The castle of Montebello is a suggestive fortified fortress hidden among the green hills of Emilia-Romagna, in the hinterland of Rimini. The Rocca dominates the Marecchia and Uso valleys. Built in the year 1000, on the bases of a Roman tower, today it is divided into a Renaissance wing and another in the style of a military fortress. The castle holds centuries-old mysteries and legends. Among all the stories surrounding this place, one in particular continues to arouse a stir and curiosity: the one that tells of the ghost of little Azzurrina.

Montebello castle seen from above

The sad story of the feudal lord's daughter

The Montebello castle in Torriana, in the hamlet of Poggio Torriana, was inhabited by the family of local feudal lords, who gave life to the legend of Azzurrina. The little girl's real name was Gwendolyn, daughter of the feudal lord Uguccione (or Ugolinuccio) of Montebello. The little girl, with blue eyes, was albino and, due to her appearance, was kept hidden inside the castle to protect her from accusations of witchcraft. Her mother tried in vain to dye her white hair with natural dyes, but the result, every time, was a color tending towards blue. For this reason she was nicknamed Azzurrina.

Montebello Castle, mask

A disappearance that remained shrouded in mystery

One night in 1375, during the summer solstice, it is said that the little girl was playing in the rooms of the castle with a rag doll. It was raining cats and dogs outside. Suddenly, the ball rolled into the dungeon and fell into a deep well. The guards, who had the task of watching over her, heard a scream but, once they rushed to the well, they found no one. Since then Azzurrina disappeared forever without leaving any traces. For many, her child was killed by her own family to hide her albinism, a victim of the superstition that she attributed misfortune to this condition. Even today her ghost haunts the castle walls and, every five years, on the nights of the summer solstice, her cries and moans are heard, which have been recorded since 1990.


Guided tours

The castle of Montebello has become a place of pilgrimage for those who want to witness the apparition of the ghost of Azzurrina. Many visitors go there during the night of the summer solstice, with the hope of seeing the shadow of the little girl wandering between the ancient walls. Some claim to have seen her dancing through the corridors of the manor, others describe her as a sad and ghostly shadow. One thing is certain: the mystery surrounding Azzurrina's disappearance and her presumed presence in the Montebello castle continues to fascinate and intrigue anyone who approaches this legendary residence.

Azzurrina's painting

Today, a painting hangs at the site of her disappearance, depicting the little girl as she appears in the visions. During the daytime guided tour you can see all the rooms of the castle and you can listen to the legend of Azzurrina together with the explanation of the research carried out over time. The night-time guided tour is only suitable for an adult audience.


Documentaries and films have been made on the legend of Azzurrina. Montebello Castle represents a unique place in the world and testifies to the power of the stories that have been handed down over time.

(Photo: Montebello Castle, Facebook Page)

The castle of Montebello and the ghost of Azzurrina last edit: 2024-05-11T07:28:00+02:00 da Antonietta Malito

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