Once upon a time there was a castle perched on a hilltop, with an enchanted forest at its foot. It sounds like the beginning of a Disney fairy tale or a fantasy tale, but it is none other than the story of Torre Alfina Castle.
It all stems from a watchtower from the Longobard era known as the Casseroaround which, in the Middle Ages, a castle was built. A centre of power, loved, guarded and almost worshipped by the noble families who reigned there, it was transformed over the centuries to become a majestic Renaissance fortress. One of the most significant moments in the history of the castle is linked to Edward Cahen d'Anvers, who at the beginning of the 20th century restored the castle and the Bosco del Sasseto at its feet, transforming it into a magical private garden, complete with a labyrinth of paths and hidden passages.
Table of contents:
- The Village of Torre Alfina
- The ghosts of the castle
- Folk tales and stories
- The mystic Marquis Cahen
The Charm of the Borgo
Today, the castle still watches over the village of Torre Alfina. Developed around the keep of the Cassero, the village is articulated as a typical medieval town with narrow streets, stone houses and atmospheres that seem to catapult the visitor into another era. Its main square offers a spectacular view of the castle and the keep seems to be visible everywhere from the village. The inhabitants have always attributed a Powerful symbolism at the Cassero Tower enough to be associated with witches ('tower of witches, n'dò se va, se vede").
Ghosts of the Castle
Around the Castle of Torre Alfina, circulate various legends and mysteries that contribute to making the place even more fascinating. The most famous is that of the Lady Restless, a spirit wanders restlessly through the rooms and gardens of the ancient mansion. Her identity is unknown, but she seems to be particularly attached to the inner courtyard of the castle, where she has left her indelible footprints. But the historic rooms of the castle seem to offer shelter to another ghost named Generoso. This spirit is described as benevolent but prone to pranks. The villagers claim that during foggy days, Generoso enjoys making the castle invisible from the village, adding a touch of mystery to the surrounding atmosphere.
Folklore of the Enchanted Forest
Local legends also tell of fantastic creatures that populate the paths of the Sasseto Forest. From generation to generation, stories of men turned into werewolves after drinking water from the Fontanella del Lupo, a hollow log always filled with water. There is talk of a witch, mother creator and protector of all woodland creatures. And again, the reason for the area's characteristic moss-covered lava boulders is thought to be the work of devils and witcheswhich with nocturnal rituals prevent the vegetation from growing, creating a unique and mysterious atmosphere in the surrounding forest.
Mystical place for Marquis Cahen
The Castle of Torre Alfina was beloved home of Marquis Edward Cahen who chose the Bosco del Sasseto as his burial place. He had a neo-Gothic mausoleum built there, now called the Fairy Temple. The lanes and paths in the forest were the subject of constant care and attention by the nobleman and his guards. The residents of the village were not allowed access for fear that man might damage this natural jewel. It is said that one day a child was caught by the guards stealing chestnuts and in his eagerness to flee he fell, losing his loot. The next day, the guards came to the home of the little thief with a basket full of chestnuts, kindly offered by the Marquis of Cahen.
Today, the Castle of Torre Alfina is registered in the Italian Register of Historic Houses of Excellence and on 29 September 2023 was awarded the prestigious Golden Crown of Residences d'Epoca. The Borgo since 2007 joined the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy. For centuries, the castle, the village and the forest all around have stimulated people's imagination with their unfathomable aura of magic and mystery. The locals themselves are devoted to these places and the enchanted creatures that seem to inhabit them. Visitors cannot fail to be fascinated by the magical mysticism of this hidden gem in the heart of Tuscia.