Domenico Scandella (1532–1599), also known as Menocchio, was a miller from Montereale, Italy, who in the 16th century was tried by the Inquisition for his unorthodox religious views, and burnt at the stake for heresy in 1599. His life and beliefs are known from the Inquisition records, and has been the subject of the book The Cheese and the Worms by Carlo Ginzburg.[1][2][3][4]


His parents were Zuane and Menega. He lived most of his life in Montereale, except for two years when he was banished from the town for brawling.

He had learned to read and read a number of contemporary works on religion and history. From these, he developed his religious views that departed substantially from Catholic orthodoxy of the time.

He was first tried for heresy in 1583, and abjured his statements in 1584, but spent another 20 months in prison in Concordia. Released in 1586, he claimed to have reformed. He continued to be in house arrest and had to wear a sign of a burning cross on his garments as a visible sign of his crimes. In 1598, he was arrested again as a lapsed heretic, having continued to speak to many people about his beliefs. In 1599, he was declared a heresiarch and was executed by burning.

During his trial, he argued that the only sin was to harm one's neighbor and that to blaspheme caused no harm to anyone but the blasphemer. He went so far as to say that Jesus was born of man and Mary was not a virgin, that the Pope had no power given to him from God but simply exemplified the qualities of a good man, and that Christ had not died to "redeem humanity".[5]


  1. Levine, D., & Vahed, Z. (2001). Ginzburg's Menocchio: Refutations and Conjectures. Histoire sociale/Social History, 34(68).
  2. Scandella, D., & Tedeschi, A. (1995). The Trials of Menocchio: The Complete Transcripts (1583-1599). A. Del Col (Ed.). Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton.
  3. William Monter.THE CANONIZATION OF DOMENICO SCANDELLA, ALIAS MENOCCHIO Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance T. 63, No. 3 (2001), pp. 621-623
  4. Zambelli, P. (1979). 'UNO, DUE, TRE, MILLE MENOCCHIO'-SPONTANEOUS GENERATION (OR THE PERSONAL COSMOGONY OF A 16TH-CENTURY MILLER). Archivio storico italiano, 137(499), 51-90.
  5. Ginzburg, Carlo (1980). The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 39, 27, 17, 12.
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