Culture: Manajetta, story of a hanging in Gaggiano

Banditry and crime in the Lombard landscape in the 19th century. Friday, June 24 at 21.15 in Gaggiano, Piazza Daccò, presentation of the volume They called him Manajetta. The story of a hanging in Gaggiano and notes on crime in Lombardy between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, from Aurelio Citelli, published by Barabàn Cultural Association. In addition to the author, Paolo Migliavacca and Patrizia Piccini speak.

WE RECEIVE AND PUBLISH FROM GAGGIANO – It was a Saturday in June 1833, when Carlo Bettoli returned from Milan, on the Vigevanes, between the Bonirola Bridge and Gaggianello, called Cufflinksa 22-year-old bricklayer, attacked Giulio Giussani, tenant of Morimondo, and Domenico Pasini, chaplain of Coronate.

The perpetrator lurked in the leaves, waiting for the right time to strike. The draw was barely: 43.49 Austrian lira. After a quarter of an hour Cufflinks he was arrested on the way to Cascina Schenavoglia and, among wings of a crowd, led to the prisons of the Gendarmerie in Gaggiano in the Palazzo della Torretta.

Rated on the spot after Statutory judgment (a kind of military court), and, found guilty, Bettoli was hanged on the Vigevanes. During the years of restoration, the punishment for the perpetrators of armed robbery on public roads was very severe: the gallows erected at the same place where the crime took place.

That fact, reconstructed by Aurelio Citelli through journalistic sources and archival documents, allowed us to look at the subject of crime raging in Milanese and Pavese, and more generally in Lombardy, between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

In the countryside, insecurity prevailed everywhere: on the streets, in the houses, in the farmhouses, in the pubs, in the churches and even in barchet there crossed the waters of Naviglio. The road users were robbed, the wagons attacked, the hosts cheated, the farms set on fire.

To take the stage, a host of petty criminals and robbers – all regularly given nicknames, Sciavatinett, Cisalpinetto, Cisger, Anima Longa – alone or organized in gangs whose stories, at least of the most famous, have become in folklore as well as in the judgments of the courts. Manajetta – derived from the use of a small gorge – it was the most awful nickname.

It was especially after sunset that the Vigevanes, albeit under surveillance, became dangerous, and it was not uncommon to leave his life there. It happened in May 1796 for Andrea Mantovani, who carelessly went out at night on the road to Abbiategrasso: he was attacked by Pietro Macchi, a convict who raped him until he wanted to murder him.

In the early nineteenth century, between Rosate and Binasco, Carlo Domenico called De Filippi, Restellino19, from Coazzano, farmer, soul of a daring band of robberies. His raids ended in January 1812, when he was seized and guillotined. With him was Pietro Necchi, he said Peder Paves, by Cascina Canobbia, by Rosate, author of various violent thefts in houses, mills and farmhouses: he was sentenced to forced labor for life, to the sedan and to the trademark. On his right shoulder, the executioner stamped the letters with hot iron LP: eternal works.

The order of criminal episodes, largely unpublished, told in the book by Citelli, from Gaggiano, takes your breath away. Assaults, shootings, stagecoach attacks, robberies, murders. No one escaped the criminal exploits of bandits, criminals and robberies.

At Vigevaneserne the most serious event took place on June 18, 1820 at. 21 – between Gaggiano and Bonirola – when he returned to Milan in the company of his father at a concert, Dr. Martinelli’s son fatally wounded by two shots fired from the side of the road, perhaps by the infamous one Fatutto. The boy was taken to hospital and died shortly after.

Authorities responded to criminal violence with backward criminal laws, defenseless trials, inhuman punishments, summary trials completely similar to those set up by military courts, which almost always ended in the death penalty: gallows, guillotine or shooting.

From the pages of Citelli’s book, an unknown side of Lombard’s history emerges two centuries ago: campaigns of misery, brutal bandits keeping travelers and tenants in check, farms on fire, deceived hosts. It is not the Far West or the South of Banditry, but Lombardy that comes out of the volume They called him Manajettaa bit like us.

In case of rain, the presentation will be held in the town hall at the town hall. The book will be for sale in newsagents in Gaggiano and online https://fototeca-gilardi.com/prodotto/lo-chiamavano-manajetta/

Alberto Rovelli

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