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Magnifica Comunità
di Fiemme

Il Palazzo, Museo Pinacoteca

Magnifica Comunità
di Fiemme

Il Palazzo, Museo Pinacoteca

History

Justice administration

Justice was very important in villages and towns; even though it was not perfect, it was the only means to ensure equality, to defend the weak against any abuse of power. It is not by chance then, that the first documents in Fiemme valley (Gebardini Pacts) regarded justice administration. In feudal society, judges were appointed by the lords. Lords also set legal procedures, generally accepting local customs if not adverse towards them.

In Fiemme valley, the prince bishop granted the attendance of his representative in two important occasions, on 1st May and 11th November, in order to administer justice to any applicant. The prince bishop’s judge not only cashed fines but collected taxes too. In the Gebardini Pacts, the prince bishop accepted a restriction of his power and bound the validity of legal processes to the attendance of people he had not chosen. This small mountain community had an exceptional privilege because its head kept the keys of the prisons, thus indirectly controlling what the bishop’s representative did.

From the beginning of the 14th century onwards, the judge was called vicar and lived permanently in the valley instead of coming only twice a year. He administered ordinary justice weekly on the main square in Cavalese and on 1st May and 11th November, when he also collected taxes; after these latter hearings the vicar and all the representatives of the community went to Moena.

The jury was composed of 15 members: the scario and fourteen men from the valley with the exception Castello di Fiemme. Weekly hearings were usually attended by the scario and only four jurors, the other ten being necessary only in criminal trials.

Besides attending hearings and collecting taxes, jurors had other duties as well. If required, they had to estimate the assets belonging to their village. They confiscated goods and kept them until they were given back; they settled minor controversies in their villages. Any circumstance against law and order had to be reported to the vicar. Jurors also had to notify orphaned minors , so that the vicar could appoint a guardian.

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