The Palazzo dei Diavoli

Monday, January 16, 2012

If you’re planning a holiday at one of the many lovely villas in Tuscany, then it’s worth visiting the Palazzo dei Diavoli. “Palazzo dei Diavoli” or “The Devils’ Palace” owes its name to the mysteries that revolve around the building. The palace is located near Porta Camollia in Siena. It sits on one of the most beautiful and famous hills in the town, and if you’re staying at any of the villas in Tuscany, it shouldn’t be too far from your base.

The palace originally belonged to the Turchi, a Sienese family, as indicated by the inscription "Palatium Turcarum" at the top of main door. The plaque still remains there for its beauty and originality. The palace, which was built by several architects in different eras, is distinguished by its cylindrical tower and fine clay coating.

There are many myths and legends surrounding the origin of the palace’s bizarre name. Some argue that the word ‘Devils’ was a derogatory term to describe the Turchi as the people of unbelievers, an ironic take on the name of the land-owning family which means “Turks”. Others believe the name is a result of acts of black magic, orgies and satanic rituals that took place at the palace. Surely this must mean that the Devil’s presence has been felt here?

The last hypothesis, the most interesting, connects the building to the dramatic events that hit the city of Siena in 1526. Siena was an ally of Charles V and was involved in the war between the imperial forces and Pope Clement VII. The latter, allied with the Florentines, decided to launch a huge assault on the city of Siena. The Sienese who were in the minority, seemed doomed, but all was not lost. With incredible strength they were able to repel the attacks and defeat the enemy army.

The outcome of the battle was so extraordinary that many people thought that external interference, perhaps even the devil himself, must have played a role. Even Francesco Vettori, the ambassador of the Florentine Republic, wrote to Niccolo Machiavelli claiming supernatural intervention to justify the huge debacle. Had the Florentinian army seen the face of the Devil in their enemies’ eyes?

Even today, some people say that they feel a malignant force at work in the buildings during recent times. Don’t let this deter you from staying at nearby villas in Tuscany. Many inhabitants of the city say there is not much to worry about- at least in this case the devil seems to be rooting for Siena!

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