Strozzavolpe


Whoever said that ghost stories are limited to places such as Manica was wrong. Because, this is simply not the case. They are everywhere, even the Tuscan hills, which, with parts of its famous lush greenery being submerged in a thick fog and freezing cold atmosphere, almost ressemble the famous Loch Ness area of Scotland.

The Strozzavolpe Castle, tells such a tale. This small, grim building stands proudly dominating the surrounding valley and is now a place which is known for its gloomy tales.

However, let’s put the spooky stuff to one side for a minute and look at something else first: The unmissable maze of tunnels which are an integral part of the building. The tunnels are significant because unlike other cases, it seems that they were created by Guido Guerra, the adopted son of the famous Tuscan Countess, Matilde di Canossa, and linked the Strozzavolpe manor to the Poggio Imperiale castle, located on the other side of the valley.

Now let’s talk about the countless ghosts which haunt the thousand year old wall, the most significant of which is the spirit of a wild animal. Howver, this isn’t just any wild animal. This animal was known to roam the nearby woods, and circle the castle at night. It is said that during construction, the nobleman Bonifacio, was greeted by a ferocious wolf, so fierce it scared all the builders, knights and the nobleman himself. As a result of such incidents, one day Bonifacio finally decided to take matters into his own hands and strangled the wild beast with rope.

There are many ideas as to why the castle got its name, amongst which there are many linking to the ghost of this wolf.* This is mainly due to the fact that the physical remains of the wolf remain in the castle, buried in the ground, under the floor. There are also other ghosts in the castle, and they have very different roots to those of the wolf ghost. The ghost of Cassandra Franceschi haunts the building as well. However, her story is one of great love and tragedy. She was violently murdered when her husband caught her in bed with their butler and killed them both as a result. He then hid their bodies within the castle walls and transformed his former marital bedroom into a kitchen putting on a huge banquet for his friends and family.

As well as Cassandra, her lover and the wolf, the castle boasts a whole host of other spirits! These inlcude the ghosts of men who used to work in the castle grounds, and ultimately, ghosts of other wolves. To add to the mystery of this crazy castle, it is also said to house certain hidden treasures. We know this because, in the 1870′s, some workmen were renovating the castle walls, and one of them found a treasure map encased within a terracotta jar, which was obviously incredibly old as it was written on papyrus. As the treasure map story did in fact have a happy ending, we can conclude that the castle isn’t totally evil and weird as its endless tales of ghosts and death would have us believe.

*This is because the Italian word for fox is volpe, and the castle itself is called ‘Strozzavolpe’.

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