Collegno, Turin: two thousand years of history

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Author Alessandro 11 September 2022
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Every meter of our country has witnessed millennia of lively and intense history. Yet most of the cities and towns - if we exclude the ones of art and the classic destinations - seem to lack any kind of tourist-cultural attraction.

Certainly, the lack of promotion by local institutions is to blame, but not less the the lack of knowledge of their historical past.

This is the reason why I decided to write a series of guides about towns and cities which hide important historical, artistic, architectural, cultural or natural jewels, but generally ignored due to their position outside the traditional tourist routes.

Collegno: two thousand years of history of an ancient post station

Immediately to the west of Turin there is a town of 50,000 souls, which at first would seem of little interest for the traveler. But If we put aside a certain carelessness that seems to envelop the place (untreated plants on the sides of the streets and many abandoned buildings) we will discover several pearls unknown to most.

We are talking about the city of Collegno, a lowland area on the outskirts of the Piedmont capital, crossed by the Dora Riparia river in the final stretch of its route.

The strip of land between the two shores is now part of the Agro-natural Park of the Dora: a protected area divided between wooded relic and agricultural lands delimited by bealere: medieval irrigation canals that draw water from the Dora.

The green area that runs along the meandering of the river, a ecological corridor that intersects the routes of many migratory birds, becoming an important stopping point, has now become, with the establishment of the cycle-pedestrian path of the Dora river Park, a destination of MTB enthusiasts and nature lovers.

But the Dora natural Park with its pedestrian and cycle path in nature is just one of the many fascinating places in this country with such an anonymous appearance.

Collegno, Province of Turin
Collegno, Province of Turin

The map: Collegno (TO)

In the map below we have indicated the historical points of interest (in brown), the natural ones (in green), the cycle-pedestrian path (in fuchsia), the car parking wehere (in September 2022) camper and van is tolerated. Finally, we have marked the points where it is possible to obtain water supplies.

All this information, as well as the fact that parking is tolerated, may vary in the future.

A bit of history

Roman period Ad Quintum

** Ad Quintum Collegium **: the ancient mansion on the Via delle Gallie

Collegno has arisen two thousand years ago as a mansio (post office), along the ancient Via delle Gallie, which, passing through the Mont Cenis, connected France to the Po Valley.

In 28 BC born the Roman colony Julia Augusta Taurinorum: today’s Turin. Travelers need safe roads and places of rest.

The Turin area becomes militarily important when Cesare embarks on the campaigns of Gaul.

At the time of the Emperor Titus (about 80 A.D.), near the current Church of San Massimo, the first nucleus of Collegno stands with the name of Ad Quintum Collegium, due to its position five miles from Turin (in latin quintum means fift). It has a military garrison, a hotel, stables and car and fodder warehouses.

Shopkeepers, artisans, peasants and a priestly college set up by the Romans to spread the imperial sentiment and guard the tombs settled there.

Due to the college the mansio begins to be called Collegium ad Quinto. Later Ad Quinto disappears, leaving Collegium and later Collegno.

Nearby there are other mansio including Settimo (Ad Septimum) and None (Ad Nonum).

Collegno in the Lombard period

In 568 AD the Lombards of King Alboin invaded the north of the Italian peninsula with over 100,000 warriors.

Fights followed, at the end of which they settled in many cities and towns in northern Italy, including Turin and nearby Collegno, where a small Gothic necropolis and a much larger Lombard necropolis were found.

Collegno in the early Middle Ages: the castle and the historic center

In the year 1000 Collegno was under the dominion of the Savoy family. In 1171, Umberto III built a castle on a hill carved out by a bend of the Dora.

The fort consists of five defense towers, one side inaccessible due to the presence of the Dora and the only access through a moat with a drawbridge.

The new town develops around the castle: the current historic center. The previous settlement around San Massimo was abandoned.

In 1228 Collegno passed to the Marquises of Monferrato and return to the Savoy after 10 years, with the investiture of Tommaso the Count of Savoy as the first Lord of Piedmont by Emperor Frederick II.

In 1252 the Castle was largely destroyed by the struggles between Turin - led by the Bishop - and Thomas III of Savoy.

In 1259 the Bishop of Turin Gandoifo succeeds in taking the Castle away from Americo di Crusinaldo.

In 1275 Collegno returned under William VII, Marquis of Monferrato, who rebuilt the Castle. In 1290 William VII was arrested by Amedeo V, Count of Savoy, who took back Collegno and gave it as a fief to Philip, Prince of Acaja.

From 1301 to 1367 between the cousins ​​Savoia and Acaja there were continuous fights, Collegno was sacked several times and the Castle conquered.

In 1320 it passed to Lanteimo, son of Filippo d’Acaja and remained in the d’Acaja family until 1598, when the last descendant of Filippo, Emanuele Filiberto, died of the plague.

In 1348 and 1349 the black plague raged in Europe. From 1500 to 1650 the lands of the Duchy of Savoy were tormented by wars. In 1510, in 1575 and between 1599 and 1600 the black plague returns.

On March 29, 1599, Carlo Emanuele I, Duke of Savoy, grants the Castle of Collegno as a fiefdom to Giovanni Francesco Provana di Carignano, Lord of Bossolino and Gorra, who, fighting alongside him against the French invaders, lost all assets.

Collegno in 1600

Having become a feudal lord and grand chancellor of the Savoy, Giovanni Francesco Provana assumes the title of first Count of Collegno. Between 1600 and 1644, together with his son Ottavio, second Count of Collegno, he rebuilt the Castle, almost in ruins.

In 1626, while Collegno has almost 700 inhabitants and Turin 25,000, the plague returns, killing 3,000 in Turin and a large part of the of Collegno’s inhabitants.

In 1641 the order of the Carthusian Fathers was called to move to Collegno by the regent Maria Cristina. In 1648 the construction of the **Certosa di Collegno ** begins, which will be completed in the early 1700s.

Collegno in 1700: the French domination

In 1700 the Piedmontese troops repelled the invader from beyond the Alps, but less than a century later, in 1798, Piedmont fell to Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Tree of Liberty is erected in front of the Collegno Castle. The methods of French administration and government and the universal principles of the 1989 Revolution were established.

Collegno in 1800: the Restoration

The French domination ends in 1815 with the Congress of Vienna which returns the lands of the Savoy to Vittorio Emanuele.

In 1840 the church of the Certosa was officially declared the Chapel of the order of the Santissima Annunziata by Carlo Alberto, but only 12 years later the entire area on which it stands was destined for the new psychiatric hospital.

In fact, in 1854 the Royal asylum of Turin was transferred to the Certosa of Collegno, which, given its position in the countryside, allows the patients to be employed in an agricultural colony.

Several successive extensions of the building and the addition of nineteenth-century buildings arranged in a comb - called pavilions (in italian padiglioni) - transform the Collegno’s Asylum into one of the largest internment structures in Italy.

The era of industry

In 1838 Collegno had 1776 inhabitants, 700 of whom were employed, divided between spinning factories, a leather tanning and an ironworks for the agricultural tools production.

In 1850 the first production of small brass parts for umbrellas was born and developed. In 1853 the Borgo Nuovo was born.

In 1854 cholera raged. The Municipality equips an emergency hospital, but in a few days the epidemic kills 70 people.

Between 1871 and 1955 Collegno was served by two <a href=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrow-gauge_railway” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener nofollow”>narrow-gauge railway lines</a>: Torino-Rivoli (1871-1955) and Torino-Pianezza (1884-1951).

In 1880 the brass shops are 6 and Collegno has a religious-run kindergarten and an elementary school. From 1874 to 1882 Laios Kossuth, a Hungarian statesman, friend of Mazzini, Cavour and Garibaldi, stayed in Collegno. Italy is was united under the Savoy family.

The twentieth century

At the end of the century Collegno has 4491 inhabitants, it has become an industrial center but still has many agricultural areas.

Among the industries, Cotonificio Leumann (Leumann cotton mill ) , known as il Fabbricone (that in Italian means the big factory), employs 900 workers.

A unique workers’ village was built around the Fabbricone at the behest of its owner. It is the Leuman Village.

The world wars

Between 1915 and 1918 seventy men from Collegno fell on the fronts of the Great War.

On 8 September 1943, some young anti-fascists from Collegno enlisted in the partisan gangs of the Susa, Lanzo and Monferrato valleys.

Between 30 April and 1 May 1945 during a raid they attack and kill some retreating German soldiers.

In retaliation Germans execute 32 people. Among the victims there are Don Sapino, parish priest of Savonera, and Don Caustico, priest from Grugliasco.

The German retaliation is followed by a new revenge by the partisans, who take 29 soldiers of the R.S.I. (Italian social republic, the state in which Mussolini’s loyalists gathered following the armistice) from the places of detention and shoot.

When the Republic was proclaimed on 2 June ‘46, Collegno, like most Italian municipalities, had a considerably lower standard of living than other Western European countries (such as France, Switzerland, England and Germany).

The services were insufficient, as the public lighting. The transport lines were limited to the service of a few private buses and the Turin–Rivoli train. Several civil industries in the city were damaged by the Ango-American bombing.It needed schools, homes and infrastructure.

The costs that the public administration has to bear are very high. Industrialization and the move towards a financial deficit radically change the appearance of Collegno.

The economic boom

Between the 1950s and 1960s urban expansion accelerated, especially along Corso Francia, and the buildings of Collegno merges with the Turin one. As a result, the industry expands from Turin to Collegno.

The boom of capitalism attracts masses of emigrants first from the fields and mountains of Piedmont, then from Veneto and South Italy. The new workers find employment in the new industrial factories, mainly textiles and metalurgical.

On January 31st 1980, Collegno was granted the title of City.

What to see in Collegno

The Charterhouse of Collegno

The construction of the Royal Charterhouse of Collegno was commissioned in 1641 by Christina of France, regent of Savoy, on the architectural model of Grande Chartreuse of Grenoble (France).

The Charterhouse of Collegno
The Charterhouse of Collegno

From 1595 the monks of the Charterhouse of Banda, a locality above Villar Focchiardo, had moved to Avigliana. In 1629, duke Carlo Emanuele I, in order to expand the fortifications of the city, was forced to evict them, promising to find a new home. But the war, the plague and the peace of Cherasco prevented the duke from keeping the pacts.

The Carthusians then returned to Banda.

The new duke, Vittorio Amedeo I, wanted to keep his father’s promises but died in 1637 without being able to give the Carthusians a new home.

The widow, Maria Christina of France, Duchess of Savoy and France king’s sister, who went to France to visit her brother Louis XIII, was hosted in Grenoble in the Grande Chartreuse. There she vowed that, if she obtained peace, he would build a charterhouse.

In the year 1641, to keep his promise, she bought numerous meadows and woods on the site of the current Certosa. The Carthusians from Avigliana were finally called to occupy the new Certosa, dedicated to the Annunziata, patroness of the House of Savoy.

Collegno charterhouse
Collegno charterhouse

The Charterhouse becomes the new seat of the Carthusian monks and will remain so for over 200 years. In this period of time, the monastic complex is gradually enriched with architectural and artistic works.

Among the most illustrious names who collaborate in the construction are Maurizio Valperga, the monarch’s first engineer, called to design the complex, and Filippo Juvarra, designer of the eighteenth-century extension known for the construction of the entrance portal.

The entrance portal of the Collegno charterhouse
The entrance portal of the Collegno charterhouse

Santissima Annunziata church, tombs of the Knights of the Santissima Annunziata and Aula Hospitalis are part of this first historical complex.

With the annexation to the Napoleonic Empire in 1802, the Carthusians of Collegno suffered the same fate of all religious institutions, which, deprived of their substances, were forced to dissolve.

The buildings of the Certosa become state property and subsequently private.

On the return of the Savoy, the Collegno charterhouse is reopened and the monks regain possession of the buildings. But in 1816 it is far from its ancient splendor.

Collegno’s Asylum

In the 19th century, various updates were done giving the Charterhouse its current appearance.

The asylum of Collegno
The asylum of Collegno

A few years after its construction Turin royal asylum was overcrowded, so they started to think about a new accommodation for the inmates. A location is sought on the outskirts of Turin, possibly in the vicinity of a big field where the most tranquil patients can devote themselves to agricultural work.

Villa Cristina, in Savonera, owned by the widow of Carlo Felice, is purchased, but the administration of the asylum declared that the air of Savonera was unhealthy. Accommodations in Rivalta, Montaldo and Rivara and in the castle of Rivoli are discarded.

The attention then falls on the land of Collegno charterhouse. In 1852 they made a proposal for the purchase of the Carthusian monastery.

The monks, perhaps to escape the suppression of religious corporations, offer the monastery premises for the temporary accommodation of eighty inmates, initially only men, considering the cloistered regime that prevailed there. The psychiatric hospital administration accepts the offer.

The asylum of Collegno
The asylum of Collegno

On 29 July 1853, Minister Urbano Rattazzi informed the management that he had decided to use the Collegno charterhouse as the new asylum.

On August 10, hospitalized women are also transferred from Turin.

The coexistence between the Carthusians and the asylum guests proves difficult right from the beginning: the Carthusians deny the inmates even the possibility of walking in the cloister and working in the fields.

The cholera epidemic of 1854 claimed numerous victims, both in the Turin hospital and in the Collegno branch.

Once the epidemic is over, the government appoints a commission that pronounces itself favorably on the total transfer of the psychiatric hospital to Collegno.

1855 was the year in which religious corporations were suppressed. All the Carthusians assets passed to the Ecclesiastical Fund which demanded payment a large rent.

The park of the asylum of Collegno
The park of the asylum of Collegno

Rather than pay the rent, the hospital management accelerated the negotiations for the purchase of the monastery. In 1856 the deed of sale was signed: the Collegno charterhouse and all its land passed into full ownership of the Royal Asylum.

The Collegno’s Asylum has a two-century library - only recently rediscovered - which boasts a collection of 14,000 volumes. From the documents it appears that in 1878 the inmates collaborated in its management.

In 1927 the events of the Smemorato di Collegno (forgetful of Collegno ) jumped to the headlines.

Meanwhile, the number of hospitalized patients continued to increase dramatically, leading to the opening of a provincial shelter in Strada Pianezza and a branch in Grugliasco.

In 1930, inside the Collegno’s asylum, the Regina Margherita Villas department was created, intended for retirees. In the ‘40s, the psychiatric hospital reached its maximum extension: twenty pavilions connected by a small internal railway line that ran under the arcades: the Decauville.

The asylum of Collegno
The asylum of Collegno

1978 was the year of laws 180 and 833, which marked the beginning of the overcoming of psychiatric hospitals. With the application of Basaglia’s law, the wards are transformed into communities and the patients became guests. Finally, with the Garavaglia decree of 1997 there was the total abolition of psychiatric hospitals in Italy

Once the psychiatric hospital was closed, the complex is partly abandoned, partly used as offices. The park, converted into an urban park with sports facilities, musical and theatrical events, is now accessible to all.

The boundaries of the hospital area coincided with the wall, partially demolished in the eighties.

The structure became famous for the **Smemorato di Collegno ** and **the electrician **, events that are told at the end of this article.

Hall of the Arts

In the greenery of the park of the former psychiatric hospital there is the “Church of the Villas”, built for the patients and staff of the facility. Since 1996, with the definitive closure of the hospital activities, the church has become the Collegno Hall of the Arts (Sala delle Arti): a cultural place for exhibitions and figurative art.

The Hall of the Arts hosted illustrious names such as Marc Chagall, Francisco Goja, Aligi Sassu, Umberto Mastroianni, Marino Marini, Francesco Casorati, and Ugo Nespolo.

Hall of arts in Collegno
Hall of arts in Collegno

All the exhibitions in the Hall are open to the public and free.

Steam Laundry

Perhaps the best known building inside the park is the Steam Laundry, built between 1870 and 1875 on a project by ing. Fenoglio to be used for washing Royal Asylum clothes.

Collegno steam laundry
Collegno steam laundry

An arena for outdoor shows has been set up in the courtyard of the structure. It has become one of the most important stages in Italy, first with the Colonia Sonora festival and then with the Flower Festival.

Some of the most well-known artists who have succeeded on the stage in the courtyard of the Laundry are Deep Purple, Motorhead, Lenny Kravitz, Placebo, The Cult, Alice in Chains and Patti Smith.

Steam-laundry in Collegno
Steam-laundry in Collegno

On the official website of the Steam Laundryyou can find the calendar of its events, not to be miss if you decide to visit Collegno.

From the historic center to the old mill through the Balcunets

In front of the chapel of the Madonnina we find a staircase that leads from the historic center of Collegno to the old mill through a pedestrian walkway.

Pedestrian walkway in Collegno
Pedestrian walkway in Collegno

Crossing the Dora through this shortcut, called “I Balcunet” from the starting site called porta dei balconi (balconies door) or Balcunet we reach the old mill and the Rolla spinning mill which in the early 1900s occupied many women and girls from Collegno.

The balcunet leading to the chapel of the Madonnina
The balcunet leading to the chapel of the Madonnina

The mill retains its rectangular plan and remained in its original state until and after the 2000s, when heavy renovations distorted its original appearance, transforming it into residential homes and places of business and associations.

Near the staircase, at the intersection of via Amedeo d’Aosta (the main road of Collegno) and Via Gioito, there is the Ghetto house, of late medieval layout, in which it is assumed that the ancient municipal council (la Credenza) met.

Historic houses

Collegno’castle

Collegno’castle, built in 1171 by the Umberto III of Savoy (the same who ordered the built of Sant’Antonio di Ranverso Abbey in 1188) is a real architectural jewel.

An ancient home of noble families who wrote the pages of Piedmontese history: the Savoy, the Marquises of Monferrato, the Acaja and the Provana.

Collegno’castle
Collegno’castle

The ancient castle, of which only a square tower remains today, was largely destroyed in the thirteenth century by the Turin’s fighting against Thomas of Savoy and rebuilt by William VII of Monferrato at the end of the century.

The fourteenth-century part is clearly visible from the area of ​​the old mill. The front part, rebuilt between 1600 and 1644 by Francesco Provana, is the most recent. The facade, attributed to Guarini, was completed in 1700.

When Luisa, the last descendant of the Provanas, married Alessandro Guidobono Garofoli, Baron of S. Marzanotto, Count of Sciolze and Lord of Carbonara, the castle passed to this family which still owns it.

A high wall and the thick vegetation of the park cover the facade.

The building, transformed into a Baroque-style residential complex, is now open only in rare occasions and hosts events and ceremonies for a fee. But, if you are lucky enough to visit Collegno during the patronal feast, you will have the opportunity to enter.

Villa Richelmy in Collegno

Immediately after the Castle, the historic, splendid and impressive Villa Richelmy di Collegno (not to be confused with the homonymous one in Turin) deserves at least a stop.

Villa Richelmy is a sober stately home built in 1774 by the architect Carlo Ignazio Galletti, a disciple of Juvarra, on behalf of the banker Pietro Rignon.

Villa Richelmy, Collegno
Villa Richelmy, Collegno

It is protected by a large enclosed park adorned with centuries-old trees and valuable architectural elements including a small fish pond and a monumental staircase.

The garden is embellished with a ring of lushly flowering hydrangeas and a centuries-old Japanese sofora.

From the park you have a single glance at the perspective of the villa and the staircase, which leads to a terrace from which you can enjoy a splendid view.

Among the other valuable elements available to the villa are the large lounges and the internal chapel dedicated to San Pietro in Vincoli.

The sober and elegant interiors are substantially preserved intact.

Inherited from a daughter of the founder, Gertrude Cottolengo Rignon, it was assigned to a daughter, Olimpia Cottolengo, who in 1808 brought it as a dowry to the banker Agostino Richelmy, son of the president of the Turin commercial court and of the noblewoman Maria Genoveffa Masino.

Unlike many historic buildings in Collegno, which have been remodeled over time and distorted from their original essence, Villa Richelmy has remained the same over the centuries.

Today, following important conservation works, the villa is inhabited by the descendants.

Villa Belfiore

The last historical residence of interest in Collegno is Villa Belfiore with its imposing facade.

The villa, property of Count Alessandro Provana di Collegno, in 1852 was given in use to the Figlie della Carità di San Vincenzo De’ Paoli, a female ecclesiastical congregation that ran the first local girls’ school for over 100 years.

Subsequently it became the first kindergarten in Collegno, until in 1994 the Guidobono Cavalchini Garofoli family donated it to the Municipality of Collegno with the obligation to allocate it to charitable activities for the local population. Today it is a residence for the elderly.

The Leumann Village

The aforementioned Leumann Village deserves more than a simple mention: one of the few experiments in Italy to improve the living conditions of workers and their families.

Villaggio Leumann
Villaggio Leumann

Designed and built at the beginning of the twentieth century, by the Swiss magnate Napoleone Leumann in collaboration with the architect Pietro Fenoglio, one of the leading exponents of the Art Nouveau in Turin, the Leumann Village is a micro-village within the city, with workers’ houses, church, clinic, railway station, workers’ refectory, schools, boarding school for workers and other services for the community.

With the partial closure of the Leumann cotton mill in 1972, there was fear for the fate of the Village, but fortunately the local administrations managed to save it from building speculations, subjecting it to the protection of the Superintendency since 1976.

The Tritatutto railway and the Stazionetta

In 1871 the old diligence was replaced by the most important of the two ancient Collegno railways: the Turin–Rivoli line, a narrow gauge line that greatly contributed to the development of Collegno.

The train proved to be a fundamental service for the Leumann factory. Textile products could be transported to Turin and workers reach the workplace more easily by getting off at the Leumann station, located at the entrance to the cotton mill.

To the train was given the nickname “Trita-tutto” (mince-everything) for the numerous accidents that occurred.

In 1914 the line was transformed into an electric tramway, in 1941 was replaced by a trolleybus and in 1955 definitively dismantled.

The Stazionetta (the original Leumann station) has been recovered thanks to conservation interventions and is visible at the entrance of the Leumann Village on the right side of Corso Francia coming from Turin (at the moment only partially visible, as it is covered by protections of subway construction works).

Romans remains

In the bases of the current church of San Massimo, there are the remains of a proto-Romanesque church. Other archaeological objects from the Roman age, found in the municipal area, are now kept at the Museum of Antiquities of Turin.

The old bridge

The Collegno bridge was built between 1707 and 1713 to replace the old one (whose construction date is unknown, but historical evidence certifies its presence at least since 1210) by order of Vittorio Amedeo II, shortly before the siege of Turin.

The eighteenth-century bridge was a particular construction, consisting of two bridges side by side. Anyone passing by with goods had to pay a toll.

One, slightly wider than an agricultural wagon going downhill towards Venaria, was used for traffic and passed under a second bridge that supported the passage of the bealera.

The first had three arches in brick and lime plastered stone, the second had five arches, three of which above the Dora. The banks for the bealera were made of stone slabs, the two arches above in exposed brick.

It was blown up by the retreating Germans on May 6, 1945. Today the arch on Via Venaria remains, while the remaining building was rebuilt in reinforced concrete in 1946. The bealera was covered to create a pedestrian passage.

Leumann’s fountain

In 1904 a stone fountain with four jets was built by Giacomo Guglielmotti in the new square of Collegno (today Piazza IV novembre) and dedicated to Napoleon Leumann.

Leumann’s fountain in Piazza IV Novembre, Collegno
Leumann’s fountain in Piazza IV Novembre, Collegno

The work is a tribute to the Swiss magnate in recognition of the generous donations and civic commitment to Collegno, and, in particular, for having financed the construction of the drinking water system in the historic center through various fountains.

It has a central four-sided column from each of which a jet of water flows out, collected in a cross-shaped basin. At the top it has two human faces. It was originally surrounded by four stone bollards surmounted by a sphere.

In 1956 it was removed from its original position for traffic reasons and in the early 1980s it was placed in front of Villa Licia. It later returned to its original location.

The Abarth test track

Collegno (TO) is home to one of the oldest Italian airports: Turin-Aeritalia ‘Edoardo Agnelli’ Airport, built in 1916.

Between 1960s and 1970s, Abarth racing cars were tested on the airport track 34. This track still exists but is no longer used.

Gothic and Lombard necropolis (not open to visitors)

During the excavations for the underground, in the area of ​​the current Campo Volo, a small Lombard settlement, a Lombard necropolis and a smaller dimensions Gothic one were found.

The churches

San Lorenzo Parish ( 17th - 18th century)

Designed between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was finished only in 1772.

The church of San Lorenzo in Collegno
The church of San Lorenzo in Collegno

Towards the end of the 18th century it was enriched with numerous valuable wooden sculptures by Stefano Maria Clemente, including ten large statues of saints, a group of the Holy Trinity, the organ case, the pulpit, the small group of the Baptistery of Jesus at the interior of the Baptistery and some crucifixes.

The interior of the church of San Lorenzo in Collegno
The interior of the church of San Lorenzo in Collegno

Between 1815 and 1816 it was enlarged and took the form it retains today.

It has a classroom compartment and four side chapels dedicated to Saint Ignatius, Saint Anthony, Our Lady of the Rosary and the Holy Crucifix.

The most recent frescoes are by Nicola Arduino, who together with Casanova painted the Padua’s Grande Basilica del Santo and other illustrious churches.

It has a nineteenth-century bell tower in terracotta, built using the wall enclosure bricks of the nearby Certosa Reale.

The bell tower is unfinished since the Carthusians of the Royal Charterhouse of Collegno believed that the structure could disturb the cloister of the monastery.

San Massimo Church

Built in the area of ​​the first Collegno settlement as a stage of the ancient Via Francigena, the church of San Massimo has undergone many interventions and modifications over the centuries.

The church of San Massimo
The church of San Massimo

Researches and excavations carried out in 1958 have led to the identification of 4 construction phases: a late Roman, an early medieval, a primitive romantic and a strictly Romanesque one.

The early Christian building (late 5th century) was built on a pre-existing Roman building, largely reusing the perimeter walls and the internal colonnade.

On the short western side, the facade was set up, and the opposite side was broken through for the construction of an apse.

The discovery of two column bases, many stone slabs intended to distribute the loads of the columns on the foundations and a fragment of a Corinthian capital suggest that the internal division of the early Christian building resumed the Roman one, with three naves divided by colonnades.

The church of San Massimo
The church of San Massimo

The second phase, early medieval (end of the eighth century and the first half of the ninth), did not substantially modify the paleochristian layout: the north side compartment was demolished and, after closing the door towards the presbytery, a small apse obtained in a thick wall.

The third phase, primitive Romanesque, dates back to the 11th century and the fourth, Romanesque, to the 12th century.

The foundation of the bell tower can probably be dated to one of the Romanesque phases.

The church of San Massimo
The church of San Massimo

Today the Church appears with a terracotta facade with arches and pilasters, covered by a trussed roof.

The interior of the church has three naves with square pillars, the walls are plastered; in the south apse there is the wooden statue of St. Maximus, made around the third decade of the century XV.

Findings

Inside the southern nave were found four early medieval tombs, of which only one partially documented. These testimonies have made it possible to highlight a link between the church and the Christianized Lombards.

Three masonry boxes, closed by stone slabs, with the deceased lying on his back and facing west-east; the fourth placed in front of the entrance door is bordered by four stone slabs, one of which is the epigraph of Calpurnia Marcellina.

The documented tomb, leaning against the side wall of the nave, was made up of three stone slabs and contained an inhumed person placed with a Scramasax which suggests that it dates back to the 7th century.

Another scramasax and a knife recovered from the site indicate the presence of a couple of similar graves. To the south of the façade another group of burials has been identified.

Madonnina Chapel

Known as Santa Maria del Ponte or La Madunina, it is located at the beginning of the Bealera bridge.

Madonnina Chapel
Madonnina Chapel

First mentioned in 1581, it was completed in 1791 and dedicated to the birth of Mary, perhaps in relation to a community vote following the liberation after 1706 Turin’s battle.

It has a very particular architectural aspect: it is lower than the road and was originally accessed via a small bridge. Also peculiar is the triangular bell tower of which few are the examples in Piedmont.

Santa Croce Church

Located in the historic center of Collegno, its structure date back to 1714.

It is assumed that it rises on the foundations of the Disciplinatorum Chapel, already present in 1538, seat of the Confraternita dei Battuti (beaten’s brotherhood ): lay organization with charitable activities, widespread in the area whose male confreres wore a white habit with a cord while the women a yellow one.

Santa Croce's church
Santa Croce's church

When in 1608 the then Turin’s Cardinal Carlo Broglia unified the churches (S. Croce, S. Pietro, S. Lorenzo and S. Massimo) and that of San Pietro was demolished, Santa Croce assumed the functions of the parish, which it maintained until 1772, when it became the only officiating church in Collegno, also thanks to its position protected by the ancient walls of the village.

The tower, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, was added in 1742 by the Community as an elevation of the existing bell tower, distinguishable from the exposed bricks.

In the first half of the nineteenth century it was completed and enriched with liturgical furnishings and in 1925, the facade, originally in brick, was covered with restorations.

Inside there is a nineteenth-century organ renovated in 1890 and still functioning today.

San Lorenzo Chapel (13th century)

Not to be confused with the largest Parish Church of San Lorenzo, near the portal of the Certosa, the small Chapel of San Lorenzo is located at the Collegno cemetery and is one of the oldest buildings in Collegno.

Only the bell tower of San Lorenzo remains of the old 13th century church.

Around those years the parish priest of Collegno Don Rejnaldi, Father Prior of the Discalced Augustinians of the Convent of San Pancrazio di Pianezza, proposed to the community to tear down the ancient parish church, to build the chapel and enclose the surrounding area in a to be able to build a cemetery and avoid the burials in the parish, cause of serious hygienic problems.

San Martino Chapel (18th century)

Erected by Negro family along the current Via Alpignano to fulfill a vow, it is now owned by the municipality in a partial state of decay.

Until a few years ago it kept ex-votos donated by soldiers from the Adua Campaign and the African Campaign who were stolen by unknown persons.

From its foundation in the 1940s it was called Porta Bossola because of the ancient defense system of thorn brambles (in Piedmontese bosu) that surrounded it.

St. Elisabeth’s Church (Leumann Village)

In the center of the Leumann Village there is an eccentric Art Nouveau church with many eclectic ideas. A stone walled up inside the church remembers its foundation in 1907 by Napoleon Leumann.

The stained glass windows and the interior decoration of the church, made by a team of painters and decorators are art nouveau.

The Church of Santa Elisabetta in Collegno
The Church of Santa Elisabetta in Collegno

The main elevation is strongly characterized by the presence of two bell towers on the façade and the entrance pronaos consisting of a short staircase and four columns, which, like the capitals, appear unusual and outside the classical architectural schemes.

The two bell towers, with clear references to churches across the Alps, are enriched with art nouveau decorations, and have wrought iron crosses on the side.

The facade cladding is made with alternating exposed brick and concrete strips.

Curiosities and legends

The three noses of the masche

Next to the current cemetery, near the area where Villa Richelmy stands, there is a large grassy land (now fenced) with some walnut trees known as le tre nosere, in Piedmontese the three walnut tree.

This site was a meeting place between the masche (witches) of Collegno and those of the nearby places, for their Sabbaths celebration.

When the rites were held, the terrified villagers did not set foot outside the home and sprinkled the perimeters of their homes with previously purified herbs on the nights of wonders (the feast of St. John, on June 24 and of the Apostle John, on December 27).

At the first light of dawn, the witches disappeared, leaving the leftovers of the rites under the three noses, which no one dared to touch. In fact, the inhabitants believed that anyone who touched the leftovers abandoned by the witches would fall ill with terrible diseases.

Source: Site of the Municipality of Collegno, The legend of the three nuts

The strange case of the Smemorato of Collegno

The **case of the Smemorato (forgetful) of Collegno ** is a famous judicial and media event that took place between 1927 and 1931, which involved an individual, apparently suffering from amnesia, hospitalized in the Collegno’s asylum.

The forgetful was identified by two different families who recognized him both as Professor Giulio Canella (missing during the First World War), and as Mario Bruneri, impostor and fugitive.

the Smemorato of Collegno
the Smemorato of Collegno

Due to the media interest aroused, the forgetful of Collegno became the forgetful person par excellence. The expression came into common use to indicate one who pretends not to understand: the fake dumb.

The story

During the First World War, the uncertainty about the fate of many soldiers at the front gave rise to the problem of the correct identification of those who after some time could return and present themselves as missing.

Not a few men took advantage of some resemblance to a missing man, tried to take his place.

In March 1926, in the Jewish sector of the Turin cemetery, after the removal of some funerary vessels the caretaker stopped a man who was immediately arrested.

He was about 45, with a handsome handlebar mustache, a full beard. He appeared of courteous manner but insane and no clues as to his identity could be obtained from him.

At the police station he was photographed and his fingerprints were taken. In the pockets, among the few objects, an illustrated postcard was found without an address with the following written:

“To my dear father, accept the wishes of a good day that your very affectionate Giuseppino sends you from the heart”.

Following a medical examination, the Forgetful was hospitalized in the Asylum of Collegno and the management of the structure published an advertisement with his photograph on La Domenica del Corriere and on La Illustrazione del Popolo.

“Who knows him?”

“Hospitalized on March 10, 1926 in the asylum of Turin (Collegno). He is unable to say anything about his name, his country of origin, or his profession. He is fluent in Italian. He is an educated and distinguished person of the apparent age of 45.”

An interview on La Stampa followed.

In response to the advertisements, many sent letters and went to the asylum, thinking they recognized him.

Some identified the unknown as Professor Giulio Canella: born in Padua on December 5, 1882, with a philosophy and literature degree, director of the Verona school where he taught pedagogy and morals.

Founder, in 1909, with Father Agostino Gemelli, of the neo-scholastic philosophy journal.

Married in 1913 to Giulia Canella, born in Rio de Janeiro and daughter of her cousin Francesco, landowner in Brazil, with whom he had two children: Margherita and Giuseppe.

In the army between 1905 and 1906, recalled in 1915, then exonerated and recalled again, he was considered missing on 25 November 1916 after an action in the area of ​​Monastir, in Macedonia.

The few soldiers who survived the operation reported that Captain Canella fell seriously wounded behind a rock, but the search for the body was in vain: no one heard about him anymore.

On February 27, Giulia Canella went to the Collegno’s asylum to meet the stranger and verify his identity. As soon as she saw the Forgetful One, she screamed, threw herself on his knees and hugged him, declaring that it was undoubtedly her husband.

The woman claimed that the postcard found in the stranger’s pocket was written by her youngest son Joseph and sent to her husband through the Red Cross.

On 2 March the unknown, considered Giulio Canella, was entrusted to her and left the hospital.

After 5 days, an anonymous letter arrived at the Turin police headquarters which hypothesized the identification of the stranger with Mario Bruneri: born in Turin on June 18, 1886, typographer, married and subsequently separated from Rosa Negro and father of Giuseppe.

Called up in the army in 1915 and discharged in 1918.

Arrested 3 times, tried and convicted of scams and false personalities.

In 1923 Mario Bruneri stole 10,000 lire and left Turin with his lover Camilla Ghedini, moving to Genoa under the name of Raffaele Lapegna, until August 1925. In Milan he became Adolfo Mighetti and returned to Turin in 1926 Ziolfo Mighetti.

The lover reported that Bruneri left her one morning telling her that he would go to the cemetery to meet her later.

Lo Smemorato was tracked down to San Pietro Montagnon, where he had gone on holiday with Giulia Canella, and summoned to Turin, where he was recognized as Mario Bruneri by family and acquaintances, including his lover.

Even before the confrontation, the Verona police headquarters asked the Higher Police School to carry out a photographic comparison and the various differences highlighted decreed as false the identification as Canella.

Later the fingerprints were also compared, which gave positive confirmation of Bruneri’s identity.

With the new identification, the stranger was taken back to the asylum.

The expert in charge of establishing his identity concluded that it was Bruneri, and that he had no symptoms of insanity since the amnesia was simulated.

He was served with three arrest warrants and was declared under arrest, but, the judging panel, considering that the identification as Bruneri was not complete for criminal purposes, adhering to the principle in dubio pro reo declared the arrest warrants as not applicable.

Both Giulia Canella and Bruneri’s family applied for the release and custody of the stranger.

Given the conflict in the requests, the court decided to entrust it into custody to the lawyer Zanetti, who immediately handed it over to Giulia Canella.

In January 1928 Bruneri’s family sued the Smemorato to be identified as Bruneri. The civil court of Turin established the identity of the unknown as Mario Bruneri.

Lo Smemorato appealed, claiming to be Giulio Canella, but the Turin Court of Appeal confirmed the first degree sentence.

The appeal to the Supreme Court was reached and the first section of the Court of Cassation annulled the sentence of the Turin Court of Appeal, considering it an inexcusable error to have denied the exercise of the contrary proof.

The documents passed to the Florence Appeal Court which confirmed the first degree sentence. In the new sentence the set of evidence that motivated the judgment was examined in detail and the rejection of the request for new evidence by the defense was justified as they were considered irrelevant or even contrary to the law.

The physical appearance of the Forgetful was examined.

Height was considered: Bruneri was about the same height as the Smemorato, while Canella was five centimeters taller. The different hairline. The presence of particular signs: Bruneri had been operated to remove a rib and the Smemorato had a scar in the same place. Canella had a mole near his mustache and a scar on one heel, the Forgetful did not.

All the movements of Bruneri until March 1926 were reconstructed and the clothes worn by the Smemorato were recognized as belonging to Bruneri by various witnesses.

The postcard in possession of the Smemorato at the time of his arrest, identified by Giulia Canella as written by his son Giuseppe, turned out to have been produced only since 1920 and the calligraphic appraisal attributed it to the son of Mario Bruneri.

Lo Smemorato had a very limited knowledge of Latin, the spelling of the unknown corresponded to that of Bruneri and in some letters to Giulia Canella he used the same quotations already used by Bruneri in previous letters.

The defense of the Smemorato was mainly based on an alleged replacement: on March 26, 1926 two different people were arrested, one for theft (Bruneri) and one for being insane (Canella).

According to the lawyers, Bruneri, after identification, managed to get away from the police station by exchanging his clothes with those of the forgetful Canella, who would have been hospitalized in an asylum.

There were in fact two different practices at the police headquarters, but they were due to two different proceedings concerning the same person, one relating to the theft and the other relating to internment in the asylum.

Bruneri was then arrested again on 5 June 1931 and taken to the Carceri Nuove, the Turin prisons, to be transferred to the Pallanza prison.

An appeal was also filed against the last sentence, definitively rejected by the Court of Cassation in joint sections.

Two requests for pardon were presented at the beginning of 1932: on 8 January Giulia Canella appealed to Queen Elena on the occasion of her birthday, on 11 January the Bruneri family requested clemency from King Vittorio Emanuele III.

Neither was accepted, but, thanks to an amnesty, Bruneri’s sentence was reduced and on 1 May 1933 he was released.

At the time of signing the mandatory waybill, the commissioner invited the Smemorato to put his signature on the paper and the forgetful thoughtful replied: “Do I have to sign with the name of Bruneri?”.

The official replied in the affirmative and Bruneri ended with: “I sign with the name of Bruneri but remember well that I am Canella”.

Between 1928 and 1931 Giulia Canella had three children with Mario Bruneri, registered as Canella. At the beginning of September they applied for passports to move to Brazil, but the departure had to be postponed because in the first time Bruneri was denied the visa as he was convicted.

They left Italy on October 19 on the Conte Biancamano liner with their five children. In Brazil, Bruneri registered himself as Giulio Canella and after learning Portuguese, he lectured and published books and articles.

He died in Rio de Janeiro on 11 December 1941.

Despite the amount of scientific, documentary and testimonial evidence, the periodicals were divided between those who claimed it was Canella and those who opposed it. In the press, the supporters of the two different theses were identified as Bruneriani and Canelliani or bruneristi e canellisti.

After the Second World War, the Canellians tried on several occasions to obtain a review of the trial, even with the presentation of new evidence.

But in March 1960 were made public five letters written by Mario Bruneri to his mother when he was hospitalized and a letter sent by Giulia Canella to the Bruneri family in June 1929 to promise a reward if they did not recognize their relative.

On 9 July 2014 the result of the comparison of the DNA of the certain descendants of Giulio Canella and a son of the Smemorato was presented to the Canella family, who confirmed that it was not Giulio Canella.

The Bruneri-Canella case is inspired by theatrical works by Michele Galdieri, Luigi Pirandello (in the three-act drama “Come tu mi vuoi”), Eduardo Scarpetta (the comedy “The man who lost himself”), film (“ Lo smemorato di Collegno ” by Sergio Corbucci with Totò in the role of the forgetful) and Uno Scandalo per bene by Pasquale Festa Campanile, and books (Il teatro della memoria by Leonardo Sciascia, Lo smemorato di Collegno by Lisa Roscioni, and The man of no color. The true story of the forgetful man from Collegno by Christine Dal Bon).

The Collegno’s electrician: the torturing psychiatrist

Giorgio Coda was a psychiatrist and university professor expert in criminal anthropology, director of the Collegno’s asylum and Villa Azzurra facility for minors in Grugliasco in the 1970s.

Villa azzurra in Grugliasco
Villa azzurra in Grugliasco

A man who became an executioner and bearer of atrocious suffering towards orphans, poor and lonely people, enuretic and lively children, homosexuals, masturbators, alcoholics and drug addicts. Subjects whose condition of social marginality and whose isolation made perfect victims for his tortures.

Coda trained with Dr. Treves, in Italy a big in the field of electroconvulsive therapy (commonly called electroshock). He was highly esteemed in the academic environment of the time: honors, professorships, awards, appointments and promotions. The more important it becomes, the more it regards sick people as laboratory guinea pigs.

In Dr. Coda’s practices there were no curative purposes, as confirmed by the trial sentence. For the electrician, as he will be nicknamed by the press, patients are not individuals to be helped and treated, but residues of humanity on which to freely exercise any kind of wickedness.

A nurse claims that Coda, hearing a sick person sing in the park, ordered him “bring to me the one that is singing” to subject him to the electro-massage. Expression in which a man’s contempt for human life can be read without a shadow of a doubt.

Coda’s electro-massage was a perverse and atrocious use of electroshock. Two electrodes were applied to the temples of non-sedated inmates who were passed through by short but intense shocks to keep them from fainting so as to experience as much pain as possible. The same system comes from Coda used on the genitals. Patients are even denied the protective gum for their teeth, which causes several inmates to break all their teeth.

Alberto Bonvicini hospitalization

Albertino runs away, tries to return to his natural mother, a prostitute. His father fled by enlisting in the French Legion.

On August 3, 1967, after a quarrel with a child of the institute that hosts him, Alberto swallows a glass marble.

At the Casale Monferrato hospital he receives the necessary treatment, but then falls ill. Forced to bed he becomes restless. The doctors then transfer him to neurology, where Albertino breaks everything.

From that moment begins the descent that will lead him to hospitalization in Villa Azzurra, the juvenile psychiatric clinic in Grugliasco of which Coda is director.

The beginning of the process in Coda

It is a day in April 1968, the social worker Maria Repaci, of the Juvenile Protection Center of Turin, is listening to the stories of a child who reports terrible episodes: children and young people tied to the bed for days and days, with their hands burned on radiators, organized fight to resolve disputes between young patients and, worst of all, indiscriminate electroshock sessions.

The child reports being tied to the bed for weeks.

Repaci does not wait any longer and prepares a detailed report on Alberto Bonvicini’s stay at Villa Azzurra which she promptly sends to the president of the Turin Juvenile Court.

Villa azzurra in Grugliasco
Villa azzurra in Grugliasco

The court president sends a report to the Public Prosecutor’s Office: after a year the investigation ends up in the hands of an investigating judge.

The interrogations revealed the existence of a system of torture against the people housed in the structures managed by Coda, including the Collegno’s Asylum and Villa Azzurra. Gruesome details emerge: some former patients appear to have no more teeth, broken following the electroshock sessions.

Like farms animals, hidden from the eyes of the people, closed within the walls of the Asylum, the hospitalized were exposed to all kinds of abuse, without any kind of control.

Coda made me undress and gave me a pubic electro-massage, which caused me great suffering and loss of feces and urine. When I was brought back to my section, due to the spasm caused by the electro-massage and the lost of the gum in my mouth, I broke all my teeth.

So Giovanni, one of Coda’s patients, tells about one of the many electroshock treatments that Coda himself underwent during his detention. One of the five thousand electro-massage sessions that the psychiatrist practiced in his career.

Coda carried the electro-massage machine in procession between the departments, as a warning. The instrument of torture was used regularly: any reason was valid for ending up under his shocks.

Once positioned next to the patient’s bed, the patient is immobilized, Coda applies the electrodes and starts the ritual.

Patients writhe in pain, scream, no longer hold stool and urine, some lose their teeth, others their tongue. The others await their turn in terror: like poor animals at the slaughterhouse who, aware of what is happening to their fellowmen, inexorably await death at the hands of unscrupulous beings.

On July 26, 1970, L’Espresso publishes a photo of a little girl with big black eyes and a deep and resigned gaze: she is naked, with her hands and feet tied to the bars of the bed. The scandal breaks out.

On July 4, 1974 begins at the Court of Turin the Coda trial. For the first time in Italy, patients in a psychiatric hospital are called to testify as ordinary citizens.

The prosecutor asked for the accused to be acquitted, but the Court rejected the request and on 11 July 1974 sentenced Coda to 5 years in prison - which he will never serve - for “misusing medical therapies and electroshock in transcranial and lumbopubic region “and because” at a time when science was offering drugs capable of cushioning the appalling suffering of electro shocks, he did not use them “.

Three years was amnestied.

“It seems to the court that the accused has full and complete recourse to malice” reports the sentence of first instance, “when he subjected the offended parties to electric punishment he was perfectly aware of the illegitimacy of such punishments, of their vexatious character, of their identity to to create in passive subjects a total subjection to the will of Coda ».

A doctor that Judge Venditti defines as “closed in an ivory tower, protected by those who had to control what was happening inside the hospital and insensitive to the suffering of the sick”.

A technicality risks further easing the psychiatrist’s position: Coda was still an honorary judge at the Juvenile Court and the Italian criminal procedure states that a judge cannot be tried in the court in which he carries out his functions. The judges of the Court of Appeal therefore refer the documents to the Supreme Court pending a ruling.

Coda declares himself the victim of a plot. Some newspapers defend it and use the term * torture * in quotation marks.

Coda avoid prison but with the sentence comes the perpetual ban from public offices. Unable to continue his work in the asylum and in other psychiatric facilities, he began the profession of doctor privately, dedicating himself to outpatient activities in Turin in the Cit Turin district.

“Open up, police!”

It is 6.40 pm on 2 December 1977 when four men ring the doorbell of his studio on the first floor of via Goffredo Casalis 39.

The commando breaks in and locked the secretary in the bathroom. Coda attempts to grab the gun he is threatened with, but is overwhelmed.

One of the men spoke to Coda: “This is what happens to those who tied the children to the radiator so that they would not scream.” Two shots hit him from behind, one in the knee, until the pistol, a 7.65 caliber, jams.

At 7 pm, after cutting the telephone cables, the commando flees.

The electrician is found with his wrists tied to the radiator and a sign hanging around his neck:

The Proletariat Does Not Forgive Its Torturers.

Two unexploded bullets on the ground.

The first helping Coda is a local pharmacist. Coda arrives at Molinette hospital with a reserved prognosis. There waiting for him is the editorial staff of the Gazzetta del Popolo who still do not know the identity of the injured person.

Those present reported that when the doctor saw the shots he exclaimed: ‘Christ, they crucified him! “ and asked Coda “Who are you, why did they reduce you like this?”.

The injured man does not respond and refuses to give his name. On his arrival, the chief physician asked him the same question: “What did you do to make them make this?”.

Only after much insistence the patient finally breaks the silence: “My name is Coda”. The cold fell into the room. “Yes, it’s me, the electroshock man. They called me a pig and a bastard, but I’m just a doctor and a lot of people have received benefits from me. These terrorists tried and sentenced me in a minute. Do something, I have terrible pain. ».

The manner of the injury is not accidental. During the trial, emerged of a child tied to a radiator who had suffered burns to his arms and back.

A few days after the injury, Giorgio Coda’s crucifixion is claimed by the Proletarian Action Squads, unknown still that moment.

Many in Turin think that it was done for Albertino, one of the children tortured by Coda. In fact, Alberto Bonvicini is well known in the circles of the extra-parliamentary left wing.

Finally free, Alberto meets the youth protest of the seventies and begins to attend the armed left wing circles. He is involved in the assault on the Blue Angel in which a Turin student dies.

Arrested, he remain in prison for two and a half years. In these years, heroin enters his life.

Back in freedom Enrico Deaglio wants him to his new newspaper. He knows Giuliano Ferrara who is deeply attached to him and introduces him to his TV broadcasts: “Linea Rovente”, “Il testimone”, “L’Istruttoria”.

When it seems that normality is about to arrive for him, he discovers that he has AIDS: he will die in three years.

Giorgio Coda, on the other hand, is still alive today. Many of his patients, like Albertino, despite having the favor of age, did not survive him.

Coda’s crimes were dealt with by the journalist Alberto Papuzzi in the book “Portami su quello che canta” (Take me to what can sing) and the trial was briefly represented in the film “La meglio gioventù” (The best of youth) by Marco Tullio Giordana.

Alberto Bonvicini’s story is told in the book Fate la storia senza di me (Make history without me) by Mirko Capozzoli .

The story of Collegno electrician turned the spotlight on the terrible violence in mental hospitals, contributing to the growth of that movement that would lead to a total reform of the psychiatric world in Italy.

When the serial killer Minghella struck in Collegno

Another sad story, in addition to the one involving the electrician, surrounds Collegno.

On the night of February 16-17, 2001, Tina Motoc, a 20-year-old Moldovan prostitute, was brutally murdered.

His naked body is found a few days after his disappearance along an irrigation canal that crosses a field at the Pianezza-Collegno junction of the Turin highway.

Tina was suffocated to death from her pantyhose, which were later used to tie her hands behind her back.

His battered body has several wounds on his face and head. Her legs and right foot were burned with her clothes.

That of Tina is not an isolated case: there were several prostitutes killed in recent times in the Turin area.

Marianthi Mimidi, 20 years old, found with the partially charred body and the smashed head in a wood near Avigliana in 1996. In 1997, behind a petrol station in Corso Unione Sovietica, strangled with her stockings, it was the turn of a 24-year-old Albanian prostitute, named Yulia. In 1998, in the countryside on the other side of the state road opposite the current Rivoli’s Conad, in a place frequented by prostitutes and their clients, Giuliana Vilali, a 23-year-old Macedonian girl, was strangled with a scarf and left in the forest half-naked.

Among the investigators there is the hypothesis that in that in west Turin there is a serial killer.

Tina Motoc

Florentina Motoc was born in 1980 in Dorohoi, a Romanian municipality of 30,661 inhabitants, in the historical region of Moldavia. Suddenly the family finds themselves without any source of income. To help her family Tina accepts the offer for a job in Turkey.

She ended up in the network of traffickers who force her into prostitution. She became an object, owned by her exploiters.

When she gets pregnant her protectors allow her to return to her country to give birth to her child but as soon as she can prostitute herself again, her pimp pick her up again and bring her to Italy, in Turin, where she is immediately put on the road.

On February 9, 2001, during a cold winter day, a customer approaches her and the two seclude themselves. She is only 21 and it is the last time she is seen alive.

Eight days later his body is found lifeless. The clock stopped at 4.46 and the signs of the many tortures suffered on the body.

The capture of Minghella

On 7 March 2001, the investigators identified Maurizio Minghella, already known to the police, as responsible for the murder.

Minghella is arrested for attacking and robbing an Albanian prostitute, near the place where Tina was found.

At Minghella’s home, the police find muddy boots and dry leaves. Minghella’s girlfriend is seized the cell phone, given by her partner on Valentine’s Day, which turns out to be Tina’s.

In addition to robberies, sexual violence and kidnapping of other prostitutes in the same area, it turns out that Minghella left behind a trail of blood between April 18, 1978 and February 17, 2001. The victims are all women: 10 confirmed ones and at least 15 alleged ones.

It turns out that the latest murders, those in Turin, took place while Minghella was in semi-liberty for the same crimes: in 1978 he killed five women in Genoa.

For the first murders the serial killer was sentenced to life imprisonment, but in prison he proclaimed himself innocent and also thanks to Don Andrea Gallo who asked for a review of the trial, he soon obtained a semi-release.

From Genoa he was transferred to the Vallette prison in Turin and entered Don Ciotti’s recovery community working as a carpenter from 5 to 10 pm.

But in semi-release Minghella continues to rape and kill. The latest confirmed murder is that of Tina.

DNA traces and the footprints found in the places of the crimes, the sole of his shoes with abundant traces of peridotite, a rare rock in the Turin area but present in large quantities in the place where the corpse of Motoc was found, the methods and the times of the murders leave no doubt: Maurizio Minghella has returned to kill.

Taken to the Vallette prison, in the spring of 2001 Minghella tries to escape from the laundry but is blocked. Locked up in the Biella prison, on the morning of January 2, 2003 he is hospitalized for pains in his chest and left arm: this time he managed to escape but is arrested the same day at 10 pm near the train station. Today he is locked up in the Pavia prison.

Visiting Collegno: conclusions

We have come to the end of this guide where we talked about the history of the city of Collegno, the events and curiosities concerning it and what to see in Collegno.

We hope that our guide of Collegno has made you want to visit this city, far from mass tourism and that you will choose the city of Collegno Torino as the next alternative destination for your weekend! 😉

This article was written in collaboration with Uxnovo Web Agency Turin.

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Alessandro Gemscovery Travel Blog
Alessandro Lussi
Di origine friulana e calabrese, risiedo a Torino.
Copywriter professionista, ho smesso di lavorare come programmatore per dedicarmi full-time alla mia passione: la scrittura.