Experience the darker side of Tuscany this Halloween. Get in the mood for Halloween by visiting some of Tuscany’s spookiest sites. See genuine Medieval torture tools, ghostly towns and a bridge that some say was built by the devil himself.
Eerie excursions in Tuscany for Halloween
We know, Halloween isn’t a Tuscan festival, and though a lot of locals don’t like the idea of a pagan festival stealing the show from Ognissanti or All Saints, its popularity is definitely on the rise. These days you’ll see a lot more Jack o’ Lanterns and creepy costumes about, and there’s always a seriously spooky shindig going on somewhere. Halloween fever has definitely bitten.
But where to go on this spine-chilling date? We’ve got a few ideas for some eerie excursions and experiences in Tuscany that might be just perfect for Halloween. Here are a few places to help you work up the nerve.
Feel the fear at the Torture Museum in San Gimignano
This museum has a permanent exhibition of Medieval torture implements, many of them unique. It’s a fascinating place, but not for the faint hearted. Its sparse, atmospheric rooms are packed with some of the most horrible torture devices you’re ever likely to see. From simple chastity belts, to knee- splitters, hanging cages and the terrible “Iron Maiden” – an anthropomorphic container with two doors that when closed drove spikes into its victims. These implements and the spooky atmosphere will send your imagination into overdrive. Tickets range from €5 to €10. Nightmares included with the price. Official site: Museo della Tortura.
Cross the Devil’s Bridge in Borgo a Mozzano, Garfagnana
A few kilometres from Lucca there’s a peculiar looking bridge that according to legend, was built by the devil. Hence its ‘nickname’, Devil’s Bridge. The architect who was supposed to construct this fabulous bridge over the river Serchio was behind schedule with its work, so he asked for Satan’s help. In return, the devil demanded the soul of the first person to cross the bridge. But when the bridge was completed, the architect tricked the devil by sending a pig across it first.
Many centuries have passed since this fateful crossing, but the whole valley Valle del Serchio, knows the story and it has inspired a modern day Halloween celebration that’s fun and theatrical. Held in Borgo a Mozzano in the Garfagnana area, it’s become one of the main halloween celebrations in Italy, inspired by this local legend.
Dare to visit the ghost town of Toiano
The hissing of the wind. Ruins. Empty windows that stare at the sky. That’s what awaits the intrepid traveller who ventures to the old town of Toiano in Tuscany. Today the place is completely deserted. Save for the cemetery, which is probably the liveliest part. Get the idea? If you love ghostly spots, and creepy places, this might be just the place for you. Bring your camera obscura for some ultra spooky shots. You get there from Palaia, in the province of Pisa following a 5 kilometre road that finishes in Toiano at a dead-end. Obviously.
Spend a night in a haunted castle in the North of Tuscany
Tuscany has no shortage of castles. The mysterious Lunigiana, the area right at the northern tip of Tuscany, is aptly named the “land of 100 castles”. And like all castles that deserve the name, a few are known to be haunted. Like the Masalpina Castle in Fosdinovo.
It is renowned for a rather lovely spectre, Bianca Maria Aloisia, a young beautiful woman who was walled in because she felt in love with the wrong guy. She was noble, he was a stable boy. It’s sad story that the visitor can relive by visiting the castle. The braver ones among you can spend a sleepless night trying to get a glimpse of her hovering around.
photo credit: Museo della Tortura San Gimignano official site – Devil’s bridge by Cladio Diaz in Flickr – Marco Bartolini in Flickr.