Villages & CastlesVillages & Castles

Castles with ghosts in Italy – a thrilling experience in Emilia Romagna

by /// October 30, 2023
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes



You have heard of the chefs, athletes and artists of our region, but did you know of the ghosts haunting our castles?

Whether you are an avid ghostbuster or just passionate about history, your search ends here: Emilia-Romagna is notorious for its strange phenomena and the many apparitions (mostly women) that seem to have settled down here!

Keep reading to discover an unusual side of the Emilia-Romagna region, where history blurs into myth, with five guided ghost tours (find the little ghost below 👻 ), often taking place at night, at five Castles of the Duchy, for a real spine-chilling experience!

Looking for a day out with some thrills and chills? Here are the most “haunted” places #inEmiliaRomagna where you can come face-to-face with a ghost.

Mysteries and Ghosts in Piacenza

Ghost of court chef Giuseppe 👻

Where: Castello di Rivalta, Gazzola (PC)

Killed in the 18th century by a butler for having an affair with his wife, this ghost makes his presence known by turning switches on and off. Today, the chef is said to appear when the castle is particularly crowded, but always in a playful rather than frightening way.

Castello di Rivalta (PC), Fantasma del cuoco Giuseppe
Castello di Rivalta (PC), Fantasma del cuoco Giuseppe

Ghost of Agata

Where: Castello di San Pietro in Cerro (PC)

Agata was a sweet and kind girl: she worked as a servant at the Court of Counts Barattieri, when she fell in love with a squire who loved her back. However, one of the counts, consumed by jealousy, made her his own. The squire, determined to get his revenge, stabbed the count to death and was hanged for this. Devastated by grief, Agata threw herself from the tower’s battlements to her death. Since then, the broken-hearted girl has been seen roaming the corridors of the castle, reminding us that true love never dies.

San Pietro in Cerro (PC), Fantasma di Agata
San Pietro in Cerro (PC), Fantasma di Agata

Ghost of Aloisa

Where: Grazzano Visconti, Vigolzone (PC)

Aloisa, who died of jealousy after finding out that her husband cheated on her, has been spotted haunting the castle at night, spooking the visitors who do not have a gift for her. She became the patron of all lovers, and many visitors bring her presents to make her feel better about her failed romance.

Ghost of Confalonieri

Where: Castello di Paderna, Pontenure (PC)

Confalonieri was a knight who was imprisoned in this Castle, where he was tortured and eventually died in excruciating pain. Since then, many visitors have claimed they heard someone screaming the name of weapons of the past (such as the crossbow). Some believe that the electromagnetic field in the small Church of Saint Mary is proof of his presence…

Paderna (PC), Fantasma di Confalonieri
Paderna (PC), Fantasma di Confalonieri

Ghost of Pier Maria Scotti, also known as “Buso spadaccino” 👻

Where: Castello di Agazzano (PC)

Brutally murdered by Astorre Visconti in 1529, legend has it that his body was thrown into the castle moat and never found. Today, he haunts the castle walls and the garden, and there have been many occurrences of opened doors, flickering lights, and broken glasses.

Castello di Agazzano (PC), Fantasma del “Buso”
Castello di Agazzano (PC), Fantasma del “Buso”

Ghost of Rosania Fulgosio

Where: Castello di Gropparello (PC)

She was walled up alive in the dungeons of the castle by her husband Pietrone da Cagnano around 1200 because she cheated on him with her first love, Lancillotto da Anguissola, after the castle had been besieged. Many visitors have reported hearing the bloodcurdling screams of a woman coming from the dungeons, and some claim they have seen a pale figure in white wandering around the park and in the Weapon Room.

Castello di Gropparello (PC), Fantasma di Rosania
Castello di Gropparello (PC), Fantasma di Rosania

Ghosts of Laura, Sergio and Spadone

Where: Rocca Viscontea di Castell’Arquato (PC)

In 1620, in the Fortress owned by the Sforza family, Laura fell in love with Sergio Montale, and helped him and his servant Spadone escape from the prison they were kept in. The two lovers were beheaded, whereas Spadone, after being on the run for years, avenged his friend’s death and spent the rest of his life in the dungeon of the fortress. Since then, the three of them have been haunting the place where they tragically found their death.

Castell’Arquato (PC), Fantasmi di Laura, Sergio e Spadone
Castell’Arquato (PC), Fantasmi di Laura, Sergio e Spadone

Mysteries and Ghosts in Parma

Ghost of Beatrice Pallavicino 👻

Where: Castello di Varano De’ Melegari (PR)

The ghost of the Castle is reportedly that of Beatrice Pallavicino, a young mother of four children who died under mysterious circumstances. She is said to roam the castle unable to find rest even in death.

Varano de’ Melegari (PR), Fantasma di Beatrice Pallavicino
Varano de’ Melegari (PR), Fantasma di Beatrice Pallavicino

Ghost of Lady Bianca Pellegrini

Where: Castello di Torrechiara, Langhiarano (PR)

The beautiful green-eyed duchess Bianca fell in love with captain Pier Maria de’ Rossi, Count of San Secondo. Legend has it that the Castle was built by the count as the two lovers were both married and needed a secret place where to meet. They spent many a night together in the Golden Room, which is why they often return there, the lady appearing in full moon nights, and the captain repeating his promise: ‘Nunc et semper’ (Now and always in Latin).

Castello di Torrechiara (PR), Fantasma di Bianca Pellegrini
Castello di Torrechiara (PR), Fantasma di Bianca Pellegrini

Ghost of Donna Cenerina

Where: Rocca Meli Lupi, Soragna (PR)

Cassandra Marinoni, also known as Donna Cenerina and as the wife of Marquis Diofebo II Meli Lupi, was gruesomely murdered by her brother-in-law Giulio Anguissola in 1573 for his personal gain. The culprit was never brought to justice, so her sorrowful spirit finds no peace and wanders around the rooms of the Fortress making prophecies and announcing disasters to come to the lords of the Castle and their descendants.

Soragna (PR), Fantasma di Donna Cenerina
Soragna (PR), Fantasma di Donna Cenerina

Ghost of Fairy Bema 👻

Where: Castello di Montechiarugolo (PR)

The young Fairy Bema arrived at the estate of Ranuccio Farnese in 1593. The Duke, afraid of falling victim to a spell, imprisoned her and then sentenced her lover to death on 19 May 1612. Since then, the ghost shows herself to young women the day before their wedding to tell them what their future holds and goes back to the Castle every year on the 19th of May in search of her lover.

Castello di Montechiarugolo (PR), Fantasma della Fata Bema
Castello di Montechiarugolo (PR), Fantasma della Fata Bema

Ghost of the maiden with no name

Where: Rocca dei Rossi di San Secondo, San Secondo Parmense (PR)

The fortress is reportedly haunted by a young girl who shows herself at midnight and who was slaughtered when she was not even twenty. Legend has it that traces of blood can still be seen on the fireplace of the Latona Hall, where the murder took place.

Ghost of Fumèra

Where: Antica Corte Pallavicina, Polesine Zibello (PR)

An enigmatic, yet playful spirit is said to wander around on foggy nights, making the food hanging in the cellars swing back and forth as though he still wanted to enjoy, even after so many centuries, the scent of the best food in the world: “Culatello”, a local cured meat.

Polesine parmense (PR), Fantasma di Fumèra
Polesine parmense (PR), Fantasma di Fumèra

Ghost of Maria Sanvitale 👻

Where: Rocca Sanvitale di Fontanellato (PR)

The spirit appearing from the window of the Reception Hall is said to be that of little Maria Sanvitale, the granddaughter of empress Marie Louise Duchess of Parma, who died when she was only five. Some people have reported strange happenings: heavy footsteps in empty rooms, dull thuds in the middle of the night, and the feeling of not being alone.

Ghost of Moroello

Where: Fortezza di Bardi (PR)

At the end of the 15th century, a noblewoman named Soleste fell in love with Moroello, a valiant yet poor boy. When he came back from the war, Soleste mistook him for the enemy and, believing that her lover had died, threw herself from the tower. The knight, destroyed by grief, killed himself and since then he has been roaming the castle in search of his beloved. He was also captured by the infrared camera of two researchers.

Fortezza di Bardi (PR), Fantasma di Moroello
Fortezza di Bardi (PR), Fantasma di Moroello

Ghosts of Giangerolamo Pallavicino and his cousin Giacoma

Where: Castello di Scipione dei Marchesi Pallavicino, Salsomaggiore Terme (PR)

The arranged marriage between the two cousins (and lovers) Giangerolamo Pallavicino and Giacoma was quite unusual for the time. When Giacoma became a widow with a big inheritance, she was murdered by her cousins. In some nights of the year, the presence of the star-crossed lovers can still be felt in the castle in the form of footsteps, doors and windows suddenly opening in the ancestors gallery (Giangerolamo) or lighter footsteps (of Giacoma).

Mysteries and Ghosts in Piacenza in Reggio-Emilia

Ghost of Everelina

Where: Castello di Canossa (RE)

Daughter of a vassal of Matilda of Tuscany, Everelina threw herself from the ancient tower onto the rocks below to avoid marrying a man she didn’t love. Her presence can still be felt from time to time in the rooms near the tower.

Mysteries and Ghosts in Modena

Ghost of Sir Filippo

Where: Torrione di Spilamberto (MO)

Right after the war in 1947, during renovation works they discovered a secret cell with writings and paintings (a sort of comic strip ahead of its time) telling the tragic 16th-century story of Sir Filippo. His was a story of forbidden love interlaced with political intrigue: the unfortunate man died after taking one last look at the sky, his painful wail still echoing in the summer nights.

Mysteries and Ghosts in Rimini

Ghost of Azzurrina

Where: Castello di Montebello, Poggio Torriana (RN)


"Ritratto" ufficiale di Azzurrina, disegnato dalla medium Novella Parisini
“Ritratto” ufficiale di Azzurrina, disegnato dalla medium Novella Parisini

According to legend, little Guendalina, daughter of the lord of Montebello Castle, was born albino. The young girl, nicknamed Azzurrina (an Italian word meaning “little blue girl”) after a wrong dye gave her hair a bluish tint, disappeared after throwing her ball down into an open cellar where ice was stored and was never found. It was 21 June 1375. Since then, the ghost of the child has been roaming the castle showing herself every year ending in 0 or 5, on the night of the summer solstice, when noises can be heard coming from the basements.


Elisa Mazzini

Social Media Manager for @inEmiliaRomagna and full-time mom.

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