Bianca Maria Malaspina’s sad story at the Fosdinovo Castle

Shrouded in mystery and oblivion, the figure of Bianca Malaspina lives on in the legends of Lunigiana, telling a tale of rebellion, forbidden love, and tragic death.

Little is known about Bianca Malaspina, the only daughter of Marchese Giacomo II of Fosdinovo. Born around the middle of the 17th century, her existence has been obscured by history’s silence. No portraits remember her, and no honors have been accorded to her.

Some speculate that her albino appearance may have caused her to be forgotten. The tradition of unhappy noble albino women is widespread, and one might consider the influence of similar stories.

Woman in renaissance costume, ph. karmanews.it

A rebellion against a cruel fate

However, it is more likely that her disappearance from the annals is due to her strong will to oppose her father. From a young age, Bianca stubbornly refused marriage to a noble from a neighboring house arranged by the Marchese.

Her heart belonged to the stableman of the fortress, a man of humble origins with whom she shared a genuine and reciprocated love. Enraged by his daughter’s disobedience, her father punished her severely.

Bianca was confined to a convent, but even monastic life could not extinguish her love. She continued to meet her beloved in secret, possibly even becoming pregnant.

Blinded by anger and the unacceptability of the situation, the Marchese had the stableman killed and, in an act of unprecedented cruelty, walled Bianca alive in the castle’s dungeons. The young woman was enclosed with a wild boar, symbolizing her rebellion against the family, and a dog, the faithful companion of her lost love.

The emblem of the House of Flowering Branch of the Malaspina Family, lords of Lunigiana

From that tragic day, screams of terror and visions of women wandering at night in Fosdinovo are frequent. The legend of Bianca Malaspina continues to live on, fueling the mystery and allure of this story of rebellion, love, and death.

We modern readers of this sad story might think that this parent was a miserable man who did not know how to give Aloisa the fatherly love that the unfortunate girl deserved.

In reality, however, the determined Bianca Maria was simply a victim of her time, in which no woman, especially if noble, was granted any self-determination. Moreover, Giacomo did not seem to have a good relationship with his children, as his son Andrea was accused of attempted patricide.

Otherwise, the lord of the blossoming branch of the House of Malaspina, lords of Lunigiana, is well remembered in the history of his family and the entire region. Together with his wife, he was an important ruler of Fosdinovo, which, under his marquisate, became a communication hub of Lunigiana. His castle became ever more imposing and festive; it is said that the couple indulged in parties and excesses.

He rebuilt the Oratorio dei Bianchi, which burned down in 1501 (1641-53), the Marquisate of Gragnola returned under the power of the Malaspinas of Fosdinovo (1644), and by 1636, the Castle had as many as 800 “hearths”.

The Castle of Fosdinovo is the best-preserved structure among the fortified dwellings of the Malaspina in Lunigiana. The defensive construction of the castro of Fosdinovo began in the 12th century, and from the 14th century, it hosted the residence of the marquess of the blossoming branch of the house, for its dominant position with an extraordinary view over the entire valley to the sea, it became the base of his vast fief of Lunigiana. It saw fortunes fluctuate until the 18th century.

Today, the castle is a museum, a cultural center dedicated to the production and dissemination of contemporary arts, and a residence for artists and writers. It also houses a small, cozy, and evocative bed and breakfast.

Craft beer Tasting in Val di Vara

Trekking from Vernazza to Monterosso

In Cinque Terre with a photographer

Craft your perfume in the Cinque Terre

Trekking Riomaggiore Manarola

The magnificent mansion of the Fosdinovo Castle

Fodinovo castle, scenery of Bianca Malaspina’s tragedy

Visiting the Castle of Fosdinovo

The guided tour of the Castle of Fosdinovo takes place on Saturdays and Sundays and lasts about 50 minutes.

Maximum allowed: 25 people per group.

The final part of the visit presents steep stairs and battlemented towers.

Please note that ticket reservation is a priority for access. However, for remaining availability, entrance tickets can still be purchased directly at the Castle’s Bookstore.

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