There are many scary legends to be told about Tuscany. Sinister characters, ghosts that roam castles and villas, places inhabited by wandering souls... take a tour along the darker side of Tuscany!
The ghost� of Brolio Castle in Chianti
In Brolio, in Gaiole in Chianti, there is a castle that has belonged to the Ricasoli family since 1141. Bettino Ricasoli was known as the “Iron Baron” due to his strictness with his subjects. He dominated this land until 1880, when he died of a heart attack in his castle. The Baron’s body was not buried immediately, but kept near the altar of the crypt in the family chapel. During that time, rumours began to circulate about strange apparitions around the castle. The rumours quickly became true stories, spreading all over Chianti. Disturbing facts were already occurring at the time of his funeral: the wind began to blow and the windows opened and closed violently as if moved by an invisible hand. Moreover, a swarm of moths invaded the chapel, forcing many of the mourners to flee. As if that was not enough, the coffin was so heavy that it felt like it was full of stones and no one was able to lift it up. The priest arrived and said a few words in Latin and, to everyone's amazement, the coffin suddenly became light. It's said that the damned souls were confined in a safe place and the coffin of the baron was then buried in a ravine. It seemed the right place for the eternal repose of the baron, but from that moment an endless series of apparitions began.
The Golden Hen of Chiusi
Between the seventh and fifth centuries BCE, Chiusi was one of the most important Etruscan cities. Pliny the Elder wrote that the legendary Etruscan king Porsenna was buried in a magnificent tomb in a huge labyrinth and, according to a medieval legend, the sarcophagus was kept in a golden chariot pulled by 12 golden horses, watched over by a hen and 5000 golden chicks. For a long time, popular tradition has identified the burial place of Porsenna with the tunnels that run beneath Chiusi. It is said that some nights the hen comes out with a swarm of tiny lights and golden sparkles: it is the golden hen of Porsenna that takes out its chicks in the fields around Chiusi.
The ghost of Vincigliata Castle in Fiesole
Among all the stories trapped behind the walls of the castle of Vincigliata, one of the most famous is the legend of Donna Bianca (White Woman), a young and beautiful girl courted by many men, but in love with the son of her family's worst enemy. Despite this, their love seemed to triumph until their wedding day, when Donna Bianca’s brothers killed her groom. Bianca, in her wedding dress, died of a broken heart. Ever since that moment, her spirit has stayed inside the castle, protecting all kinds of love, especially the more difficult ones.
The ghosts of Castiglioncello del Trinoro
In Castiglioncello del Trinoro, near Sarteano in the province of Siena, there are the ruins of an ancient church, now submerged by the vegetation of the forest. On some nights, if you pass close to the church you can hear a chorus of drunk people who repeat a sort of lullaby that say “Balla Candelora!”. Legend has it that once a group of pleasure-seekers was in the church, dancing and singing that song. One night, more excited than usual, they saw the floor open up and they all fell into the abyss amid fire and flames.
The ghost of Villa di Corliano near Pisa
An ancient legend says that in the Villa della Seta in Corliano, between Pisa and Lucca, the ghost of Teresa della Seta Bocca Gaetani still lingers on. She was a beautiful woman from an ancient Pisan family married in 1755 to Count Cosimo Baldassarre Agostini. The lady would appear occasionally in the halls of the villa, moving noble tapestries and ornaments or slamming doors and windows. On certain nights, when there is a full moon, the lady appears, advancing along the avenues of the park driving a horse-drawn cart. The current owners say that sometimes they still hear her laughing in the cellars of the villa.
The ghost of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence
It's not rare to hearsqueaking and moving footsteps coming from the Palazzo Vecchio when it's closed. There are corners that still remain shrouded in mystery, where the ghosts lurk. There are many specters in the Palazzo Vecchio, but one is more famous than others: Baldaccio d’Anghiari.
There are many rules to be respected to avoid him: do not scream his name, do not name him without a reason, speak with respect and indulgence and in a low voice. Baldaccio was a valiant fighter and he was betrayed and killed inside the Palazzo Vecchio in 1441. Since then he has been wandering around the building and, on September 6, you can also see him in the Castello dei Sorci of Anghiari, his birthplace.
The witches of Monte Matanna (Apuan Alps)
Mount Matanna is a favourite haunt for witches’ covens. Witches once went up there to do mysterious rituals, and shepherds saw flames and bright streaks of fire on the mountainside. Still today, you can see a strange-shaped rock used as a very smooth table, located under a large natural arch along the path from Matanna to Mount Procinto. It was there that the witches used to sacrifice their victims and made their spells. It is a place to avoid at night because it seems there's a fabulous treasure (something like a golden calf) no one has ever managed to find because it is guarded by a scary ghost holding a scythe.
The legend of Babao
Everywhere in Tuscany the “Babao” is a bogeyman for the little ones. It usually stays in a dark place, where children are not allowed to approach. It is used to tell the kids "Don't go there, there is the Babao". But don’t be scared, no one has seen it until this moment!