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The Massacre


In June 1944, San Pancrazio was one of the villages overtaken by the advance of German troops to the north, which there carried out one of the most dramatic massacres in the region.

After killing numerous civilians in nearby Civitella in Val di Chiana and in the hamlet of Cornia, the Nazis moved on to San Pancrazio on June 29, the day of Saints Peter and Paul, arriving there between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning. The inhabitants had to leave their houses and the men gathered in the church square until early afternoon. Then the Germans began to set fire to the houses while the rounded up men were taken to the fattoria. Sixty men, including the priest Don Giuseppe Torelli, were taken to the room on the first floor where the terracotta vats of oil were stored. They were all killed by shots to the back of the head.

During the raid, other men had already been killed in the houses and in the surrounding area: The number of victims of the San Pancrazio massacre was 73.

From many testimonies made during the investigation it appears that the German soldiers came from the direction of Monte San Savino, where the headquarters of the field gendarmerie was located in Villa Carletti and where they returned to at the end of the massacre. They were all wearing the gray-blue uniforms of the "Hermann Göring" Division, the only German military unit stationed in the hilly area of Val di Chiana. Apparently, a total of about two hundred soldiers were involved in the operation, which, according to Nazi plans, was intended to help contain partisan activity and halt or at least slow down the Allied advance.

The Past

The village of San Pancrazio is located on a spur of the Palazzolo Mountains, at the junction between the Ambra Valley and the Chiana Valley. There are documentary references dating back to the late Middle Ages, when it was under the control of the nearby Badia di Agnano. Over the years, the Abbey of Badia Agnano gradually lost dominion over the Castle of San Pancrazio and came into conflict first with the Ubertini family (whose progenitor Guglielmino held the office of Bishop of Arezzo) and later with the Tarlati family, who had taken control of many territories in the Ambra Valley, including the Abbey itself.

In 1300, due to the conflicts between the Guelfs and the Ghibellines that raged in the area, the abbey placed its territories and the people living there under the patronage of the Florentine Republic.

In the 17th century Count Pierangeli was appointed mayor and moved his seat to a building that belonged to him in San Pancrazio: the building where the massacre took place was taken over and restored by the Municipality of Bucine in 1972 and became the seat of the Intercultural Center.

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