and olive groves, cultivated the soil, paid the tributes and became a resident community. Apart from Guardia Piemontese, called La Guardia at that time, the Waldensians settled in different towns of the present-day Province of Cosenza. However, Guardia Piemontese is the only site where local population still speak the ancient Occitan language and, until recently, wore the traditional costume. The site was chosen for its altitude (514 m above the sea level). Defensive walls were erected and the ancient look-out tower, built between the 11th and 12th centuries to warn against pirate and Saracen raids, was included in the walled town.