In Brolio, in Gaiole in Chianti, there is a castle that has belonged to the Ricasoli family since 1141. Bettino Ricasoli, who lived in the nineteenth century, was known as the “Iron Baron” on account of the ruthlessness with which he treated even his own subjects. He ruled his domain until 1880, when he died of a heart attack in his castle.
The Baron’s body was not buried immediately but kept near the altar of the crypt in the family chapel. It was not long before rumours began to circulate, then proliferate across the Chianti, about strange apparitions around the castle. His funeral was marked by disturbing events: the wind began to blow, the windows opened and slammed as if moved by an invisible hand. A swarm of moths invaded the chapel, scattering many of the mourners.
As if that were not enough, the coffin was so heavy that it felt to the pallbearers as if it were full of stones. No one could lift it. Then the priest arrived.
He said a few words in Latin and, to everyone's amazement, the coffin suddenly became light. It is said that the damned souls were safely confined to one place and the coffin of the baron was then buried in a ravine. It seemed like an appropriate place for the eternal repose of the baron, but from that moment an endless series of apparitions began.