Almost every society in the world has its own ancient traditions. Some of these traditions, many of which were inspired by a historical event, an ancient faith, or an important figure, are quite interesting. In the city of Trento in northern Italy, a centuries-old tradition called tonka is still alive today. In the tradition of Tonka, each year local politicians of the city are determined as “outlaws”. The criminals are imprisoned in an iron cage and plunged into the second longest river in Italy, the Adige!

Of course, this practice, which was a real form of punishment hundreds of years ago, has now turned into harmless entertainment. However, all the rites of the tradition are performed in full. Courts are established, the accused are heard, sentences are pronounced, and the most guilty in the city is brought to the cold waters of the river. Here’s what you need to know about Northern Italy’s extraordinary linguistic tradition…

In the city of Trento in northern Italy, an interesting 14th-century tradition is held every year.

According to this tradition, called Tonka, every year the most “criminal” of the local politicians of the city is imprisoned in an iron cage and immersed in the cold waters of the Adige River. The tradition is carried out as part of a festival called “Feste Vigiliane”, organized in memory of Vigilio, the patron saint of the city‚Ķ

Immersion of criminals in Adygea was a real method of execution in Italy of the XIV century.


But of course, in the modern tradition of Language, no one dies. On the other hand, the tradition is carried out with the use of rather extensive rituals, adhering to its historical origins.

The Tribunal di Penitenza (Court of Repentance) is set up to decide who is the most guilty person in the city, in keeping with the Tonka tradition.

Court of the Penitentiary Tribunal, 2015

The Court, which is open to the public, takes cases very seriously! Prosecutors, lawyers, defendants and witnesses are heard by the judges on the day of the trial, and so it is decided who is the most guilty in the city. The people of Trento are supporting the practice, which was once an execution method, by turning it into “entertainment theatre”.

The criminals of Trento often come from among the local politicians of the city.


Because the people of Trento consider politicians the most guilty, that’s why the court is often named after politicians. Among the crimes of convicted politicians are the delay in the construction of a hospital, opposition to a singer’s concert in the city.

However, any person who commits a serious crime in the city may first find himself in the dock, and if his guilt is proven, he may end up in the cold waters of the Adige River.


Within days of the trial, the judges decide who is the most guilty this year.


The decision is brought to the attention of the public, and the execution of the decision begins. The very criminal of the city of Trento, imprisoned in an iron cage, is immersed 3 times in the waters of the Adige River and pulled out.

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