Note: The article has been translated from the Italian language with software
In this article, in reference to the previous article, in dealing with the issue of capital punishment in the world, I want to write about the last, or rather the last two death sentences in Bregaglia, on the Swiss side.
On the basis of historical documents and a text written by Renato Stampa published in the “Quaderni Grigioni Italiani”, it was the year 1795, and more precisely August of that year.
The last trial in Bregaglia was held at the criminal court at the Vicosoprano Praetorium on 17 August 1795, which ended with a death penalty verdict.
The specific case refers to the theft of two horses which took place in Löbbia, shortly after the village of Casaccia, a location already mentioned in another article of mine .
Two brothers from Bormio named Nicolò and Bortolo Pedranzini were arrested in Chiavenna on charges of stealing two horses in Bregaglia. They were brought back to Vicosoprano where they were put on trial, for this crime which at the time reserved very severe penalties.
Again from the historical references indicated above, we can read that the two defendants questioned separately continued to proclaim themselves innocent. At this point the court ordered to continue with the torture in order to “make confess” the crime to the two unfortunates.
At the end of the trial there were also other accusations, namely the theft of six cows in the Val Monastero, the theft of four other horses on the Scanfio pasture in the Engadine and a further theft of a head of cattle in Bormio.
The death sentence took place by beheading on 1 October 1795, it was a Thursday when the two accused were taken to the gallows, still present in the woods adjacent to Vicosoprano. The two condemned were beheaded and their heads were exposed as a warning, while their bodies were buried at the foot of the Vicosoprano gallows.
In all likelihood, the mortal remains of the two condemned still rest today in this wood and are probably not the only ones.
Cudin wood and its sinister aspect
Ever since I was a child, when I went to Cudin Wood , I caught a rather sinister atmosphere. Even today my grandmother sometimes recalls an episode, during which walking in her company at the foot of the gallows I found a small bone, probably of a wild animal. I picked it up and walked over to it exclaiming that I had found a bone of a “witch”.
This was the last execution on the Swiss side of the Bregaglia.
It should be remembered that over the centuries, unfortunately, the Bregaglia, like much of Europe, without exclusion was involved in an atrocious witch hunt and therefore involved innumerable acts of cruelty and torture to the detriment, mostly of innocents, accused of witchcraft.
Most of the executions following countless tortures and acts of humiliation ended in the mess of this forest adjacent to the village of Vicosoprano.
Death penalty in the world
Although capital punishment has been lifted in many countries, it is still widely practiced in various parts of the world today. Every year a staggering number of individuals are led to the gallows or killed by the state that proclaimed the penalty.
Several non-profit organizations in recent years have conducted campaigns with the aim of reducing this penalty, but not in all cases have been successful.