Sardinian banditry

Sardinian banditry was a criminal phenomenon typical of Sardinia.


The phenomenon of banditry has a particular importance in the history of Sardinia. The Code enacted in the reign of Carlo Felice (1827) stated that: "were reputed bandits that were not declared as such by the public pregone: I already sentenced to the jail; those who investigated the crime of similar major penalty, had already been cited to defend himself, as well as those whose arrest was decreed by the competent court, if it gave to the bush to escape from justice."

A bandit, then, is one who has voluntarily removed from the execution of a command of the law. The Sardinian bandit beats the campaign and commits other crimes.

The Roman period

The banditry in Sardinia was already known since the times of the ancient Romans, when he assumed the character of latent "national" rebellion and a social nature. In the Roman period, banditry was primarily the cattle rustling and damage to property. Often those who practiced it were shepherds, the inhabitants of the mountains; speakers as Cicero called it latrunculi mastrucati.

The Judicial and Aragonese period

Eleanor in his Carta de Logu to suppress banditry authorized remedies not exactly conventional: it was considered an act of self-defense killing by anyone with a bandit who was sentenced, he had not made up. In 1477, there is news, though not official, the first kidnapping for ransom in Sardinia, which occurred in the Baronia of Posada between Olbia and Siniscola. During the next centuries the phenomenon continued to occur but became particularly evident during the Spanish period.

The Spanish period

Beginning in the sixteenth century, the countries were racing from homines facinorosos en que van quadrilla, real gangs like that of Manunzio Fiore. The phenomenon was of such importance that in 1574 it was ordained a Prammatica with which they were taken to prevent the formation of gangs and especially to prevent the facilitation of (often by the same landowners) made possible criminal activity. During the seventeenth century the phenomenon of armed gangs developed further: the countries of Sassari, Nuoro, Goceano and Gallura, thanks to the nature of the place, became the scene of companies fearsome gangs were soon in a position to compromise seriously public order.

The Savoy period

The situation did not change with the advent of the Savoys, so already in 1720 it was necessary to enact the first measures for the suppression of the phenomenon. But it was only with the viceroy Rivarolo, the famous edict against the drafter of the hated beards, which took decisive action in the matter. On March 13, 1759, was finally enacted a Regulations for the Administration of the Justice in the Kingdom of Sardinia. In the second half of the eighteenth in certain areas of the island (such as the Gallura), banditry was linked to smuggling; to repress it also appealed to barracelli, the Savoy government tended to militarize, distorting the function of rural police. A decisive step in the repression occurred when in 1814 it was made up of the Corpo dei Reali Carabinieri, which allowed to diffuse into the territory of the detachments stable leaning against the barracks. During the first half of the nineteenth century, the bandits took place between the bloodiest clashes between family clans, real conflicts taking place within countries. At the time of the famous clash alternated peaces, a practice that ended er be favored by the authorities and that included the swearing in church of all the members of rival clans and family heads of villages, followed by the granting of pardons and safe-conduct on the part of the authorities.

The Italian period

The public peace, unfortunately, was not reached: in the second half of the endemic social crisis, poverty, difficulties in relations with the authorities, led the bandits to appear in ever more features. In particular, it was practiced by bands formed for the occasion, the bardana, which was an armed expedition to plunder a village, and the robbery, always an armed expedition to capture a country in view of the stripping of a rich owner: did the shot bands melted, making it difficult for the investigators. The most famous of these expeditions was the one that went down in history as the bardana of Tortolì.[1]

In the night between 13 and November 14, 1894 a group formed by a hundred horsemen came to Tortolì and besieged the house of a rich owner, Vittorio Depau, killed a servant (wounded by several stab wounds and ended up with a gunshot to the head ) who had fired against the criminals and invaded and raided the house, whose inhabitants had barricaded themselves in a safe in the attic. The carabinieri (there were only seven) failed to curb the raid but managed to kill a bandit, whose body was taken away from the others and found a few days later in rural areas of the country stripped and beheaded in order to make it impossible to recognize. In the firefight was also mortally wounded the Brigadier Pietro Giua. Around 1875 he reappeared the practice of kidnapping for ransom. Violence and fear took possession of the countryside. These facts aroused the attention of the Italian Prime Minister Francesco Crispi, who appointed the Sardinian deputy Francesco Pais Serra, to make an inquiry "on the economic conditions and public safety in Sardinia." The investigation began to make clear the links between banditry and social situation, but public opinion, deeply disturbed by the situation, negatively influenced the actions of the government.[2] So, while you spread the idea, supported by the positivist school of anthropologists such as Alfredo Niceforo, who Barbagia banditry was rooted not only endemic, but even genetic, i.e. race,[3] the government decided to send army units to Nuoro to eradicate the problem. The enterprise is told in the book of the officer Giulio Bechi,Caccia Grossa, which aroused bitter controversy (as well as interpretations rather hasty).

At the end of the nineteenth century there were in Sardinia and 197 fugitives were killed 77 policemen in conflict.[4] The decade 1890–1899 can be considered the period of far more serious in the history of banditry in Sardinia. For the number of murders, the number and the unique personality of the fugitives - bandits, for the true carnage of human life (bandits, their victims, police), and the frequency of conflicts which led, especially in Barbagia, a situation not dissimilar to that of war, the decade ended with the intervention of the army stands tragically from any other period in the history of Sardinia until today. A noncomprehensive list of fugitives-bandits, many of which in their turn gang-leaders, makes it clear, but certainly not justify the proposal put forward in 1896 by the captain Vincenzo Mauro, to order the immediate arrest of all the joint of the fugitives. As can be seen from the report of the joint membership, the bandits came almost all from Nuoro, from a limited number of countries Barbagia and some of the country and of the pastoral area of Ogliastra and the province of Sassari. They were: Giuseppe Pintore; Pietro Sanna; Giovanni Satta Saba; Giovanni Maria Astara; Giovanni Marongiu; Domenico Ruiu; Raffaele Gusai; Giovanni Congiu; Giuseppe Sanna Columbu; Antonio Porcu; Antonio Piroi; Antonio Farina; Elias and Giacomo Sanna Serra of Nuoro. Giuseppe Lovicu; Francesco Rubano; Antonio Soro; Pietro Sini; Pietro Sotgiu of Orgosolo. Giovanni Mula; Salvatore Pau (accused of 16 murders); Antonio Congiu; Antonio Mulas; Giovanni Corbeddu Salis; Michele Tupponi of Oliena. Antonio Manconi; Giuseppe Noli Coi; Francesco Reseu; Giuseppe Budroni of Orani. Dionigi Mariani; Giovanni Moni; Giuseppe Goddi; Antonio Fenu of Orune. Giovanni Falconi; the brothers Malucco; Giovanni Piras; Salvatorangelo Catte of Fonni. Pietro Mameli; Simone Loddo; Gabriele Murgiolu of Olzai. Ciccio De Rosas; Mario Angius; Sebastiano Chessa of Usini. Tommaso Virdis and Giovanni Pinna of Oniferi. Giovanni Lussu and Giovanni Mulas of Orosei. Paolo Solinas and Bernardino Pirisi of Sarule. Angelo Mulargia and Giovanni Maria Bomboi of Siniscola. Diego Doneddu of Bitti; Quirico Vargiu of Buddusò; Giuseppe Salis of Burgos; Vincenzo Fancellu known Berrina of Dorgali; Salvatore Carta of Orotelli; Antonio Fenu of Pattada; Giovanni Maria Nuvoli of Florinas; Antonio Sanna Deriu of Torralba; Francesco Campesi of Tula; Giovanni Podda of Urzulei; Salvatore Dettori of Ottana; Giovanni Antonio Mulas of Osidda. The dramatic decade 1890–1899 was characterized by three aspects:

To give an exact idea of the gravity of the situation it is useful to mention some of the more stirring events. In 1891, they were kidnapped and released after payment of ransom, the engineers Lombroso and Marignani; authors of the kidnapping were Giuseppe and Pietro Moni from Orune, the fugitive brothers Giovanni and other relatives; Always in 1891 the bandit Ciccio De Rosas of Usini killed on the same day two men and two women, one of them pregnant forwarded; in 1892 were seized the two French timber merchants Pral and Paty; in 1894 began the tragic bandit career of Giuseppe Lovicu, accused of 12 murders, 4 attempted murders and countless robberies, thefts, and damages; on January 15, 1895, a band of eleven outlaws attacking two carabinieri in the road that leads from the station to the village of Oniferi, intended to rob the payroll of the carabinieri Lieutenancy, and killed the carabiniere Antonio Ferrari; in August 1895 was carried out a robbery at the Oniferi bus: the gang is being chased by the carabinieri departments, army and barracelli, who set fire to the forest to bring into the open the bandits; all escape from the encirclement, exception of one, who was killed, but before, killing the captain of barracelli Louis Pirisi, the carabiniere Mameli and seriously injures the corporal Basilo Porcu and the lance corporal Pietro Sini (which will then be killed in shootout with Serra Sanna gang); in 1898 is killed the famous Corbeddu: near the body, the rifle of Major Spada, the commander of the Carabinieri Division of Sassari the first time that Corbeddu had attacked and robbed, leaving him half-naked in the street; 1892–1898, in seven years, were killed by bandits a Carabinieri lieutenant, a sergeant, 4 sergeants and 14 Carabinieri. In July 1899, the captain Petella, to create a vacuum around the fugitives, is organizing what may be considered the most grandiose police operation in the history of Italy, arrested 500 people in a single night in the district Nuoro-Ozieri; the process will be celebrated with 682 defendants burdened with 237 titles imputation. in the same month of July 1899, in the place Morgogliai, between Oliena and Orgosolo, 50 Carabinieri and an entire battalion of infantry engages in a real battle against the gangs of Serra Sanna, Virdis, Pau and Lovicu: all the bandits are killed to except Lovicu that will later killed in a shootout with the Carabinieri in Oliena in 1901. The conflict of Morgogliai and killing of fugitive fed the illusion of having put an end to banditry only because they had eliminated the most dangerous gangs.

But the roots of the phenomenon were not even touched by them and, after a brief lull, the bandits will draw new food, giving rise to periodic outbreaks of crime.

The first decades of the 1900s and the fascist period

At the end of the century the government had sent the army, but did not prevent the annihilation of the bands that just eight years later, in 1907, unleashed the Disamistade (feud), which resulted in 20 murders in just Orgosolo. On the eve of World War I, the situation is not likely to improve: in 1913 will be made 4 murders, 70 attempted murders, 21 robberies followed by murder and simple robbery 138. The First World War interrupted for a short time the robbery, which resumed after the war raging and the harsh repression, the confinement of police and executions of fascism can not contain. After the death of Samuele Stochino, Fascism proclaims that banditry was extirpated. It is extirpated from the newspapers of propaganda, but not from the confidential reports of the Fascists Prefects and the Questors. The fugitives multiply: Flores, Pietro Liandru, Ganga, Corsi, Floris, Cheri, Puddu of Sarule, Antonio Pintori, Giovanni Chironi said Praticheddu, Modolo of Orani, are the most formidable that appear in the quarterly reports of the Prefects. From a statistic of the Police of Nuoro is noted that in the four years from 1932 to 1935, only in the province of Nuoro, were committed 49 murders, 181 robberies, two kidnappings; figures probably below the true because in another document signed by the Superintendent Pumo recording 10 murders, 59 robberies and a kidnapping only in the first eight months of 1935.[5]

After the Second World War

After the doldrums of World War II banditry explodes again with appalling violence. In August 1949, in Villagrande Strisaili, and in September 1950, nine kilometers from Nuoro, were carried out two robberies, during which eight Carabinieri were killed and one blinded. January 15, 1950 were killed the father and son Arangino, a few kilometers from Tonara. In 1950, only in Orgosolo, were committed 13 murders. In 1952, on the way to Ozieri a robbery that took place can be considered the most sensational of the century: on the very day in which they celebrated the Anniversary of the Carabinieri, a dozen gunmen stopped and robbed 240 people for blocking two hours three courier and more than ten cars and fleeing with the loot undisturbed. A few months later, four kilometers from Nuoro, was killed on a Roman merchant Patalacci who had not stop to order of bandits. On 6 November 1953 on the highway Orosei-Dorgali five masked bandits kidnapped 20 people, loaded on two trucks and transported for approximately 20 kilometers, passing through the outskirts of Dorgali, big center in the province of Nuoro. It released nineteen and held prisoner the engineer Capra. The episode culminated with the death of the victim. The seizure Capra aroused emotion and clamor throughout Italy. On April 30, 1954, at 12 km from Nuoro, in the same area where he was killed Patalacci, which is carried out a robbery of romance. Around noon, four bandits kidnap the debt collector Putzolu that passed with two of his employees. The Putzolu had already been seized under the same conditions, roughly in the same place, ten months before. The bandits had imposed Putzolu to send the driver in Nuoro to bring the ransom money; instead the driver had warned the Carabinieri that they had not had time to catch the robbers, but had arrived in time to save the life of the hostage. Ten months later the same bandits stopped again Putzolu.[6] The bandits threatened to kill the hostage if the driver does not return within an hour at most. The driver this time does not inform the Carabinieri and returns the sum; the bandits leave the Putzolu free and unharmed. From 1955 to 1965 followed by another decade of stagnation and then suddenly a new upsurge shakes and bloody Sardinian countries, with a frightening frequency of kidnappings and armed conflicts, in which 23 people were killed, including 5 agents of Public Security. It can also be a random coincidence, but the fact is that the overwhelming upsurge of banditry of the years 1966-1969, beginning 4–5 years after the law n. 588 on the Piano di Rinascita (Plan of Rebirth), in the years when it begins to appear clearly the ineffectiveness of this latter. The law is of June 1962.

In 1966, the banditry explodes with between 81 murders and attempted murders, 67 robberies, 19 attempted robberies, 55 extortions, 11 kidnappings. On August 12, 1966 was seized in the territory of Orgosolo, a 14-year-old boy, Giuseppino Vedele, who was held captive for 14 days in the hollow of a large tree. In 1967, four kidnappings were carried out in the month of August. In three years (1966–1968) were carried out 33 kidnappings for ransom, exactly 11 every year, the highest number ever in the history of Sardinian banditry and never achieved in any country in the world. In August 1972, in Lanusei, six bandits enter in the house of the doctor Vincenzo Loddo. The first to notice the bandits is his wife who gets scared and starts to scream. The bandits lose his head and start shooting. Are killed in the shootout, the doctor, his brother, his wife, a nephew and one of the bandits. The tragic fact is remembered as the massacre of Lanusei. In July 1979, on the beach of Sa rena bianca (The white sand) in San Pantaleo (Olbia) are kidnapped Luigia and Cristina Cinque, mother and daughter, from Milan; will be held hostage for 80 days before being released in Nuoro after payment of a ransom of 550 million lire. On 19 August 1979, he was kidnapped in Umbria (the first kidnapping was made outside of Sardinia), Guido Freddi, who was then 13 years old. It brought in a niche carved out between the bushes, covered with a tarp. He was released after 28 days in a parking lot of the Autostrada del Sole, near Magliano Sabina.

On 27 August of that same year, in Tempio, are kidnapped the two most famous victims of kidnapping in Sardinia: the singer-songwriter Fabrizio De André and his girlfriend and future wife Dori Ghezzi. Are kept for 107 days chained inside a tent in the Monte Lerno, in Pattada. Are released near Benetutti after paying ransom of 550 million lire. The fact inspire you to Fabrizio De André the song Hotel Supramonte. Always caused a sensation in 1979 kidnapping of the two brothers Giorgio and Marina Casana, from Turin, picked up on the beach by a group of 15 offenders on August 22 and released on October 21, after payment of a ransom. In November 1983, he was kidnapped in Nuoro the pharmacist Gina Manconi. Would never return home. On 17 January 1985, an unprecedented fact happens in the panorama of kidnappings in Sardinia: Tonino Caggiari is kidnapped, a small business owner of Oliena. For his release mobilize not only to significant law enforcement agencies (Police, Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanza), but also a substantial group of citizens, villagers of Caggiari, mostly shepherds, who wanted to collaborate with the police. There was a tremendous firefight in the territory of Osposidda between Oliena and Orgosolo, where four fugitives were killed Giovanni Corraine, Giuseppe Mesina, Nicolò Floris from Orgosolo and Salvatore Fais said Speedy Gonzales, from Santulussurgiu, and the cop Vincenzo Marongiu of Mogoro. This shootout will go down in history as The Battle of Osposidda. On October 20, 1990, he was seized entrepreneur Giovanni Murgia of Dolianova. It's kept hidden for three months in a hole dug in a slope. He was released the following year in the countryside of Telti after paying a ransom of 600 million lire. The 15 January 1992 to Pantogia near Porto Rotondo, is kidnapped the little Farouk Kassam, son of Fateh Kassam a French-born Egyptian, owner of a hotel. The kidnappers carry the baby in the Supramonte, and moving from one place to another always keeping it hidden in caves carved into the rock reinforced with stone walls and covered with earth. To convince parents to pay the ransom, they cut a piece of an ear. The story of the little Farouk moved all Italy. The 10 July of that same year, was found in good health by the police near a dry stone wall in the place Iriài, between Orgosolo and Dorgali. You'll find out later (between endless arguments) that Farouk Kassam was released through the mediation of Graziano Mesina. In December 1994 he was kidnapped at the intersection of Borore, the contractor Vinci. Is held for almost a year before being released in October, after payment of a ransom of 4,000,000,000 lire. In May 1995 he was kidnapped at Abbasanta, Vanna Licheri that after 4 months of seizure falls ill and dies.[7] On 17 June 1997, in Manerbio, in the province of Brescia (another kidnapping made in Peninsula) is kidnapped the industrial entrepreneur Giuseppe Soffiantini. He was locked up in various hideouts in Calvana and the Prato mountains, where he was held in inhumane conditions for 237 days. It is one of the longest and most particular kidnappings occurred in Italy, and which fortunately was successful by virtue of the payment of a ransom of well 5,000,000,000 lire. During two different firefights during the kidnapping, were killed the fugitive Mario Moro from Ovodda and the police inspector of NOCS, Samuele Donatoni.

In 1997, he was kidnapped in Tortolì, Silvia Melis, daughter of engineer Tito Melis; is found in good condition on the road Nuoro-Orgosolo. On 28 May 2007 he was released the entrepreneur of Bonorva, Giovanni Battista Pinna said Titti. Even his father, had earlier threatened kidnapping, while a relative of his, who was also kidnapped never returned home. With laws that block the payment of ransom, the arrest of the fugitives and the best control of the territory, has drastically reduced the phenomenon of kidnapping. However, the crime has not disappeared, even from "rural" has evolved and has become "urban". The most common forms of crime of the 2000s are: the assault on transport vehicles and at ATMs with a lot of bulldozers and drug trafficking.

The new course of banditry

In the years 1966–1969, in the face of appalling frequency of kidnappings there were those who argued that this was to be considered as a new fact of Sardinian banditry, who was to give the impression of being in front of a new crime, the type of "gangster" and then to causes other than those of the past, no longer connected with the structure and conditions of the countryside of the island. After the seizure of the little Ghilardi and awesome revenge killings or followed a failed kidnapping attempt, the businessmen Ghitti in Ottana and missing a few kilometers from Cagliari, some publicists claimed, with polemical vigor, that the explanations of the phenomenon no longer had no current value. Those explanations, he wrote, were perhaps valid and useful to understand banditry "romantic" of the past, but the current and completely new, different and alien to social and economic motives. It is worth mentioning that even some prefects of the Fascist regime stressed several times that at the root of crime in rural Sardinia were the economic and social conditions of the inland areas; telegafico in a brief report sent to the Italian Ministry of the Interior, July 14, 1933, by the Prefect of Nuoro Chiaromonte was written verbatim: "... Means radicals can not recognize that measures of social and economic development of long-range, according to various reports contained in my reports, but in the meantime it is essential to fairly distribute public works next winter season, giving preference those character sanitary et et postponing school buildings beautification works."[8] The thesis of the new course of Sardinian banditry is based on the claim that in order to characterize different from the banditry of the past, "traditional", are essentially three aspects:

That would deny the nature of "rural" or "sheep-farming" of the phenomenon. It is true that the three aspects which underpin the thesis of the new course of banditry have characterized the criminal manifestations seriously after years of the Piano di Rinascita (Plan of Rebirth); is not true is that they are new aspects of banditry island. Quite the contrary is true: the bandits in the past, the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century, they committed their crimes with ruthlessness inconceivable; not only kidnapped, but they kidnapped and then murdered boys and girls; few exceptions, acted for profit and not spare traders, businessmen and wealthy people living in the city.[9]

The real new course of crime in Sardinia has since the mid-1960s with the collusion with subversive and politicians movements and the reinvestment of the ransom money in other criminal activities such as drug trafficking.

Collusion of the banditry with the Sardinian political subversion

The season of politics subversion, active in Italy since the early postwar years, it expanded in Sardinia in the mid-sixties and ended in the eighties, the late lead also in the peninsula. The contacts between the local bandits and militants of the extreme left and subversive organizations active in the red terrorism, such as the Brigate Rosse and Nuclei Armati Proletari, were partly helped by the detention of militant left-wing extremists in maximum security prisons of island, in a manner similar to the Mafia southern stays obliged in northern Italy, which influenced the birth of the Mala del Brenta. The most famous terrorist movements and paramilitary forces, who were born on the island, were Barbagia Rossa, Moviment Armato Sardo and Comitato di Solidarietà con il Proletariato Prigioniero Sardo Deportato (Committee of Solidarity with the Sardinian Deported Proletariat Prisoner), in the majority of communist and independentist ideology, within a decade claimed several attacks and kidnappings. Among the main supporters of the separatist and subversive because there was the publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, who repeatedly tried to make contact with various organizations with the intention of making independent Sardinia (with the help of pro-independence) and form a communist government (with the help of the subversive left) on the model approached by Fidel Castro in Cuba.[10] Taking into consideration the election of Graziano Mesina, the most notorious bandit of the crime of Sardinia, as the head of the rebel troops, an idea that was actually optioned by both subversive left as shown by the various contacts that have taken place by the secret services. In August 2004, we have news of a failed bomb attack, in Porto Rotondo, against the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, during the visit of British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Sardinia. This fact led to the arrest of 10 members of a separatist movement, called Organizzazione Indipendentista Rivoluzionaria (Independence Revolutionary Organization) and some elements belonging to the Nuclei Proletari per il Comunismo.

The figure of the bandit

Sardinians in the late nineteenth century began to hatch feelings of revenge and rebellion against authority. It is these feelings created the idealization of the figure of the bandit, seen not as a criminal, but as a hero and a liberator. After all, they called themselves fighters. The wrongs which the bandit revenge, they were considered a defense against bullying and ill-treatments revenge was considered justice if not a duty. And here was formed in the figure of the people bandit-hero. The economist Giorgio Todde told of a bandit who jumped into a river to save a carabiniere who had fallen while chasing him; this contributed to the growing admiration for these characters. Even Antonio Gramsci said he had been fascinated when he was young by the figure of Giovanni Tolu, the bandit of Florinas made famous by writer and journalist Enrico Costa from Sassari and from that of Francesco De Rosas. Sebastiano Satta felt admiration for the bandits beautiful, fierce and brave. The figure of the outlaw was also shot on the intellectuals. The Congressman Francesco Pais Serra wrote in his report: Even today, the legendary Sardinian bandit, perhaps more fabulous than true, attracts a mixture of romantic strength, brutal revenge and set of chivalric generosity naive minds of the people and a halo of sympathy naive, but tenacious, surrounds the head of him who, alone and weak, it is believed not fight against the right of society, but the claim against violence and bullying staff and authority: he knows how to use the cunning against the force, draw fierce and exemplary vengeance of whoever opposes, but protects those who, like him weak, protects and defends it. And it was so in fact, for the poor people who suffered the abuses of those who held the wealth and power. Girolamo Sotgiu in his History of Sardinia after the Unification, it calls into question a small group of owners, that with a basic but efficient system of blackmail imposed his will to the community. It was they, in fact, that the great majority of the population, peasants and shepherds could have land and labor, and so it was clear they wanted to obey if you physically get the chance to live."[11] These characters also had control of the City Council and then at their command you could not subtract. In a nutshell, the bandit was the poor man who rebelled against the rich. Among the bandits romantic include: Bastiano Addis Tansu, said Il Muto di Gallura, made famous by the writer Enrico Costa; Giovanni Tolu of Florinas;[12] Giovanni Corbeddu Salis of Oliena, called The Kingof the bush; the Serra Sanna brothers, especially his sister Mariantonia, called Sa reina (The queen) in the nineteenth century. Samuele Stochino of Arzana; Pasquale Tandeddu of Orgosolo; Giuseppino Càmpana said Rubinu, of Orune; Graziano Mesina said Gratzianeddu, of Orgosolo; Matteo Boe, the cold-eyed bandit of Lula, Attilio Cubeddu of Arzana and Giovanni Farina of Tempio in the twentieth century. The facts prove incontrovertibly that in reality, banditry "romantic" has never existed in Sardinia; it's just happened that some writers and poets have described the key romantic and they did rise to false emblem of individual cases of banditry bandits who began their career with a tragic crime of honor or a Vendetta for wrongs but that almost all, they ended up robbing and killing for profit. Who says that the brutality is one of the distinguishing factors of the new course, unaware apparently some chilling episodes of the past that is worth remembering. In 1899, the two bandits of Orune, Giovanni Moni and Giuseppe Goddi, killed a farmer of Benetutti in the presence of his wife and child; the disemboweled, quartered it, the detached head that they laid on a dry stone wall and the blood that was dripping with the curled mustache. The bandit Ciccio De Rosas of Usini, killed on the same day November 4, 1891, the doctor Giuseppe Michele Melis of Usini, Antonio Secchi and two women, Maria Antoinetta Sotgia and Clotilde Coco, one of which was in an advanced state of pregnancy. On 20 February 1897 the Italian Crown Prosecutor in Nuoro, Nonis, in a public speech were somehow figure of the fugitive that, reads, <<lives of crops, robberies and thefts, which quenches the thirst of human blood capriciously, which ambushes macchiasenza to expose themselves, which does not shy away from the extreme cowardice to reunite with many others like him troublemakers, to give the agent the death of the police...>> Another Italian Crown Prosecutor in Nuoro, Marcialis, so called bandits in his inaugural speech of the judicial year 1900 <<This hyenas always thirsty for human blood, this monsters, which should cancel the memory ...>> The truth is that the brutality has always characterized the banditry in Sardinia: On January 3, 1937 in the territory of Benetutti, Giovanni Pala of Orune, with an ax smashed the skull of the young Andrea Bellina, 17 years old, as she slept; Samuele Stochino in 1928, the famous bandit of Arzana, killed with a shot at point-blank Assunta Nieddu, a 10-year-old girl. In 1960 in Orgosolo, the kidnapped Pietrino Crasta was killed by his captors with a boulder that crushed his head;[13] in the New Year's Eve of 1966, to Ollolai, the fugitive Antonio Casula and his associates massacred the spouses Podda, sixties, and their grandson Michele of 11 years. The same applies with regard to the kidnapping of strangers to the sheep-farming world: in January 7, 1925 was seized a girl of 10 years, Wanda Serra, daughter of the mayor of Aidomaggiore, for which it was requested a ransom of 40,000 pounds, then reduced to 30,000. The child was found dead; authors were identified in the parish of Aidomaggiore, don Spanu, and Peppa Ziulu. July 6, 1933 were kidnapped the mayor of Bono, Pietro Molotzu, his wife, his daughter Maria, the teacher Pietrina Marongiu and the notary Ena; the kidnappers left all free except for the little Maria, 7 years old, for which demanded a ransom of 250,000 lire silver coins. The girl skeleton was found after more than a year. The authors discovered and arrested, they were bandits Congiu of Bottidda, Chironi of Nuoro and the Pintore brothers.[14] With regard to the fury of revenge, the German traveler Joseph Fuos in a letter of 1773 wrote: <<If a Sardinian vowed to another deadly hatred, there is no way to escape the fulfillment of this curse, that or go out of the country, or to slay the opponent. It is said, therefore, a Sardinian who followed him to his enemy to Naples, where he took refuge: it seems like there was reconciled with him, and led him to the tavern and the brothel, and stabbed him in the act here venereum, to kill, as he said, not only his body, but also eternally damn his soul. Now he tells this idea even more, but who attributed it to a Sardinian, has basically met the favorite passion of the people, and knew that their thirst for vengeance goes to the most extreme limits to which a man can get her. So it is not uncommon for a Sardinian is not content to kill his enemy, but he also abuses his body with bites, cuts and dismemberment, in the most compassionate way, that just recently took place in Sassari and there two heinous examples [...]. How different is also the way of thinking of men! If I say to a Sardinian in my homeland a murderer must die without hope grace at the hands of justice, it does the sign of the cross and says that I was born in a cruel people. But if this same Sardinian killed half a dozen men because of miserable disputes, and sworn death to another half dozen (and similar cases in this country if it finds more than one) he will not find anything cruel. >> [15]

Banditry and economy situation

Assuming that banditry was somehow connected to a feudal society and an economy based on archaic farming yet contemplated the ritual of transhumance, and grazing (considered as causes of criminal activity), they tried to make changes the social-economic structure, impact of Sardinia by different laws. In the nineteenth century it was introduced the Edict of Chiudende, which included the enclosure of land uncultivated pasture, to benefit the development of an agricultural economy and sedentary activities. It was introduced private property. In 1887 a severe economic crisis linked to the customs bloc with the France (main importer of cattle from the island) struck the Sardinia. This increased the deep latent discontent in the country, which resulted in the bloody events that shook the Barbagia in the last decade of the nineteenth century. In the early twentieth century were introduced industries for the production of cheese; the shepherd was transformed from master-merchant in keeper-milker. Thus was born the figure of the shepherd servant. In the beginning of the sixties was passed the Law on the Piano di Rinascita (Plan of Rebirth), which included the installation of factories in order to modernize an agricultural-pastoral economy to an industrial society. Although most of the laws for the betterment of the economy has not obtained the expected success and banditry has not eradicated, it is good to mention that in some areas where it was a process of transformation, we saw almost disappear or this phenomenon. This is the case of Gallura, that from the seventeenth century to the first half of the nineteenth century was the area most devastated by criminal incidents; after changing from nomadic to sedentary pastoral guidance, the Gallura banditry underwent an inflection up, almost to disappear altogether. Ignazio Pirastu, in his report also cites the example of the village of Oliena, according to a study done by Dr. Panico. The study has shown that the processes of rapid change of the regime and crop landowner paid equally rapid extinction of the phenomenon. In the conclusions of the investigation it is said: "The argument that an intensive agrarian transformation and the resulting improved economic conditions, has paid Oliena a regression of the sheep-farming and a drop in crime is fully proven by the investigation conducted on the spot. The agrarian transformation in Oliena occurred in two periods: from 1934 to 1939 and 1945 to 1960. Consequently, it was noted a steady reduction of the sheep-farming: 40,000 sheep from the 1900 ran to 15,000 in 1951 and 10,000 in 1955. In this period we had in Oliena an overall decrease of the crimes, both against the person and against property. The thesis is then confirmed by a reverse phenomenon, occurring from 1960 to 1969. In this period it is in fact registered in Oliena an increase in crimes against the person and against property than in previous decades. This increase corresponds to a recovery of the sheep-farming. In fact, after the 1956 is a gradual increase in sheep and goats Oliena that, from 10,000 in 1955, rising to 21,000 in 1964 and, further, to 24.589 at the end of 1967." Another test is made by the radical change in behavior of the colonies of the shepherds of Barbagia that have moved to other Italy regions and who have distinguished themselves, in general, hard work and honesty.[16]



  1. Francesco Floris,The Great Encyclopedia of Sardinia, vol.1, The Library of La Nuova Sardegna
  2. Angelo De Murtas, 100 years of our history - 1899-1906 the roots of violence, vol. 2, La Nuova Sardegna, 1991
  3. Niceforo in his essay La delinquenza in Sardegna (The delinquency in Sardinia - 1897) argued that: "The accursed race, that people all over Sardinia, Sicily and southern Italy should be treated equally with iron and with fire, condemned to death as inferior races of Africa and Australia" Alfredo Niceforo, La delinquenza in Sardegna (1897).
  4. Francesco Floris,The Great Encyclopedia of Sardinia, vol.1, The Library of La Nuova Sardegna
  5. Ignazio Pirastu, Sardinia under investigation - The report of Ignazio Pirastu on Sardinian crime, Banditi e Carabinieri, The Library of La Nuova Sardegna.
  6. were the same because presented to the debt collector the checks that they had removed the first time.
  7. are 33 in all the hostages that will no longer return home.
  8. Ignazio Pirastu, Sardinia under investigation - The report of Ignazio Pirastu on Sardinian crime, Banditi e Carabinieri, The Library of La Nuova Sardegna.
  9. Ignazio Pirastu, Sardinia under investigation - The report of Ignazio Pirastu on Sardinian crime, Banditi e Carabinieri, The Library of La Nuova Sardegna.
  10. Gnosis magazine of Italian intelligence, Sardinia, political laboratory.
  11. Angelo De Murtas 100 years of our history - 1899-1906 the roots of violence, vol. 2, 1991
  12. which, ever the writer Enrico Costa, devoted a biographical novel
  13. the case of the seizure Crasta is linked to the origin of the absconding of Graziano Mesina
  14. Ignazio Pirastu, Sardinia under investigation - The report of Ignazio Pirastu on Sardinian crime, Banditi e Carabinieri, The Library of La Nuova Sardegna.
  15. Joseph Fuos, Nachrichten aus der gegenwärtingen Verfassung Sardinia von dieser Insel, 1773.
  16. Ignazio Pirastu, Sardinia under investigation - The report of Ignazio Pirastu on Sardinian crime, Banditi e Carabinieri, The Library of La Nuova Sardegna.

Coordinates: 40°00′N 09°00′E / 40.000°N 9.000°E / 40.000; 9.000

Joseph Fuos in "Viaggiatori italiani e stranieri in Sardegna" di Francesco Casula, pagine 46-51, Alfa Editrice, Quartu Sant'Elena, 2015

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