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Il castello di Sorci
location_cityHistorical Buildings

Sorci Castle

Twelfth century Sorci Castle is near Anghiari, the town of the famous battle

Map for 43.541889,12.060648
One of the first owners of Sorci Castle was the Tarlati family who originated in Germany. In time, the Sorci area came under the control of the city of Florence. A report carried out by Florentine commissioners illustrates what the castle was like originally and how it was subsequently altered. The report states: ‘Around thirty men live here. It is a small castle with a main building within the walls and with external walls with parapets and a ditch. It seems to be necessary to raise the parapet, fill the ditch and lower the central building to the level of the walls. …’.
Before being owned by the Pichi family, the castle was first home to Baldaccio Bruni, better known as Baldaccio d’Anghiari. He was also lord of Ranco Castle which he acquired through his marriage to Annalena Malatesta. Baldaccio d’Anghiari was a great military man and he lived in Sorci Castle until his death on the 6th September 1441, when he was betrayed by people he considered friends. He was barbarically murdered, thrown from a window of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence and then beheaded and left for the public to gawp at. It would be interesting to be able to tell the story of Baldaccio’s life here, but all the pages of a book wouldn’t be enough. We will limit ourselves to recounting only his tragic end, as it is told by Niccolò Machiavelli in his ‘Istorie Fiorentini’.
After the death of Baldaccio, it seems that his troubled spirit returned to haunt Sorci Castle every fifty years after 1441. The ghost would return at midnight on the anniversary of his murder, September 6th. The current owner (since 1970), Primetto Barelli, confirms that he bought the castle right after one of Baldaccio’s recent apparitions. He states that the ghost encouraged him to buy the castle in order to continue the tradition that the castle’s owners should all have surnames beginning with the letter ‘B’. What seems strangest of all is that according to legend, the ghost of Baldaccio carries his decapitated head under one arm. Baldaccio’s ghost was last seem in 1991.
Another mystery surrounding Sorci Castle is that a pipe or an ‘ocarina’ can often be heard playing in the castle, although nobody has ever found where the music comes from. There is further information concerning this and other legends of Sorci Castle in a book by Giuseppe Bartolomei entitled ‘Il castel di Sorci in terra d’Anghiari’. The folling extract is taken from this book:
‘The night was dark and still and the stars shone bright in the clear sky. A dog barked in the distance. Salmi nervously approached his car.
‘It’s the hour of ghosts and spooks,’ said one of the group to break the nervous silence.
‘And the wolf howls,’ said another, half ironic and half joking.
‘No,’ said a third man (a local man) ‘that’s not a wolf that you can hear. That’s just a guard dog. It’s only a bad omen when many dogs bark together.’ In the darkness and silence, the men’s voices seemed to float heavily in the air, detached from their bodies. ‘At this time,’ the third man continued, ‘you’re more likely to hear the pipe of Solci.’ He paused. ‘Of course, everyone around here knows to listen out for it and it can be heard on certain nights. It’s like the soft sound of a flute or whistle which seems to come from nowhere. If you go towards it then it suddenly seems to be coming from the opposite direction… Nobody has ever been able to find where it comes from.’

A striking medieval town nestled in the quietude of the Tiber Valley
Anghiari is a striking medieval town hugging the slopes of the Sovara torrent and the Tiber Valley. Its name is famous for a 1440 battle, fought on the plain in front of the town and depicted by Leonardo da Vinci in a legendary fresco lost somewhere in Florence’s Hall of the 500 in the Palazzo Vecchio. ...