The sad story of Bianca Maria Malaspina at the Fosdinovo Castle

Highlights, History and culture, Lunigiana, Magra Valley, Plan your visit Leave a comment
 

The walls of the Malaspina Fosdinovo Castle were the scene of the terrible tragedy of Bianca Maria Aloisa. The many testimonies of its presence in the fortress is today one of the most famous hunted phenomena in the world.

In the village some swear to have been overwhelmed with melancholy at the sight of a woman wrapped in her long brown hair and filled with the milky light of the full moon, walking the paths of the beautiful manor and finding no peace.

That’s why no one was too surprised when some Fosdinovo castle’s restoration works in 1980 revealed the presence of remains of a young woman in a small underground cell, along with those of a dog and a boar.

It must certainly have been the remains of the  Malaspina marquise Bianca Aloisa, killed by a paternal hand because of a deep and sincere love for a man the destiny of a noble and unhappy woman could not grant her.

 

Who was Maria Aloisa Malaspina?

DomenicoGhirlandaio, Ritratto di Giovane Donna

Not much is known about her, no portraits of her were depicted, nor she received any honor.

She was born around the half of the 17th century, daughter of James II, Marquis of Fosdinovo of the House of Malaspina and Maria Grimaldi, and had four brothers: Ippolito and Pasquale, who succeeded their father, Ferdinando and Andrea.
The silence about her, only female doughter, may be due to the fact that she was born with albinism – but the oral tradition of noble and unhappy albino noble women is quite widespread, and could only be a case of influences between similar stories.

More likely, her lack of presence in the annals is due to the fact that from the earliest age he stubbornly disobeyed her father’s wish to marry her to a nobleman from a neighboring family.

The young and determined woman had in fact fallen in love with the stable-man of the fortress, and was sincerely loved by him.
The father, for punishment, forced her to a monastic life but, although recluse, the young woman refused the votes and continued to meet his great love, perhaps even getting pregnant.

The noble parent could not withstand the strength of this woman daughter, and blinded by anger he had her lover killed and, perhaps even after atrocious torture, had the girl walled up in the basement of the castle, accompanied by a boar – the symbol of rebellion to the family – and a dog, a symbol of faithful love.

Since then, screams of terror and visions of women walking in the night in Fosdinovo are very frequent.

Cruel father, honored lord of the Malaspina Flowering Branch

The emblem of the House of Flowering Branch of the Malaspina Family, lords of Lunigiana

To us modern readers of this sad story this parent seems an unhappy one, who did not know how to give Aloisa the love that was due to her as a daughter.

Unfortunately, however, the determined Bianca Maria was simply a victim of her time, in which no woman, especially if emblazoned, was allowed any determination.
Moreover, Giacomo did not seem to have a good relationship with his children, because Andrea was accused of attempted parricide.

And the lord of the flowering branch of the House of the Malaspina, lords of Lunigiana, is among other things well remembered in the history of his family and of the entire region.

Together with his wife he was an important ruler of Fosdinovo, who under his marquisate became the nerve center of the Lunigiana communications, and his increasingly imposing and festive castle: it is said that were dedicated to parties and excesses.

He rebuilt the Oratorio dei Bianchi, burned in 1501 (1641-53), the Marquisate of Gragnola returned to the power of the Malaspina of Fosdinovo (1644) and in 1636 the Castle came to count as many as 800 “fires”.

The magnificent mansion of the Fosdinovo Castle

The Castle of Fosdinovo is the best preserved structure among the fortified dwellings of the Malaspina family. It was the defensive construction of the castro di Fosdinovo starting from the XII century, and from the XIV it housed the home of the marquis of the flowering branch of the family, for its dominant position with an extraordinary view over the whole valley to the sea, was the basis of his great fief of Lunigiana, and saw its alternate fortunes until the 18th century.

The Castle is now a museum, a cultural center dedicated to the production and dissemination of contemporary arts, a residence for artists and writers and also houses a small and charming bed and breakfast.

Visiting Hours of the Castle of Fosdinovo
The castle can be visited every day except Tuesdays except holidays.
Guided tours for groups of minimum six people.
Night visits by appointment.
Summer timetable (1st May – 30th September): 11.00–12.00–15.30–16.30-17.30-18.30
Winter time (1 October – 30 April): 11.00–12.00–15.00–16.00–17.00

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