La bella Matelda

Go through the valley of Casentino, and you’ll always find yourselves with a view of the beautiful landscapes of Poppi, with its castle which was dominated by the Guidi family of Earls. A place which in the winter months really seems like a ship floating in a sea of fog; it’s tower seems like the mass of a vessel.

This building is a symbol of a family; the Guidi family, from these parts (and many other parts too!) and a family which stayed here for centuries. A peerage which goes back to the middle ages, to a member of the Guidi family which terrorised this corner of Tuscany. He was a person who earned a reputation of being a monster after slaying an enemy with a sword.

At a certain point in their history though, the Guidi family changed their ways, and made Poppi a beautiful place full of flowers. Long before the beautiful and elegant castle though, there was a tower, which was lived in, and which still exists today, even though it has been slightly modified throughout the ages, and is known as “Torre dei Diavoli”*

Why this name? No one really knows. The sadness of a lady called Matelda is linked to this tower, though. She was the young wife of one of the Guidi family, who was much older than her, and as it was at the time, was married against her own will, to a nobleman.

However, Matelda had a very fleshy passion, one which a much older husband couldn’t really satisfy. So poor Matelda aimed her desires towards the many young men who came to Poppi. Men that were like her in age, and wanted to help her with her desires and passions.

They needed to be really discreet though, for fear of the dreaded husband finding out. For a long time, these escapes went, quite smoothly. It seemed that Matelda had a slight weakness for musicians, of which there were many at this time in places where nobility frequented.

She was a very discreet lover, as she couldn’t risk her powerful husband finding out about her countless “hobbies”. To secure her secret she made sure that the young lovers couldn’t come one day and blackmail her, or worse, tell her husband, she went to the root of the problem.
She understood that her bold, dynamic young lovers were very content after having satisfied their needs with their illustrious mistress, left the palace via a secret passage, which had a trap door-like floor, a place where the young men fell into a pit full of sharpened blades and knives.

A game which was played very frequently, without particular problems, until the people of Poppi started to have suspicions about the increasing numbers of missing men. A suspicion that soon turned into fact, when one of the predestined victims managed to escape and tell his fellow citizens about his ordeal.
After discovering the truth about his wife, the Count Guidi condemned his wife to the tower, and sentenced her to death by starvation.

Nowadays the building is known as the “Torre dei Diavoli” and it is said that Matelda is still there, in spirit, haunting the room where she died, desperately searching for men to fulfil her ever hungry desires.
An unnerving presence, one of many that live in this beautiful place we call Poppi. The nocturnal horsemen, are forever fighting battles in the courtyard of the castle.. The statue of the Count Battifolle wonders the rooms of castle, even though its made of solid stone. Add that to the thousands of ghosts of the dead soldiers from the planes of Campaldino, which is said to be one the bloodiest battles of the time.

Poppi is very much a medieval town, with its narrow streets, and wooden architecture, it is a city which hasn’t, and doesn’t really want to move forward, but why should it? It’s beautiful settings make it a unique gem, from the little public squares to the strong stone city walls, this is a place which is very comfortable as it is, and looks set to remain this way for the foreseeable future.

“Torre dei Diavoli” means, Tower of the Devils.

Commenti (0) | March 15, 2010

Lascia un commento


Other Tourist Useful Links

Copyright © 2011 4Tourism s.r.l - All rights reserved.
4Tourism s.r.l società unipersonale Via S.Antioco 70 - 56021 Cascina (PI) Codice Fiscale 01618980500 - Partita Iva 01618980500
Numero R.E.A 141307 - Registro Imprese di PISA n. 01618980500 Capitale Soc. € 10.000,00 i. v.