San Lorenzo – Angrogna

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Hi there!
Today we are in the central square of the main hamlet of Angrogna, called San Lorenzo.
In particular, we are under the town hall, and this stone which you can see me on is known as “Peira de la reizoun”, which means “the reason’s stone”.

The Peira de la reizoun
The Peira de la reizoun

Probably you’re wondering the reason why this stone is called in such a curious way! Well, you have to know that a long time ago many decisions about justice among people of the village used to be taken ’round this stone.
For any fight or disagreement people used to meet here, and all of the people would be asked to give their deposition about what had happened.
It is told that witnesses used to say: “Béica, të lou giùrou eisì, së la pèira dë la reizoùn: së tu pàge ën lìtre, gìurou për tu, dë së no, sìou crëmë, giùrou për l’autre” (“listen , I swear right here, on the intellect’s stone; just pay me a liter – of wine – and I will testify for you, otherwise – may Heaven burn me alive – I will testify for the other one).
…bizarre way to solve problems, wasn’t it?! But it seems like it worked!

The Peira dei debi, across the street
The Peira dei debi, across the street

If we cross the road, just above the fountain of the square, you can see an odd squared-shaped stone. This is not, as well, a banal stone, but it is called “Peira dei debi”, which means “the debts’ stone”. Its legend is very ancient: it comes from Middle Age, more than 500 years ago!
At that time, in every village there used to be, in the main square, a pillory (an iron ring used to lock up people who did not solve their debts) placed on a stage from which everybody could see what would happen to debtors and understand what they would expect for themselves if they had not paid their debts on time.

The Peira dei debi
The Peira dei debi

In Angrogna, another procedure was used to punish people who did not solve their debts. Two rods with a crossbeam were tied to the two ends of the stone, then the sentenced person was tied with a rope, he was lifted and immediately after he was dropped on the stone. In this way he would take a hard “culatà” (a strong hit on his “behind”)… The number of hits depended on how big was his debt.
Furthermore, not only were convicts subjected to a big pain, but they were also fooled by all oft he spectators; the convicted person, indeed, used to say: “Pagou mei debi, perdou mei credi” (“I pay off my debts, but I lose my credibility”)
…can you just imagine the big pain???

How to get there
From Provincial Road 161, between Torre Pellice and Luserna San Giovanni, at the roundabout take the road to Angrogna (you’ll also find the traffic signals to Guieiza d’la Tana, Chabas and Vaccera). Follow the road and you’ll get to the main square of San Lorenzo.

Do you want to read the tale in Italian ?