Podcast of a Catalan bandit, femturisme explains the adventures of Serrallonga

Podcast of a Catalan bandit, femturisme explains the adventures of Serrallonga

At femturisme.cat we have been interested in the life and prodigies of this Catalan bandit, Joan Sala i Ferrer, better known as: Serrallonga.

We have done it both for its romantic and historical basis and therefore, also for its misdeeds, always doing it from a perspective towards the culture, legend and historical memory of our Country.

The interest that still arouses in Serrallonga has inspired femturismo to collaborate with Ivoox to make a podcast. This podcast is distinguished by an interactive dynamic, where Ivoox asks the questions, while femturisme contributes its experience by answering and revealing fascinating details about the life of the famous bandit.

The podcast was titled: Serrallonga, the Catalan Robin Hood and you can listen to it in Spanish by clicking "here".

Below, we leave you the transcript of the podcast:

The interview

Ft. I am delighted to be here and to collaborate with you on this very interesting and slightly controversial topic, I am not going to deny it.

Ivoox. Firstly, for those who have never heard of this character, who was Serrallonga and why the nickname of the Catalan 'Robin Hood'? Why would that nickname fit him like a glove?

Ft. In reality this character was called Joan Sala i Ferrer and the nickname Serrallonga was given to him at the time when he married Margarida Talladas from the Mas Serrallonga de Querós. The Catalan Robin Hood thing comes to him, naturally, firstly because he was Catalan and then because according to the most popular version, things that always spread through towns and cities and that spread by word of mouth, he was the one who robbed the rich. to give his loot to the poor. Who wants to have a common criminal on their land? Nobody, really, prefers to idealize him.

Ivoox. We can go around, if you like, the enclaves that have marked this character. And first of all, we must start in Viladrau, at the foot of the magical Montseny, because this town is closely linked to the history of this bandit, right?

Ft. Well yes, because Serrallonga, this bandit almost idolized by his fellow citizens and descendants, was born in Viladrau, which is a town belonging to the Osona region. He was born, as we said, into a wealthy family, the Sala i Ferrer, and lived in a farmhouse of the same name: La Sala. From that family that, little by little, fell into disgrace, Serrallonga was the fifth son of nine brothers, four of whom dedicated themselves, just as he did, to banditry and robbery of roads, families and everything that would bring them huge profits.

Serrallonga in Sant Hilari Sacalm

Ivoox. After Viladrau, we can move to a nearby town, specifically Sant Hilari Sacalm (already in the Selva region, in the province of Girona) because there, this Catalan Robin Hood would also leave his mark. But in this sense, what takes place in Sant Hilari within the life of Serrallonga and what places should be visited to learn more about this character? Because there is even a cave in the area that bears his name, right?

Ft. Serrallonga, always according to the stories of the population, was so loved by its people and by the people it favored, that even today in the majority of the towns in the Selva region some popular festival is celebrated in its honor. And as the Italians say of the stories that are told from parents to children, "si non è vero, è bien trovato."

Thus, in Sant Hilari Sacalm, a celebration called "Torna Serrallonga" takes place annually; in Spanish "Serrallonga returns",   which is celebrated for an entire weekend and you can visit those places with a special link with the bandit; such as the forests where he “worked” and the Serrallonga cave, which can be reached by bicycle, but to reach the end of the route it is necessary to finish it on foot.

The Actions of Serrallonga in the Selva Region

Ivoox. After his stay in Sant Hilari Sacalm, as we are getting to know, this bandit (this Robin from the Girona forests) has no choice but to go through the Selva region doing his thing: this is robbing the richest and then distribute it among the poor. However, in what specific areas of this region do these assaults occur? Where exactly does the bandit Serrallonga operate?

Ft. Well, here we will disagree a little, I'll explain: In reality Serrallonga, whom you call a bandit from Girona because of his place of “work”, was from Barcelona since Viladrau, the town where he was born, belongs to the province of Barcelona. The easy explanation? Perhaps he did not want to rob his people and he went to La Selva Girona to bandit throughout the area of the Guilleries Natural Space, adding to the two towns that we have already talked about, those of Anglés, Osor and Santa Coloma de Farners that They suffered and later spread the fame of Serrallonga.

The Misdeeds and Character of Serrallonga

Ivoox. And if you had to keep any of this character's misdeeds, which one or which would you keep? Which assault(s) would best represent Joan Sala i Ferrer?

Ft. I think that in reality, there is no notable case to explain about his raids, it seems that he was very regular in his behavior and with that of his gang of bandits, since he never acted alone. But we could say and highlight that he was a person of strong character who was easy to unnerve. People were afraid of him. They say that the anger he felt for being poor was transformed into energy. It is also easy to think that many of the stories that are told have more to do with the fear experienced by those who faced them and who then told it, in their own way, so as not to explain the fear they had experienced. Then, the popular imagination began to weave the legend and it had greater weight than reality itself. Perhaps we can highlight that in addition to robbing roads and farmhouses, he dared with great audacity to also steal taxes and State money.

The Last Days and the Legacy of Serrallonga

Ivoox. As we realize, the life of that character is enough for a whole movie. But if your life gives it, imagine your last days, which are also to be filmed, why is it the last time of Serrallonga? Where does it take place and what ultimately happens to it?

Ft. It is quite well documented that his last works, when he had already been abandoned by his family and his crew and therefore without any support, were done walking aimlessly through the Pyrenees. Well, in reality, he was not alone, but in the company of a girl he had met recently and who was described as young and beautiful since she must have been only about 19 years old. This young woman, named Joana Massissa, accompanied him until the end and with her they committed new and multiple robberies and escapes until they ended up taking refuge, in October 1633 in the town of Santa Coloma de Farners, where he was betrayed by a neighbor of an important family. Perhaps out of jealousy of the young woman? Who knows.

Serrallonga was arrested on All Saints' Eve in 1633. Later, on January 8, 1634, he was sentenced to death and was executed in Barcelona and his head was hung on the portal of Sant Antoni.

The Transformation from Bandit to Popular Hero

Ivoox. Serrallonga, without a doubt, is a character that has been burned into the popular mentality (in the collective mind) of all these towns in the province of Girona where he did his thing. But in this sense, is he remembered today? Is there any event or monument that features this Catalan Robin Hood, this bandit from Girona? Because it is true that literature has used him as a recurring character...

Ft. We have already talked about the events, there are practically the entire La Selva region. We could also cite, for example, a song by the group Els Esquirols and as for books, its story, more or less true, has been told by authors such as Ricard Dilmé or Xavier Roviró and many others, in addition to some books for boys and girls who do not We will quote now so as not to forget any. Also tv3, Catalonia's television, made a series called "Serrallonga, the legend of the bandit."

And as an important anecdote we will say that in Barcelona you can visit Gaudí's Torre de Bellesguard where, in one part, what was in those years the Palace of King Martin, specifically in the walls, when it was almost in ruins, they say it was hidden Serrallonga on several occasions when he made raids to steal taxes and where we are told a piece of Serrallonga's body was deposited as a souvenir and exemplary punishment for the citizens.

Ivoox. There is something that really catches my attention (and finally), how is it possible that a bandit or a thief (because at the end of the day that's what it was) ends up becoming a popular hero? Because this occurs in many cases, a dominant trend...

Ft. It's normal, right? Heroes are always people who appear in our lives to save us and Serrallonga, if we believe everything we certainly know and what imagination may have added, if it did not save them from the bad things in life, if it saved them from poverty. A true heroism in those times of great hardship. Don't you think so?

You can also complete the information by consulting the Ruta del Bandolero Serrallonga route!

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