January 26, 2019

Filippa, the witch of Castel della Pieve

Every historical village has its secrets and enchanted stories of ghosts and witches to tell. Città della Pieve is not an exception; it is the birthplace of Filippa, one of the most famous witches of Umbria. She was accused of magic spells and then burned at the stake in the mid-1400s. The only thing we know for sure about her is the way she died. The Chief Magistrate of Perugia sentenced her to death in the year 1455.

Only a few academics of modern history who have focused their studies on the “witches’ hunt” know her name, her unlucky life and fate. Her life was brought back to light in the summer of 2018 when the employees of the Tourist Information Centre of Città della Pieve made a research in order to discover all the town’s secrets. Her life was quite easy to track down thanks to the original text of her death sentence published in Latin in the Bulletin of the motherland Umbria in1987.

It was during the event “Zafferiamo 2018” when her story was told in public for the very first time. So, let us find out more about the story of Filippa from Castel della Pieve, and her trial. She was accused of witchery like all her colleagues; she was deliberately found guilty after she begged another witch of Castel della Pieve, Claruzia di Angelo, to teach her all her tricks and spells. Probably the judge made up this story simply because he wanted to make her situation worse. The chief magistrate convicted her for being aware of the fact that she wanted to become a witch. In April 1455 after her spontaneous confession, she was sentenced to death after admitting that she was seeking the devil and had naked herself in front of him and tempted him with her loose hair; but her intention was not to seduce him; all she wanted was to be stronger and more powerful than him. She was also accused of being a sorcerer who enchanted spirits and devils and who used to drink children’s blood.

She was compelled to pay a very high court fine (about 4000 pounds) within 10 days before her death sentence if she wanted to save her life. That was impossible for her and the other women like her at that time due to the lack of money; for this reason she was burned alive. Her execution took place in Perugia; while conducted to the gallows, she was exposed to public insult and mocking.

If you join one of our guided tours called “the secrets of Città della Pieve” you will have the chance to see the places where Filippa and other mysterious characters from Città della Pieve lived and operated.

The guided tour “The secrets of Città della Pieve” takes place every year during the town’s main events, or you can reserve a guided tour at the discovery of the historical centre by clicking on the link here below:

Città della Pieve tra vicoli e piazze


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