Among ancient mysterious castles and small villages lost in the mountains, which seem to hide dark secrets, Italy is a true treasure trove of esoteric wonders. Thanks to its millenary history, to its architecture that still today emanate a unique charm, but also to an atmosphere that is perhaps not found anywhere else in the world.
What are the most evocative places not to be missed? Let’s find out together.
The Ursino Castle, in the most mysterious Catania
Symbol of a dark and mysterious Catania, the Ursino Castle can only be reinterpreted in an esoteric key, at least for the many fans of this secret world. Many are its symbols, which according to legend were wanted by Frederick II of Swabia, a great expert in esotericism.
From its cylindrical towers to fascinating graffiti, everything here takes on an occult meaning.
Palazzo della Zisa and its treasure protected by devils
Instead, it is in Palermo that stands a true Arab-Norman masterpiece: Palazzo della Zisa, which hides a very suggestive legend.
It is said that the mansion was built by two young lovers, who fled with a precious treasure due to opposing his father’s wedding. This treasure would still be kept inside the palace, protected by some devils. To break the spell, it seems one has to count the exact number of devils present in the fresco in the Sala della Fontana. Too bad that these strange figures keep moving to generate confusion…
L’Antro della Sibilla, true esoteric beauty
The Archaeological Park of Cuma, on the outskirts of Naples, is a place steeped in magic. Here is the Antro della Sibilla, a long artificial tunnel dug into the tuff, under the temple of Apollo (considered by many to be the entrance to the kingdom of the dead).
The tunnel ends in a large vaulted room: legend has it that it was in this deep cave that the Cumaean Sibyl operated her divination.
The Devil’s House, overlooking the Bellano Ravine
The narrow Bellano canyon, not far from Lake Como, is a truly suggestive natural attraction.
At the entrance to the ravine there is however a very particular place, which gives off a mysterious aura: it is Casa del Diavolo (Devils’s House), a turret with an irregular pentagonal base that rises four floors overhanging the waterfall. Strange mythological animals are depicted on its walls, and it is said that once upon a time real satanic rites were celebrated within these walls.
The evocative Preja Buja, a symbol of fertility
Along the shores of Lake Maggiore, on the other hand, there are many localities which – according to legend – have an important influence on fertility.
Ancient rites were practiced on rocks which, even today, have traces of engravings dedicated to the Great Mother, the protector of fertility. One of these boulders, known as Preja Buja, is located just outside the town of Sesto Calende. Apparently it was a prehistoric altar, used to invoke motherhood.
Triora, the terrifying village of witches
Between the majestic Ligurian Alps and the green valleys, here is the suggestive village of Triora. Its ancient charm hides truly frightening legends: towards the end of the 16th century, in fact, the town was involved in a terrifying witch hunt.
It is no coincidence that it is still known today as the Italian Salem, and to remember the terrible event every first Sunday after August 15th, the Strigora is celebrated, among those streets of the village where many unjustly accused women lost their lives.
The crypt of the Ugento Crucifix
Also in Puglia there are many esoteric places. One of the most fascinating to visit is the crypt of the Crucifix of Ugento, a small village in the province of Lecce.
The cave, dug into the tufaceous rock at a depth of 5 meters, houses some truly precious frescoes. The crusader shields imprinted on the ceiling recall the mystery of the Knights Templar. The painting of the Madonna enthroned with the Child Jesus is very rich in symbolism: the latter is depicted with an earring in the left lobe, a real rarity.
The Rocca di San Leo, the kingdom of alchemy
The suggestive Rocca di San Leo, which from the top of the rocky ridge on which it stands enjoys a wonderful view of the plain of Montefeltro, is closely linked to the myth of Cagliostro.
Magician, esotericist and healer, he was locked up right within its walls on charges of heresy. According to some legends, here the man continued his alchemy experiments until, now weakened by the lack of food, he did not breathe his last breath. It seems that his ghost still lingers in the fortress, in search of eternal peace.