Hidden treasures

The mystery of Isabella de’ Medici death

Historical Curiosities

The mystery of Isabella de’ Medici death

Isabella de Medici was the daughter of Cosimo de Medici I. She was a beautiful, intelligent and brilliant woman to the point that she was called ‘the Medici star'. As it was the custom in those days, for political and economic reasons, she married Paolo Giordano Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, a violent, rough and adulterous man. When Paolo was once away for a long period because of his military engagements, Isabella, as she often did, returned to Florence. Her husband asked his cousin Troilo Orsini to check on her, a decision that turned out to be rather counterproductive. It seems, in fact, that his cousin was handsome, passionate and well-educated. As expected, the two became lovers and, without fail, her husband was very upset as he felt his pride, more than his love, had been betrayed! 

Until Cosimo I was alive, Paolo Giordano did not dare harm a hair on Isabella’s head as this would have turned against him. Soon after Cosimo’s death, he wasted no time, and on the advice of his mistress, he arranged for Isabella to be murdered: He hung her with a rope that he had dropped down from a hole in the ceiling and that someone had then pulled from the top. Soon her ghost began to manifest itself in the Cerreto Guidi Castle and to the present day there is a rope hanging in the room where she was apparently murdered. 

It seems that a few years ago a boy who had a flat tyre found himself in front of her. He was probably very scared when he saw, in the countryside of Cerreto Guidi, a woman wearing white and translucent clothes from the sixteenth-century. At first he thought she was one of the reenactors of the Palio del Cerro but then he looked at her more closely and recognized her without fail. It was the same face portrayed in many paintings scattered throughout the town. It was Isabella De Medici! He told the story but only the elders of the town believed him as they knew that poor Isabella, having not found peace yet, was wandering restless around her castle and the surrounding countryside. In case you venture over there, you have now been warned!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Grosseto: The witch’s olive tree: ancient mysteries in Maremma

Mysteries & Legends

Olives, cypresses and vines are what characterizes the Tuscan hilly landscape. But the olive tree that lies just outside the walls of M...


Florence: The Lion in the Florence Cathedral

Mysteries & Legends

In the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore there are sculptures of many different animals and it seems that each of these, in addition t...


Florence: The magic summer solstice in Florence

Did you know that...

In Florence, on the dome that rises above the Cathedral, stands the largest gnomon in Europe. If you are not lovers of astronomy, the i...


Florence: Clet, the road sign street artist

Unknown places & works

Walking around Florence you might happen to come across strange road signs. Just that this time, Tuscan pranksters are not the ones to ...


Top posts

Arezzo: Guido d'Arezzo and the invention of the music

Big Names

In Talla and surroundings people have no doubt: the inventor of the musical stave, the inventor of the music notes and also of the mode...


Pistoia: The Kiss of the Christs in Gavinana

Local Traditions

It is a very ancient but still popular rite. Two large processions that meet up with a Christ on the cross in front of each one: the he...


Siena: Piero Carbonetti and his tin drum

Local Traditions

Subversive, persecuted, anarchist, homeless, dreamer: it is really difficult to define Piero Carbonetti, Tuscan bred and born and Garib...


Pisa: Kinzika, the young woman who saved Pisa from the Saracens

Local Traditions

It was really her, a young woman with an Arabian name, Kinzica, of the noble Sismondi family, to save Pisa from being sacked by Saracen...