Historical figure Lucio della Torre

Born in: 1696  - Died in: 1723
Firstborn of Sigismondo di Carlo and of the Venetian noblewoman Cecilia Mocenigo, he was born in 1696, probably in the castle of Villalta, and was immediately placed in an atmosphere saturated with hate, seething with violence. His family, in fact, long since crossed the boundaries of the usual noble arrogance, has, with bloody crimes, crossed the threshold of crime.

In the background, the paternal grandfather, Carlo di Sigismondo, was a little edifying: he was the prevaricator in the exercise of the captain of Trieste and Gorizia, where he protected, with partiality, the misdeeds of noble friends, murderer of a count Petazzi of Trieste, his rival, was imprisoned, in July 1671, in the Schlossberg fortress of Graz - for having seduced and abducted the wife of a high imperial dignitary and perhaps, also, because he was suspected of joining the conspiracy of the counts Zrinyi, Tattenbach and Nádasdy - to die on March 5, 1689.
Worse than he, if only because their wickedness, is meaner, if only because they lack the disastrous tragedy of Carlo, the three sons, Sigismondo, father of Lucio and Lucio and Girolamo, his uncles, all three dedicated to bravery and overwhelming. The first - chamberlain and intimate councilor of Leopold I, hereditary marshal of the county of Gorizia and that of Gradisca, butler of the province of Cragno, hereditary creditor of the Duchy of Carinthia - after a long sequela of misdeeds (in Udine, to have a better view, demolishes the poor houses of merchants, and the same claim to do, however, meeting resistance to damage of the noble Caimo) is declared, 9 ag. 1697, "banished", penalty, in case of transgression, the cutting of the head, by a sentence of the Council of Ten, the third, unpunished killer of a gardener, lives barricaded in the castle of Spessa, in Gorizia, dominating with a band of adherents; in the race with them in the matter of outsiders the second, who, dying prematurely in Udine, accuses them against each other for the division of the inheritance.

Desperate to put a hand on all the conspicuous patrimony - consisting of many lands and buildings and above all from the Friulian jurisdictions of Villalta, Ciconicco, San Vito di Fagagna and Cargnacco - and not satisfied with the only jurisdictions of Spessa and Sarcina in Goriziano, Girolamo sees in Sigismondo the obstacle to his obsessive aspiration, the "faculty" of the family "all fell into his only offspring". And already very serious "disgust" had arisen when the latter, against the will of that, had packed with Mocenigo, having, in addition to Lucio, also, in 1697, Charles, and thus undermining every foundation to the claims of the former. Incapable of the two by a reasonable agreement, the pro-undivided enjoyment of the goods causes continuous frictions, encourages the exasperation of grievances. Furious above all, in hatred, Girolamo, who, on November 15th. 1699, he introduces himself with accomplices, by stealth and nighttime, in the castle of Villalta, where Sigismondo resides, and, surprisingly, he fires and shoots at him. And it is an archibishop of Girolamo that strikes Sigismondo to the "straight thigh", so, "mortally wounded", the unfortunate dies of there in eight days, to Cargnacco (where his wife had him transported to cure him; surgeon, corrupted by the money of Girolamo, has been doing the opposite), while, on May 28, 1700, on the fratricide the sentence of the Council of Ten falls, declaring it, under penalty of cutting off the head the goods to the "confiscatione".

Spectator of an atrocious episode, Lucio must have remained traumatized at first and, in any case, indelibly marked. Precocious instincts are unleashed in him. In vain, his mother, in the anguish of escaping from the pernicious influence of places and memories, places him twelve years old, with his brother Carlo, near the Jesuits in Venice.

The child is immediately impatient of any discipline, riotous to any application, indifferent to any subject of study. It is impossible to keep him in a boarding school that leaves not yet a teenager to dive, unbridled and greedy, in the amusements and pleasures that Venice offers lavish to whoever it is, as it is, attractive in appearance, robust in its constitution and provided with money. But, as tempting and varied, the lagoon setting does not completely satisfy it. Right in the gymnastic exercises, experienced in riding, skilled in the handling of weapons and good fencer, the Lucio needs space for his irrepressible physicality to vent in gallop, in the hunt. Violent and overbearing also require him an environment in which to lord it over without being caught up. The castle of Villalta is suitable for all this, where it is backed by wealthy villains, almost in competition with the cousins, the sons of the father's assassin, cruelly on shabby villagers, cackling at night in the villages, threatening, terrifying, extorting and pushing back , to the sound of beating, the timid protests of relatives of the girls seduced or even raped. It is far from the capital that the protouted adolescent savors the exhilaration of despotic and prevaricating arbitrariness, which abandons itself to a systematic, assiduous, murderous vexation of gratuitous sadism. Torvo his semblant, not homologated to the bad habit of a nobility neofeudale incognita. There is something tremendous in his rage in the countryside: excessive, murky, even his dull ferocity.

Frightened, the mother deludes herself to soften it by giving him as soon as possible wife. Hence the wedding of March 29, 1712, with Eleonora, daughter of Count Giovanni Enrico of Madrisio (perhaps the same man who, with other riders, participates in the homage embassy of the Parliament of Friuli on May 29, 1676: An embassy ... of Friuli in Venice, for the wedding F. Fior-R. Levis, Milan 1890, p.13), castellan of San Martino del Friuli. But marriage with a meek and submissive young woman does not turn out to be a good palliative, rather it irritates him, annoys him, exasperates him. For - while his mother dies in Pordenone, in the "noble and delightful abode" often inhabited by Lucio and his brother, one suspects poison by his son - he proves to be rude, brutal, even in conjugal life. And, surprised his wife while, with his little son Carlo around his neck, he complains of him crying with a priest, he lashes on her with a stick; and, as this instinctively avoids itself, the blow, destined for her, ends up, shattering it, on the infant's head. Nor does he regret having killed his son, only annoyed by his wife's desperate weeping.

Truculent criminal in the home, Lucio is also outside. He has now turned from an unbridled little boy into a precociously precocious thug and, at the same time, into a veritable organized crime. His "reprobate and wicked custom of life" - so disdainfully the Council of Ten - takes on an entrepreneurial attitude rising to a genuine public threat, which accumulates "crimes" on "crimes", perpetual, especially in Pordenone and in the area of ​​Noale where he had a palace, "serious violence against life and substance of the subjects".

Gathering around him a jumble of shady characters, bandits, habitual thugs, assassins transforms her from a masochada into a small personal army: she has about four hundred "sgherri", with a sort of uniform (a hat) wide-brimmed with green cockade, with green shoulder and with black badges), obedient to every gesture. In this way, violence on the territory is caused by episodic, continuous and profitable cutting. The D., 20 year-old leader, can flaunt, with immense "ambition", an "authority" that, as the Council of Ten notes, is opposed to "the true and venerable" of the Republic. The "arrogance" is dressed by "abusive authority" issuing "spurious patents" and "bulletins with their signature and seal". In total disregard of the "duties", the D. oversees a contraband orchestrated on a large scale: whence the "fiercely" beatings bestowed upon the "Mestre officers" who try to prevent it. In addition, by the D., the imposition of tolls and transit permits to the "river passadori", the granting of "licenses for arms licenses", the imperious order to "bottegai" and "osti" of provide "meat, salt, bread and other" whose payment, if there is and when there is, is fixed at his "will." An intolerable "haughtiness", a "cruelty" stained by a sequence of "abominable violence", moreover, of those who, like the D., is "debtor of very large sums" all'Erario in the obstinate refusal of correspond "tithes and other seriousness".

Late in 1716 (in the same year in which the Augustinian theologian Carlo Giuliano Ferrucci, recalling the past and present splendor of Della Torre, defines "knight adorned with rare virtues" the murdered father of D., effigies the fratricidal uncle of the D as a quiet income man who "lives happily" and, as regards the D., assures him "knight ... of youthful age" who "nurtures ponto spirits degenerating from those of his more than illustrious ancestors": and, flying over the fact that the D. has killed his firstborn, the pen of the friar makes the second son Sigismondo, defined, in fact, "male child appeared at the first birth in the light"), hurled at him two sentences, one of April 20, Council of Ten, the other, of October 15, of the rector of Treviso. Another disgraceful, very scandalous in the eyes of the Council of Ten, the affair embellished by the D. with a "civil woman" (the beautiful Rosalba, wife of a clerk of the Executors against blasphemy), that he, after having emptied the home of the consort of the joys and of the personal effects, induces to escape with itself provoking "scandal and universal murmuring". Not enough: regardless of the "duplicate sentences" against him, the D., daring and mocking, appears several times in Venice "with a large number of satellites all armed like him by firearms", where he frequents various women available and hangs , gallant, with nuns.

Disdainful and superb challenge to the authority of the state especially the shameless reappearance in the city for the carnival of 1717, when, "by post", the "mask" is removed in the "ridiculous and in other public places", determined to "be well known "and recognized by everyone. To this end, on the fat Thursday, the crowds of Piazza S. Marco stunned themselves on a buggy pulled by six Croatian horses. A blatant provocation that conies on the impotence of justice, a arrogance without limits, a bold certainty of impunity and, at the same time, a sensational display of contempt. The D. "almost" attributes - observe the Ten, so admitting that it, the justice of the State, is hesitant, does not dare to crush such a flagrant mockery - "to its strength or sagacity" as it is, instead, "the effect of prudence and of the conjunctures ", as, euphemistically, the Ten define the absence of an executive act.

After that, satisfied, the D. repairs to Pordenone, then, to Udine; and in that territory it continues in the "damn use of its most odious extortions" and its detestable soperchierie. Wherever he passes he leaves the "painful footprints of ... robberies practiced" under the eyes of the authorities. The "always numerous accompaniment of assassins" guarantees him the accumulation of the "substances of poor unpaid sellers". Burning slap by the law such "full licentiousness of living", grilling humiliation for the representatives of the state the shameless impudence of his public progress with "numerous frightening accompaniment" of jokes with guns always "discovered". We reach the point that, in Udine, at the passage of a "votive procession" - attended by the lieutenant, prelates, "deputies", nobles - in front of his palace, the men at his service are lined up "in the form of a backrest "along the facade, with weapons flattened. Nor is the now certain demolition of this - the fear that, the D., still in 1715, had tried, with cunning trickery, to sell it to relatives - fold the "abominable impudence" of the D .; on the contrary, his "scandalous audacity" is induced to devise further provocations. His "scelleraggine" yearns to the direct challenge, therefore, does not perish, "to provoke all the major lightning of public authority". At first it goes to Noale with its many "patents", then, on the evening of 10 June 1717, near Treviso, settling "at the fair's tavern", from where the "country captain" was hunted, surprised by a flood of rain, he had sought refuge with his tiny "squad of soldiers". Nor does he fail to scold him harshly for daring "to present himself while he was Lucio".

The next day, always with his own, the D. reaches Padua and here he has fun, with his carriage pulled by six horses, to cut the road to the others, while the "infamous party" of forty of thugs that the accompanies, after having cackled and provoked, he arranges himself as a guard in front of his temporary lodging in the "village of S. Croce", where, with his spite, he allocates "some soldiers". On June 16, the D. comes out of the house in a war setting, with the "armor of iron", with the harquebus in hand, the gun at his side, surrounded by the followers of the sequel, all very armed. He seems determined to "attack the house where the soldiers were housed". He receives it, however, a shot of rifileria, to which he promptly replies. For a quarter of an hour there is a violent shooting in the city, in which the D. has the worst: one of his bravacci is shot dead, two others wounded, who will then be hanged in Piazza delle Erbe, fleeing all others. Injured the same D., who escapes the capture by repairing, dressed as a Benedictine, in Villalta and then putting himself in safety "outside the Venetian State". For his misfortune this time the Republic shows its most severe face. The condemnation of the Council of Ten, which banishes it from the entire territory of the Serenissima, is terrible and definitive; if, "breaking the border", you will be captured, he will be "cut off his head", in Piazza S. Marco, "between the two columns". Of 2,000 ducats the size for its desirable "captori" or "interfettori", in Veneto, of 4,000 for those "in alien lands". Confiscated all his "movable and stable assets", whose proceeds are primarily intended for the compensation of the "particular" innumerable "damaged" by him. Furthermore, it is replaced by the "title of count" and by "what is another noble title". "Demolished", finally, and "flattened" - will be the same lieutenant Giovanni Sagredo to give the first shots of pickaxe - his elegant Udinese mansion (the palace already Marchesi) and erected, in its place, a column (which will come, however , torn down the night of 28-29 July 1797) with an inscription on his perpetual infamy, in his indelible ignominy.

It is worthless that the D., from Gorizia, where he has settled with the beautiful Rosalba, begs forgiveness, whining bringing up the compassion due to the "abandoned consort", to the "abandoned offspring". All he can do is to get along with the life of the exile. Without more good around, with no more income, no more income from extortion, a little 'lives with the money that his father-in-law sends him, a little' s'ingegna and even s'impiega nell'acceda "tax. But the work does not suit him and he soon abandons it. Left by Rosalba, he intertwines relationships with women of every age and condition, always right in the act of acquiring the most precious joys and golds. Therefore, disliked in Gorizia, he moved to Tolmino, even here distinguishing himself for scapescaggine and aggressive initiative of tireless womanizer. According to an anonymous biographer - a certain contemporary of Udine and in all probability ecclesiastical - this is so uncontrolled that "many females of high and low spheres" remain pregnant with D., very unpopular therefore to the inhabitants of the small center. It would be more appropriate for him to take advantage of the hospitality offered by his relative Count Rizzardo Strassoldo (he was the brother of his mother-in-law, Elisabetta di Strassoldo) who lives in the castle of Farra with his wife Mariana Malvicchia (very proud, in his time, the wedding with this ché di humili Native, to the point that his brother Marzio had tried to kill him with arquebus shots, therefore being banned, Marzio Strassoldo, however, after having served in the service of Louis XIV, will then be forgiven by the emperor who will appoint him as captain of Trieste ) and two teenage sons, Niccolò and Ludovica.

A guest without scruples, D. at first seduces his wife, so he prefers to his mature attractions the coolest graces of his daughter who incautiously gets pregnant. Great, in learning it, the anguish of the mother, dangerous for the D. the anger of the brother who demands reparative nuptials. There is the drawback that the D., the seducer, is married to Eleonora, cousin, among other things, of Ludovica. Hence the decision - shared by him - to get rid of his wife, so that he can convene a legitimate marriage with Ludovica. Quick consultation of the methods of murder. Niccolò Strassoldo, with a maid his lover, Orsola Sgognico, went on February 2. 1722, in Noale, where he lives with his sons Eleonora, the wife of the D., gladly supported by this, pleased to have news of her husband. After a few days' stay, on 8 February, Nicholas Strassoldo enters Eleonora's room and smashes his skull with the butt of a pistol. Then he rushes away with his lover to Farra.

Once the crime has been discovered, it is easy to go back to the author and to the accomplices. Fear of indignation for the "iniquitous murder", the Council of Ten, on March 16, at the conclusion of a trial in absentia, issues sentence of capital ban against the "wicked and evil person" of the D., his "cousin carnale "executor material of the crime and its accomplice Orsola Sgognico said" Gurissizza ", all three" absenti, but legitimately cited ". As for the "dominican house placed in Noale, in which the" enormous murder "was carried out, the Ten ordered to be" demolished by foundations "with the erection, in its place, of a column (this too will be demolished in 1797 ) where the "words" are remembered in memory of the "prodigious commission" of the D. "of murder" at the hands of the other two. Sensible to the pressing Venetian insistence of exemplary punishment the Viennese court, where bad is the fame of the D. who has already been relegated for four months in prison in the castle of Ljubljana for having deflected the daughter of an imperial baron of Klagenfurt. Even in Vienna, therefore, it was decided to crush once and for all its misdeeds, especially since the murdered, the unfortunate Eleonora, is a nephew of Giovanbattista Colloredo, cesarean representative in Venice. As soon as the news of the atrocious episode spread, the captain of Gradisca tried, with thirty men, the capture, being, however, rejected with three severely wounded soldiers. It comes prompt - such an information, February 20, of that Mattia Moro, perhaps head of the bargello of Udine - "a reinforcement of 150 soldiers with 8 pieces of cannons". Thus, the assault on the castle of Farra is renewed, with more calm, after three "nights" and two "days" of siege, it surrenders. The D. and the murderer are translated into prison in Gradisca with his mother, sister and lover, "Gurissizza".

During the process, the D. first tries to unload all responsibility on Niccolò Strassoldo and his mother and there are "qualified knights of Gorizia" who consider him "innocent", convinced the "infamous resolution" is above all of Niccolò '"dreadful murder" from the will to rob poor Eleonora. But it is a thesis that does not persuade the judges who agree in attributing to the D., to Marianna Strassoldo, to his son the concertation of the crime, while the direct responsibility of the latter is pacifying him with his own hands. The position of Ludovica and of "Gurissizza" is lightened, more passive spectators of the wickedness of the first three who are actively accomplices. In fact, it is only these three convicted, with a sentence that reached Gradisca on June 26, 1723, after being signed on the 16th by the Emperor Charles VI, to the public torture. On 3 July 1723, the execution took place in Gradisca.

The D. (to which, at the last, by disposition of Vienna, the wheel is saved), received the absolution, during which he seems more crushed by the regret of his nequizia that terrified of the cleaver's knife, is beheaded; cut off the head also to Marianna Strassoldo which was previously inflicted "a tunic in the straight arm"; but it is above all on Niccolò that the liturgy of the execution fills up, because at first the right is cut off, then it is gripped twice, and finally, the head is severed, together with the left hand. As for her lover, she is obliged to attend all three decapitations and then to serve, for a year, with the chain at her foot, in the hospital of the Gradiscan fortress. The young Ludovica, recently the mother of the son of D., having fallen into swoon, is spared the spectacle of the death of her lover, brother, mother. It will then be locked up in a convent and the "tender infant" she gives birth will be entrusted to a "midwife" and will live, then, thanks to a modest grant from the court. Meanwhile, the Serenissima, in a jolt of concomitant severity, condemns the banishment of the brother of D. Carlo and his cousins ​​sons of Girolamo, the murderer of his father, in the hope of ending their abuses and their bravado. Of course the decapitation of D. stains the honorability of all Della Torre, even those with which the ties of kinship are almost non-existent. The fact is that, when Charles VI arrived in Gorizia, in the solemn mass of 5 September. 1728, they do not have the usual honor of preceding the emperor with the broadsword in his hand.

Of the two legitimate sons of D., Cecilia is married to the Cividale Riccardo de Portis and Sigismondo, who was born in Pordenone in 1715 and died there in 1804, thanks to his commendable behavior concomitant with the road of a different legal sensitivity for which the children they must not discount the faults of their fathers, they will have the possibility of recovering property and being given titles.

Lucio della Torre Visited places

Castello di Villalta

 Via Castello, 27 - 33034 Villalta di Fagagna - Udine
Castle/Fortress/Tower, Wedding/Convention/Concert location

In a dominant position on the green Friulian plain lies the Castle of Villalta, the most important of the region's medieval manors. see

Offered services

Location for Ceremonies and Conferences, Park / Labyrinth / Pond / Garden

Time period
Middle Ages

Italy, Udine