Halloween in Italy – the most haunted castles and palaces
Halloween in Italy isn’t as celebrated as in other countries. While you may see some ghoulish décor around, and some kids dressed up, it’s nothing compared to other places. However, these haunted Italian castles exist beyond Halloween, and are guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine.
The most haunted Italian castles — Halloween in Italy
1. Castello di Visconteo, Trezzo sull’Adda, Milan
Visconti Castle (Castello di Visconteo) is a castle in Trezzo sull’Adda, a commune in Milan. It was built in the 14th century by Bernabò Visconti, who was Lord of Milan at the time. Visconti’s nephew, Gian Galeazzo, had his uncle removed from power, and seized the castle in 1385. Visconti was imprisoned, and died a few months later from poisoning.
There have been several mysterious sightings of paranormal activity surrounding the castle. In 1973, German tourists camping on the castle grounds reported seeing a ‘group of soldiers’ carrying torches and wearing helmets. And in 2004, an SLR camera captured an image resembling a knight in armor, said to be Bernabò Visconti.
While there’s been no recent viscount or soldier sightings, this is one castle you should visit at your own peril….
Best boutique hotel in Milan — Antica Locanda Dei Mercanti
Generous-sized rooms, with high ceilings and a perfect central location is what you can expect at Antica Locanda Dei Mercanti. Though the building dates back to the 18th century, its interiors are bright, light, and ultra-modern.
This 4-star boutique hotel is very close to Castello Sforzesco, Milan Cathedral and exclusive shopping areas. It’s central enough to walk to many top attractions, but not noisy that you can’t get a good night’s sleep.
2. Castello di Montebello, Rimini — Halloween in Italy
Combine a well-known tale with a historic castle in north-west Italy, and you’ve Castello di Montebello. To its credit, the story’s probably more known than the castle. Castello di Montebello is a 14th century hilltop fortress in the province of Rimini. The area itself is full of natural beauty, with panoramic views across the valleys. There are also a number of guided tours if you want to discover the region beyond the castle.
The castle’s most infamous story is the unsolved disappearance of the owner’s daughter, Azzurina. The young daughter of the lord of the castle was playing inside the house, and was prohibited from going outside.
She was said to have blue eyes and blue hair, hence the name Azzurina, meaning ‘little blue one’. On the day of the summer solstice in June, her father came looking for her, but no-one could find her. The story becomes a slight blur from here, as it seems Azzurina disappeared after chasing after her ball that day.
Though the story remains unsolved, there have been recordings of a young girl every five years during the summer solstice. We may never know what happened to Azzurina, but it seems her spirit has never left Castello di Montebello.
Boutique hotel in Rimini — i-Suite Hotel
Spa lovers will also be delighted to know there’s one on site, complete with sauna, Turkish bath and views of the Adriatic Sea. The hotel dishes up regional delicacies at its restaurant, and operates a local product only policy. This means everything you eat and drink has been locally produced.
Castello di Montebello
3. Spending Halloween in Italy — Castello di Bardi, Parma
Sitting high on an outcrop of red jasper, the fort surrounding Bardi Castle (Castello di Bardi) is a tremendous sight. It’s an impressive example of medieval architecture in Parma with a tragic tale behind its history.
Inside is a small museum showing tools that the locals used, which date back to 19th and early 20th century. The interior of the castle still maintains its Gothic style ceilings and wall paintings. In the courtyard, you’ll see the remains of the chapel that the princes built many centuries ago.
The story’s almost reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. A young soldier and nobleman’s daughter fall in love, but their relationship’s forbidden because of her family and class. When he goes to war, she awaits his return but weeks later, sees enemy soldiers carrying a victory flag when approaching the castle.
Believing her beloved has died in battle, she throws herself off the high castle and dies on impact. Unbeknownst to her, he’s alive, but he also jumps from the castle upon finding out what happened. Since then, there’s been sightings of the ghost of the young soldier wandering the castle looking for his lover.
Boutique hotel in Parma
Castello di Bardi
4. Halloween in Italy — Castello di Poppi, Poppi
Poppi Castle (Castello di Poppi) was the former property of the noble family of the Conti Guidi. You can find this striking castle in Poppi, which is in the region of Tuscany.
There are many design aspects in the castle that shows off its Renaissance style. Take the grand stone staircase. Built in 1470, it has been covered with the coats of arms of the Florentine families that ruled from Poppi in the 15th and 16th centuries.
For the purpose of this topic, its tower is the center of this haunted tale. Countess Guidi, Matelda, was the most beautiful, and sought-after woman in Poppi. Her husband, Conti Guidi, was much older than his bride, and would punish anyone who’d even look at her.
When the Count was away on military or political commitments, Matelda took the opportunity to have new lovers. The only problem was, she couldn’t let anyone find out about her clandestine relationships. It would risk ending her prosperous marriage, and potentially her own life.
To keep her secret, she’d see her lovers, and then tell them to leave via a passage in the basement. What she didn’t tell them, was there were spikes and blades awaiting them in the dark tunnel. Inevitably, her lovers met their tragic fate, and paid the price for their moment of lust.
The townspeople soon began linking her to the deaths, and Matelda was eventually caught and put in the tower. Since then, many locals have reported seeing a beautiful woman dressed in white looking out from the castle. If you want to find out whether the sightings are true, you’ll just have to go and visit for yourself…!
Boutique hotel in Poppi — Borgo I Tre Baroni
Each room is individually decorated with hand painted designs. It also offers panoramic views of the surrounding Casentino Forest National Park. The wellness center is small, but they have a sauna, aromatherapy treatments, and a relaxation area with herbal teas.
“…these haunted Italian castles and palaces exist beyond Halloween, and are guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine.”
5. Castello di Fénis, Aosta Valley — how to spend Halloween in Italy
Fénis Castle (Castello di Fénis) is one of the most famous medieval structures in the Aosta Valley. It’s located in the town of Fenis, in a mountainous autonomous region in north-west Italy.
With its many grand towers, it’s easy to see why this castle is a popular attraction.
The castle has had many owners, including the Viscounts of Aosta and architect Alfred d’Andrade. Today, it’s owned by the Autonomous Region Aosta Valley, which has turned the castle into a museum.
Unlike the castles mentioned so far, Castello di Fénis doesn’t have a spooky story behind its history. What it does have is umpteen reports of visitors hearing strange noises and footsteps. More strangely, it usually comes from the castle’s upper floor — an area not open to visitors.
Boutique hotel in Aosta Valley — Le Coffret
Get an authentic Italian alpine experience at Le Coffret. This rural house dates back to 1779, and is located in the less touristic area of Saint Marcel. All rooms offer free Wi-Fi, and garage parking is free.
Rooms come with orthopedic mattresses and pillows, an LED TV and a library. The hotel also has free WiFi throughout the building, free parking and ski storage too.
Fellow spa lovers will enjoy the small spa on site, with treatments you can book, and a hot tub.
Castello di Fenis
6. Most haunted castles and palaces in Italy — Castello di Moncalieri, Piedmont
This medieval castle in Turin is probably one of the most haunted places in Italy. Castello di Moncalieri is in Piedmont, northern Italy.
It’s a short distance from the center of Turin, and is surrounded by vines and elegant gardens. Its royal residents over the years have included Queen Marie Adelaïde and princesses Clotilde and Laetitia from the House of Savoy.
Like Castello di Fénis, there doesn’t appear to be a legend behind the castle’s haunted reputation. However, the list of sightings and recordings of paranormal activity makes this the spookiest place to spend Halloween in Italy.
Sightings have included: an armored knight on his horse, a monk dressed in the style of the crusades, and a Cardinal reading his book.
Given its noble residents, it’s not surprising that there’s also been report of knights and ladies haunting the castle grounds.
If you’re curious to check this castle out for yourself, you’re in luck. There are guided tours to the castle, but check the website before visiting, for the most up-to-date information.
Boutique hotel in Turin — TownHouse 70
If you’re looking for a luxury boutique hotel that’s within minutes from Turin’s best attractions, TownHouse 70 is perfect. The rooms and suites have a chic modern décor, with soft colors and minimalist design.
The location’s just a few minutes’ walk to sights like the Shroud of Turin, the Royal Palace and Piazza Castello.
Castello di Moncalieri
7. Ca’ Dario, Venice — where to spend Halloween in Italy
The last one isn’t technically a castle, but its creepy history also places Ca’ Dario (Palazzo Dario) on the list. Amidst the beauty and awe of Venice, is this haunted palace with an eerie past. It’s located between Palazzo Barbaro Wolkoff and the narrow Rio delle Torreselle on the Grand Canal.
Architecturally, it also looks quite out of place. The castle was first built in a floral Venetian Gothic style, then later renovated after 1486 in a Renaissance-style.
The first owner was Giovanni Dario, Secretary to the Venetian Senate, diplomat, and merchant. He lived there with his family, but tales of tragedy and death plagued the palace. Two of Dario’s own children are said to have died there, with the last tragedy recorded as recently as 1993.
People that have owned the palace or stayed for more than 20 days, died of illnesses, or committed suicide or murder. The last 2 instances reported were due to bankruptcy, but this doesn’t sway me to spending a night at Ca’ Dario.
Boutique hotel in Venice — Corte di Gabriela
Corte di Gabriela is a boutique hotel with 13 rooms, which have been recently refurbished.
They serve exceptional breakfasts, luxury comfort and spacious showers. It’s within walking distance to Venice’s main attractions like Piazza San Marco and St Mark’s Basilica.
Have I sufficiently scared you with this post?! Which of these haunted Italian castles would you like, or not like, to visit?! Let me know in the comments below!
Till next time, happy, not scary, travels!
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Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience; a demographic (late 20s onwards) that enjoys glamping over camping, staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels, sampling the local food and wine, cultural activities, and indulging in a spot of wellness on their travels. Read more here…