Arezzo and the castle of ghosts
Every castle worth remembering has its own story, but the castles of Tuscany also have their own ghosts.
The castle of the Conti Guidi called Poppi, in Arezzo, is considered a haunted castle. Many people over the centuries have seen its ghost and, in medieval as well as Renaissance times, corpses of men were found at the foot of the castle. This fuelled the legend of the black widow, Matelda.
Nevertheless, we are talking about a castle that has something magical and imposing about it. A symbol of the city of Arezzo, in Tuscany, its architecture and construction follows the Sun, which is why it changes its hues during the day. Built by the Counts Guidi in Poppi, it is linked to many stories of political, power and military intrigue. A fortress that is an excellent strategic point.
Arezzo offers many things to see and visit, being a city that remains in medieval style, but surely the Poppi castle is something not to be missed.
The Poppi Castle
History sees the Poppi castle as the protagonist of the Battle of Campaldino. The structure was built around 1190 and then renovated in 1200. There are two parts, one ancient and one recent, which relate to the dates just listed.
Consisting of an imposing part, which then makes it a bastion like few others, it has a high tower that towers over the city of Arezzo. Inside, there are several areas that can be visited in their entirety, such as the decorated hall, the Rilliana library and the upper floors.
We find the Cappella dei Poppi (Poppi Chapel) with frescoes inside that tell of St John the Baptist and John the Evangelist painted by Taddeo Gaddi, who was one of Giotto's pupils.
To enter the castle one had to pass over a small bridge as it was surrounded by a moat that has now been covered over and where there is a beautiful garden-park.
The legend of Matelda, the Black Widow
Be careful not to look at the Poppi castle on full moon and new moon nights. Looking out its windows there could be the ghost of Matelda watching you and seducing you.
The legend of the Black Widow originated around 1200. Matelda was a beautiful woman, desired by all the men of Arezzo. Given in marriage to the lord of Poppi, no one dared approach her. As was the custom in the Middle Ages, the young girl, barely in her teens, was given in marriage, in an arranged marriage, to a man much older than her.
The latter, however, left her alone while he was on military or political campaigns. Moreover, her husband, the lord of Poppi, was very violent, jealous and possessive. He dared to kill anyone who looked at his wife and would also kill her if she looked at anyone else. However, she was allowed to have minstrels, seamstresses and artisans to fulfil her every whim.