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Official Web site: Palazzo Paesana
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Palazzo Paesana, overlooking Piazza Savoia, covers an entire block between Via della Consolata and Via del Carmine. It was commissioned by the wealthy and influential Count Baldassarre Saluzzo di Paesana starting in 1715, following the city’s expansion under Vittorio Amedeo II.

Giovanni Giacomo Plantery was given the responsibility for the project, and he successfully built an impressive palace over the course of seven years. The ground level of the Palazzo was dedicated to various business ventures, whereas the first floor was reserved for the principal residential quarters. The upper second and third floors were designed to accommodate rental apartments aimed at the well-to-do middle class.

Finally, the attic spaces served as communal areas for the people, and stables were located at the rear of the courtyard. In essence, the complex and its inhabitants reflected the Piedmontese society of the time, encompassing all social classes.

Unfortunately, over the years, much of the initial splendor of the Palazzo has been lost. Furnishings and frescoes have disappeared, leaving only the original Saluzzo master’s apartment.

Currently, the apartment is privately owned and made available for corporate and cultural events.

Palazzo Paesana

The monster of Palazzo Paesana

Palazzo Paesana is sadly known for a dark crime that took place in the early 1900s. At that time, in Piazza Paesana (now Piazza Savoia), there stood the “Caffè Savoia”, run by the Zucca family. Their daughter, Veronica Zucca, used to play in front of the café so her parents could keep an eye on her from inside while they worked. However, on January 12, 1902, Veronica’s mother stepped outside to check on her but couldn’t find her. After an unsuccessful initial search, the Zucca family reported her disappearance to the police.

Part one

The investigation quickly focused on Alfredo Conti, a sixteen-year-old boy who had been dismissed by the Zucca family for being considered lazy.

It was later established that Conti had spoken to the girl that morning only to ask her to call a friend of his who was inside the café, as he preferred not to enter due to past issues. In this way, Alfredo Conti managed to prove that, aside from that conversation, he had nothing to do with Veronica’s disappearance.

Palazzo Paesana
One room of Palazzo Paesana

There were no further developments until April 1902. During some restoration work at Palazzo Paesana, the carpenter Angelo Damiano was tasked with clearing the cellars of the accumulation over the years. He noticed a very unpleasant smell coming from one of the cellars. Approaching, he found a large wooden crate in which Veronica’s body was discovered. The autopsy would show that the girl had been killed with sixteen stab wounds.

Naturally, the investigation resumed, and this time it focused on Carlo Tosetti. He was the trusted coachman of the Marquis of Paesana, with free access to the cellars of the Palace.

Carlo Tosetti was arrested and accused by journalists, but investigators found nothing to charge him with. After two months, he was released. The past experience and public opinion would ruin his life forever. He died in solitude, poverty, and forgotten by all.

Part two

In the summer of 1903, five-year-old Teresina Demarca, who lived on the fourth floor of the Palace, also mysteriously disappeared. The death of Veronica came to mind for the people and the press, and they began to speak of the Monster of Via della Consolata. Considering the past events, this time the search began immediately in the cellars of the palace.

Palazzo Paesana
Staircase of Palazzo Paesana

Teresina was found wounded by three stab wounds but alive and not in danger. During the investigation, the palace’s doorman remembered that on the day of the girl’s disappearance, a garbage collector had asked him for the keys to the cellars. The request did not raise any particular suspicion with the doorman; in fact, it was not unusual for someone to be called to clean the basements. The suspect was identified as Giovanni Gioli, a 23-year-old mentally ill man. He confessed to the murder of Veronica and the assault on Teresina. He admitted, “The knife didn’t cut; it was only meant to pierce. So I put her in the crate while she was still alive.”

The trial began in February 1904. Despite his mental illness, Giovanni Gioli was sentenced to 25 years and 2 months. He died in prison after eight years.