In a time when there were still some gaps
in the juridical ethos it must have been no simple matter for the foreign guest Giovanni di Lorenzo di Picardia to find himself accused of murder, although he was
completely uninvolved in the matter. Probably he screamed,
cursed, went raging up to exhaustion, tried to claim his rights, but nothing
could protect him from the death sentence imposed on him. For these facts he
was forced to interrupt his journey and to cancel the pilgrimage to the Volto
Santo at Lucca from his list of things he still wanted
to do, because a person in a dark cell in the face of his own death sentence
hasn't much of a choice. The legal apparatus wasn't so slow in the 14th century as shows the fact that the accused within very few time was brought
before the executioner on the public place and handed over to his expert cure
and his whetted executioner's axe which was destined to cut off the head of the
condemned man. The executioner lifted the arm high in the air, his hand closed
tightly around the handle of the axe, calm and self-confident, the serious
professional man he was. He didn't let himself be moved by the desperate shouts
and cries of the innocent (some occupations don't allow that), who had come
from France and was bound to Lucca, forced to an unexpected stop at Pietralunga.
It is known that the last moments in the life of a condemned man bring further
agonies, endless seconds in which the life passes like a film and one repents
of the sins and prays for absolution, all those sensations that normally a
condemned man isn't able to communicate later. But Giovanni di Lorenzo di
Picardia, the Frenchman bound to Lucca, arrested and sentenced to death, got a
second chance: an acquittal, arrived just in time and obtained by someone with
a certain influence also in juridical circles, protected him from the blade of
the executor's axe, prevented the execution from taking place and with that
tarnished irrevocably the reputation of the executor.
This incident is remembered at Pietralunga in August, when the villages and districts compete in the palio, where people push a heavy cart, which once was used to transport the condemned
men. The event is framed by a medieval atmosphere with shops,
inns and taverns.
By the way, who thinks that the background story was just invented by some
joker can go and see the letter written by the podestā of Pietralunga, Branca
and the executor's axe, one of the protagonists of the matter, hanged up and
exposed in the Dome of Lucca beside the Volto Santo.
Justice's ways are infinite.
Ornithology, the passion of Pietralunga
The Ornithological Museum '' Silvio
'' is located inside the Naturalistic Oasis of Candeleto
and collect the present fauna in the Umbrian territory....
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