The phantom of the Castle
The phantom of the Castle


A story written by the historian Cesare Farinelli who, for many years, has been involved in historical research on Valeggio and its territory…

Blood and mystery
A story written by the historian Cesare Farinelli who, for many years, has been involved in historical research on Valeggio and its territory.

For centuries, during the silent and dark nights, when only the light of the moon illuminated the crenellated towers of theCastello Scaligero, no-one from Valeggio dared approach the "manor" because everyone knew that someone or something was lurking around the rostrums and battlements. Many of those who lived in the area close to the hill swore they had seen it on nights of the full moon: an icy and silent apparition, imposing and frightening.

Some said that it all dated back to a very old tragic story of power and betrayal, which took place at the time of the Scaligeri, Lords of Verona. After Guglielmo, the last descendant of this powerful dynasty, was poisoned by an unknown hand, Giacomo da Carrara, Lord of Padua, took control of the city albeit for a short time. He tried every means to hold on to power and counter the growing influence of the Serenissima, which threatened to advance across the Venetian plain.

At the beginning of January 1405, a secret source informed Giacomo da Carrara that the Castle keeper of Valeggio, Sir Andriolo da Parma, was negotiating with the Venetians to surrender and hand over the fortified stronghold, the cornerstone of the imposing Serraglio line of defence. The reaction of Giacomo da Carrara was immediate and bloody. On 8 January, a troop of soldiers reached the castle in Valeggio and arrested Andriolo on the damning charge of high treason. Stripped of all his powers and having broken his sword, the icon of authority, Da Parma was tied up and transported on a cart to the Campo di Marte field on the banks of the Adige in Verona. He was chained to a pole and brutally killed by sword.

The bloody execution did not, however, guarantee the political survival of Giacomo, who was forced to flee the following July from the rebellious people of Verona, who surrendered the city voluntarily to San Marco and the Doge. We do not know where Andriolo was buried, perhaps his body was thrown into the Adige or into a mass grave. In any case, since that tragic day, it seems that his tormented spirit returns to the walls of the Castle on every full moon night, wandering among the towers in search of his broken sword, buried in a secret place by Giacomo da Carrara’s henchmen.

Andriolo is looking for his lost honour, without which he cannot rest in peace.