Whether it’s for leisure, relax or pure fun, a trip is always exciting, especially if the place is full of unusual and spooky stories. Ghost Tourism offers to the most adventurous visitors, a completely original way to admire amazing places, full of art, history and ... legends! Here are 5 places in Italy for perfect ghost tours.
In my opinion, superstitions about ghosts come from experiences of this kind. You are so accustomed to the presence of someone that when that someone goes away, you keep hearing their footsteps, their knocking, whatever. This aspect is how, if you want or need to believe, you convince yourself that ghosts exist.
What is Ghost Tourism?
Ghost Tourism, also known as "tourism of fear”, was born in America and recently it is very popular in Italy too. It’s a particular and experiential form of tourism, in which you visit or take part in organized tours in allegedly haunted places. A growing phenomenon in Italy since 2016, which leads to an important increase of the tourist flow, mostly during Halloween time. According to CNA Tourism, this particular type of tourism would be able to record a turnover of about 100 million euros only in Italy, considering there are a lot of places in the country which seem to be hosted by unusual presences.
The Castle of Montebello
The imposing Castle of Montebello is located near Rimini, precisely in Borgo Montebello. An outstanding touristic destination, a lot of visitors go to the castle to admire its majesty and to experience the mysterious atmosphere that lurks within the walls of the manor. We're talking about the famous legend of Azzurrina. Guendalina Malatesta, born around 1370, was the daughter of Ugolinuccio di Montebello. Unfortunately the child was albino and at the time it was considered as a sinister mark, so her parents locked in the castle to hid her from the people. The mother, trying to deceive her features, dyed her hair black but the color actually assumed a light blue shade. Hence her name "Azzurrina". In 1375, on the day of the summer solstice, in the middle of a heavy storm, Azzurrina's guards suddenly heard a scream and a loud noise. The soldiers couldn’t find the little girl anywhere. Azzurrina disappeared forever.
Since then, legend has it that every five years, at the summer solstice, those who are in the castle can hear screams, cries and the voice of a little girl calling her mother.
In 1990 the castle was opened to visitors and from that moment on, countless reports have been made and several researchers have been able to record the famous sound of voices. Today the strange events in the castle are part of research, the building is crawling with stories of unusual mysteries.
Whether it's all true or not, one thing is certain: given its unique stories, the Castle of Montebello is perfect for an exciting ghost tour.
Via Bagnera in Milan is one of the creepiest streets in Italy, well-known for its spooky history. It is a very narrow street and it's located right next to via Torino, in the city centre of Milan between the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio and the Duomo. What undoubtedly makes a walk along this street a perfect ghost tour is the mystery related to the 19th-century story of Antonio Boggia, the first Italian serial killer, known as the 'Monster of Milan'. Boggia’s house was indeed in Via Bagnera. His poor victims were murdered in his famous basement.
To this day, it is said that it gets unusually cold when the criminal's spirit still wanders restlessly the street, where his crimes took place and whoever walks along Via Bagnera can probably feel it.
To reach Via Bagnera and enjoy this short but special scary tour, the nearest metro station is "Missori", on the yellow M3 line.
The Malaspina Castle
The Malaspina Castle is located between the fascinating Tuscany and Liguria, in Fosdinovo, near Massa Carrara. Considered one of the largest and most majestic castles in the area, this ancient building has been the site of important events and battles, some even related to the Second World War. Built in the 12th century and therefore of great historical importance, the castle is now an important museum.
For centuries it was the home of the great Torrigiana and Malaspina families, its authentic background of tortures and crimes makes the castle even more astonishing. In fact, inside the castle it is possible to visit a room where there are old torture instruments.
However, there is a common legend that makes it even more famous, the one linked to the Marquise Bianca Maria Aloisia Malaspina. The story tells of the love between Bianca and a man of a different rank who was later killed by her family. Bianca was locked up in a cell in the castle by her parents and died shortly afterwards of starvation. This story is related to the popular mystery of the castle in which the ghosts of the Marquise and the stableman seem to roam the walls of the manor. Among the most common reports such as strange noises or sightings, there is also a curious mystery linked to a pillow placed on Bianca's bed, where it is possible to hear breaths or even heartbeats.
Fiction or reality? Go take a ghost tour in the castle to find out.
The Swabian Castle of Trani
The Swabian Castle of Trani is one of the most important and remarkable castles in Apulia. Built for Emperor Federico II di Svevia around the 12th century, today it is a real architectural gem. Built in order to defend the Apulian territory, the castle was also important in Frederick's time. Its position, perched on a rock overlooking the sea, offers its visitors captivating scenery.
However, the castle is also known for its mysterious and paranormal events. As in any respecting manor, there is a popular legend that makes a visit to the castle even more exciting. It is about Armida, a young woman who, after betraying her husband, was locked up in the castle dungeon. The story tells that her husband, after discovering the love affair, killed her lover and locked up Bianca in the dungeon where she died of hunger and despair. It is assumed that the soul of the poor woman has never left the castle and is still wandering around the large rooms of the castle, looking for her beloved knight. According to some reports and sightings, the ghost of the woman appears in a dark grey dress with very long black hair.
A legend that is undoubtedly perfect for an interesting and intriguing ghost tour.
The Castle of Agazzano
Between Parma and Piacenza there are many castles with curious and unusual occurrences. The Castle of Agazzano is one of these. It is located in the province of Piacenza and was founded in the 13th century. For years it was the home of the Scotti family and today the entire building, which includes the palace and the fortress, is a great architectural masterpiece, a complex that combines both medieval and classical Renaissance styles. Inside you can also admire remarkable works of art such as frescoes and antique furnitures.
Behind the castle's fascinating history and beautiful features there’s a hidden and unusual side. A strange presence inhabits the walls of the complex, it is the ghost of Pier Maria Scotti, known as "Conte Buso", a skilled and fierce knight who died at the age of forty in 1521 after an attack on the castle and whose body was never found. Legend has it that the ghost of the count, in love with his own home, never wanted to leave the manor.
Doors that open by themselves, lights that turn on and pieces of glass found for no good reason, the Castle of Agazzano offers a unique and sometimes thrilling experience. An adventure among history, art and inexplicable events.