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Dicembre 2007

The castle of Poppi among battles and ghosts.

the Castle of Poppi 1 The beautiful castle of Poppi lies in the north-east of Tuscany, in the upper Arno valley called the Casentino. It was probably built during the period of the Longobards and the Franks invasions of Italy (9th Century), and in the middle age it became the residence of the feudal family, the Counts Guidi. Today it is the Town hall of Poppi.
The most ancient nucleus of the castle is the high square tower, partially restored in the last century because it was stricken by a strong lightning: the tower was higher than it is now and the legend says that Arnolfo di Cambio, the great medieval architect, took it as a model for the one of Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
The castle was also the scenery of a very important event in the 13th century: the famous and bloody Battle of Campaldino between the Guelphs and Ghibelines on June 11, 1289, a date that Dante Alighieri, who took part to the fight on the Guelph side (pro-papal forces), evoked in his Divine Comedy (Purgatory V, 85-129) as one of the most dramatic moments in the Florentine history.
The Guelph army were commanded by Amerigo di Narbona and they met the Ghibeline forces from Arezzo in the plain of Campaldino, right in front of the Castle of Poppi: the legend tells that Amerigo’s ghost, who died during the battle, asked a young and brave soldier to find his corpse in the battle ground and bury it.
Nowadays the valley and the the castle seem still to be crowded by ghosts: it is said that during the nights of full moon the ghosts of the soldiers fight in the big courtyard of the castle.
In The Castle of Poppithe Middle Age the Counts Guidi used to open the castle to those soldiers who where looking for a place to sleep: the soldiers used to have duels and some of them were injured to death. Since then, according to the legend, every night of full moon the ghosts try to win a never-ending duel and they fight until dawn. When the sun rises in the sky silence and tranquillity come back among the walls of the castle.
Furthermore, inside the castle it is possible to bump into Matelda’s ghost. Matelda was a very charming noble lady who used to invite very young boys to the castle. She used to pretend to give them a job, but she seduced them with her beauty and when they became her lovers, she killed them, by strangling them. At first no one suspected her, but then some mothers started to investigate about their missing sons and, when they eventually managed to discover the terrible truth, they asked for a terrible punishment: so Matelda was locked in the tower of the castle with no food until she died of hunger. That is why her ghost wanders at night through the castle restlessly.

You can find many pictures of the castle of Poppi in this site.

1 comment to The castle of Poppi among battles and ghosts.

  • Well, it is now time to visit the Casentino Valley.
    We are developing its official website, where you can book without any additional fee restaurants, hotels, farmouses, camping etc
    The english pages will be online soon, may be you can help us leaving some suggestions.

    Greetings from poppi


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