• LOCATION 21 | A Stroll Through Carouge: Geneva's Little Italy

    Smugglers

    On the other side, you can see the river Arve running down from the mountains.

    As mentioned, on this side of the river, Carouge was in the Sardinian kingdom, whereas on the other side was the independent republic of Geneva. Therefore, there was a customs office in a hut on the entrance of the bridge where you had to show you were a good person, pay something to cross and maybe pay customs taxes. Only then you were granted a passage, in French ‘octroi’. That’s why this place is called “place de l’Octroi”.

    This of course also created occasions for smuggling a little higher up on the river when water was low. There are many stunning stories about it like the one of Mandrin, a famous smuggle with a troupe of some hundred armed men. He attacked banks and Tax offices, but also distributed money to the poor. That’s why he is sometimes called the Robin Hood of our region. He was captured by the French army in 1754 and put on the wheel, a torture machine you died of.

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A Stroll Through Carouge: Geneva's Little Italy