The Devil’s Tower

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Devil’s Tower

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The Devil's Tower is part of the Castle of Poppi, a small town in the province of Arezzo, in eastern Tuscany. Villas in area give you the perfect opportunity to discover the dark history of the tower. Its history is closely linked to that of Matilda, an attractive, young woman who is remembered in history for both her irresistible charm but also for her malicious cruelty. She has been compared to the praying mantis, the female insect that eats her partner after mating.

Apparently, according to legend, the young Matilda was not far behind. She first married a member of the Guidi family, who was the owner of the castle. It was one of those marriages typical of the medieval period, arranged specifically to expand the territorial boundaries of the families who would be joined. Unfortunately, for poor Matilda, the groom was an elderly man who was entirely unable to satisfy her and, moreover, was almost always absent because he was committed to spending time on the battlefield. Because of this the disconsolate Matilda decided to surround herself with the company of minstrels and servants; mostly young and handsome and well-prepared to match the desires of their mistress. Over time, the amount of her lovers increased dramatically and the risk of Matilda being discovered or becoming subject to blackmail was, of course, higher. Matilda was not, however, a woman with many scruples and she devised a strategy to silence once and for all her many lovers.

At the end of each night of passion, her lover was made to escape through a secret passage that proved to be a death trap for the unfortunates who fell deep into a pit where there was absolutely no possibility of escape. However, perhaps she had not thought through her plan enough, because the sudden and rising mortality of young men in the area soon began to look suspicious. It didn’t take long before a few locals began to piece things together and pointed a finger at the beautiful Matilda. One day, whilst Matilda’s husband was absent, the castle was attacked. The young Matilda was captured and buried alive in the tower, where she died of hunger and thirst.

It seems that today the spirit of Matilda can still be found around the walls of the castle; maybe she is still looking for young men to seduce. Many people confess to having being lured into her intriguing web, stunned by their lust for a mysterious, charming young woman. But once they have succumbed to her charms and deception, she vanishes into thin air. If you find yourself staying in Tuscany villas close by to Poppi, then a trip to the tower is highly recommended.

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