May 7, 2023 | History

Who Was Giovanni Battista Bugatti?

Morgan Collier

Morgan Collier

Giovanni Battista Bugatti performed his first execution when he was just 17 years old, and throughout his 68-year career, he executed a total of 514 people.

Bugatti served as the executioner for the Papal States, consisting of territories in Italy governed by the Pope. 

The people of Rome gave the official executioner of the Papal States the nickname of Mastro Titta or Master of Justice, and as you can imagine, he wasn’t well-liked by many people. In fact, Bugatti was actually prohibited from accessing the main areas of the city as a safety measure for himself, given that individuals related to those he had executed could potentially seek revenge.

As a result, Bugatti found solace in his own company and dedicated himself to his work as an executioner. In addition, he possessed a shop in the Borgo district, his place of residence, where he sold painted umbrellas and other souvenirs. This venture kept him occupied when he wasn’t engaged in executing individuals.

Methods Of Execution

Giovanni Battista Bugatti conducted executions utilizing various techniques. The most prevalent methods of execution were the ax and the noose, both of which were employed before the introduction of the guillotine. The guillotine was created to offer a more humane means of executing offenders, according to the standards of that time.

Why Was He So Good At His Job?

As per reports, Giovanni Battista Bugatti performed his duties as an executioner with proficiency, which could be attributed to his emotional detachment from the task. Bugatti was not fond of his job as an executioner, but he recognized that it was a necessary responsibility. On occasion, Bugatti was known to converse with prisoners and offer them tobacco before conducting executions.

Bugatti meticulously recorded every execution he carried out in a journal, documenting the names of the convicts, their offences, their final utterances, and the methods he employed to dispatch them. Serving as the official executioner of the Papal States for over six decades, Bugatti continued to perform his duties with skill and vigor until his retirement at the age of 85 in August 1864. Despite his advanced age, he remained physically formidable and capable of executing his responsibilities precisely. Following his departure, Vincenzo Balducci took over as his successor.