Hidden treasures

The Poppi Castle and the ghost of the beautiful Matelda

Mysteries & Legends
Il-Castello-di-Poppi

The Poppi Castle and the ghost of the beautiful Matelda

In one of the most beautiful castles in Tuscany, there is a special guest: it is the ghost of the cruel Countess Matelda, a noble woman who has a very special story ...

Matelda was a young and beautiful girl, a bit impetuous, definitely a great admirer of the opposite sex and sex in the 13th century, was a valuable company commodity for the listless and bored nobles of the time. Matelda was a noble bride of the Middle Ages, handsome, charming but ... a bit cruel.
The context is the beautiful Poppi Castle in the province of Arezzo: this castle had already been mentioned in chronicles in 1191 when it was a possession of the Conti Guidi family, people who ruled during the Middle Ages in Tuscany and Romagna and had, just in the Poppi Castle, their control centre over the whole Casentino.

Matelda was joined in matrimony to Count Guido Guidi, a scarcely handsome old man, great politician, but given the age, a very poor lover. In short, Matelda received a lot of prestige from Guidi's wealth but 'no fun' and so, driven by her desires cravings, she began to ogle the young men she came across. Matelda does not do things by chance: she begins with the minstrels, boys passing by and used to relieving the boredom of the nobles with songs and dances, then moves on to the more ‘local' and young artisans employed for necessary maintenance work or unexpected repairs, and finally to pages, young passing riders that bring news of battles and so on.
They all fall between the irresistible arms of the beautiful Matelda, dragged into voracious and  occasional embraces which remain 'unique'. Absolutely unique because the noblewoman Matelda certainly cannot let these many meetings become known nor expose her good name and reputation to such ignominy! So not only does she recommend to all her lovers to keep their encounter private but she also directs them through a secret tunnel in the castle so that they can get out of it unseen. But the walkway, dark and rugged, leads in fact to a secret trap door where the unfortunate fall down, and, after landing at the bottom, die pierced by a series of blades stuck to the ground. An atrocious end.

I expect you are all asking what the hell Count Guido was doing whilst at his mansion so much lust and butchery was perpetrated: sorry, we don't know, but it is evident that, on top of being being old, he was also a bit dull ... and maybe 'very oblivious.
Matelda has fun for a while but the gossip was mounting, too many young men come through that door and do not come out ... and so one day, taking advantage of the absence of Count Guido (in my opinion even if the Count was there he wouldn't have noticed anything) they assault the castle, capture Matelda and bury her alive in a corner of the castle tower, called, what a surprise, the Devil's Tower, making her die of hunger and thirst.

Everything OK? Not really. Since that day, it is said - and it is more than ever true to this day - that the ghost of the fierce but beautiful Matelda wanders through the Poppi Castle, appearing at the windows, whispering in the ears of the handsome young men mawkish phrases, moving between the steps, frightening and confusing visitors. If I were you I would not be so sceptical, there is someone who has spilled the beans on more than once occasion…

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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