Crevole Castle and the Bishop Who Howls at the Moon


Crevole is south of Siena, near Murlo. Better still, it’s a high point covered with dense shrubbery from which jut the striking ruins of an old castle. Judging by what little remains of the castle, it must have once been an imposing fortification, situated in a position of great importance.

In addition to parts of the foundations of the buildings and of the surrounding wall, the central tower and a secondary tower are still standing. The central tower has a large window that opens high above the ground, which almost seems like a door to another dimension.

There is evidence that the fortress existed as early as 1189, when, along with the Murlo region, it fell into the possession of the Bishops of Siena. It eventually became the priniciple centre of an ecclesiastical and political power that lasted until 1749. It’s no accident that even today a neighbourhood of Murlo still goes by the name Vescovado.

The bishops were men of faith and they took great care of their land and the castle Crevole. One bishop in particular, a certain Donosdeo (or Donosdei) Malavolti who lived during the first half of the 1300s, used every means possible to enlarge and reinforce the castle, making it the centre of his not unconsiderable power.

Donosdeo was a bitter defender of the Church’s property, and was not shy of excommunicating his adversaries, or even sending military expeditions. In fact during one of these military pursuits organised against the Piccolomini in a struggle for the possession of Castiglione sull’Ombrone, Donosdeo was mortally wounded. He was truly a bishop of strong character.

All his care of the castle however could not avert the events of 1380 when Crevole Castle was destroyed by the Ghibellines who had been extradited from Siena. But even more tragic events involving the castle were yet to come. In the 16th century, during the bitter war that spelt the downfall of the mighty Siennese Republic. In a battle between the Siennese troops and Imperial Spanish troops.

These Spanish missions, led by Don Franceso of Toledo and Count Sforza, succeeded in conquering the fortress in 1554. To avoid further trouble they decided to completely destroy the powerful castle. The winning troops, having just demolished the castle, saw a vision that must have chilled them to the bone, even though they were accustomed to violent massacres and acts of destruction.

It was character of Bishop Donosdeo Malavolti who had awoken briefly from his eternal sleep, displaying great dignity dressed in his priestly gowns to appear among the destroyers of his castle. Donosdeo brandishing the crucifix and hurling curses, chased the soldiers from the ruins.

From that day on poor Donosdeo could not find peace and it is said that his spirit can be seen during the nights of full moon, roaming throughout the ruins of the castle, brandishing the cross and repeating his curse at the top of his voice. But why does he have such an attachment to the place? There are those who argue that in the dungeon of the castle, there was something of value, perhaps a valuable library created by the bishop with great passion. Maybe he only wants that someone finds it and brings it to light. All it would take is a little courage to ask the white figure who howls at the moon, “Please can you show me your fortune?”

Commenti (1) | March 15, 2010

One Response to “Crevole Castle and the Bishop Who Howls at the Moon”

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    May 7th, 2012 at 12:04

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