Banco della Ragione

The Bar of Reason: venue where the community used to discuss and witch trials to be held.

Banco della Ragione

Two stone circles surrounding a round table are located within the park of Cavalese. This is known as the Banc de la Reson, the Bar of Reason. Almost unique in its kind in Italy, it used to host the meetings of the Magnifica Comunità di Fiemme - an institution dating back to the 12th century. They took place once a year on the 15th of August, or the Feast of the Assumption.
Although the name Bar of Reason conjures up the principles of good sense and sensibility, very few decisions were actually taken in the name of justice and freedom. In the 16th century, public witch trials were actually held here. The final verdict was featured by a casting of votes performed by introducing marbles into a special hole in the Bar's stone-slab. An outcome of 4 to one meant that the poor wretched woman under trial was condemned to burn at the stake. These were tragic years for Trentino. After a first trial was held in 1501, which ended with the banishment of the accused, in 1505, 28 people were accused of witchcraft. Of these, 6 managed to escape before they were arrested and found guilty by default. Of the 22 people jailed, 18 were condemned to the stake and burnt alive, while 4 died in prison.

 

 



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