The Ghost Of Beatrice Cenci
A Scary Story
In Rome, there is a very famous building called il Castel Sant' Angelo. It was built beside the River Tiber - il Tevere - around the year 134 A.D. by the Emperor Hadrian. In Italian he is known as l'Imperatore Adriano.
A bridge crosses the River Tiber and takes you to the Castel Sant' Angelo. The bridge is called il Ponte Sant'Angelo. In English, it is called 'the Bridge of Angels'. Ten statues of angels stand along the sides.
The girl was from a noble and wealthy Roman family and her name was Beatrice Cenci.
The people of Rome were not happy. They liked Beatrice and they thought that it was unfair that she had died.
This portrait of Beatrice Cenci is by artist Guido Reni.
It is believed that every year, on the nights of the 10th. and 11th. September, the ghost of Beatrice - il fantasma di Beatrice - walks across the Bridge of Angels.
Claudia's True Story:
"I dare you to walk across the bridge in the dark," said my big sister on the 10th. of September last year.
"Non c' è problema!" "No problem!" I replied bravely.
That night, there was a full moon - una luna piena. Long, black shadows of winged angels lay across the pavement of the bridge. Illuminated clouds hovered in the sky.
The dark water - l'acqua scura - of the River Tiber lurked below.
"Io non ho paura!" "I'm not scared!" I informed my sister.
Secretly, my heart was thudding with fear but I didn't admit it because I wanted my big, scaredy-cat sister to admire my bravery.
"In bocca al lupo!" 'Good luck!' she said, as I set off.
There was nobody else on the bridge. It was just me, the angel statues and a possible ghost. As I walked past the statue of an angel, it seemed to be watching me -
Suddenly, I heard footsteps!
Oh no! Mamma mia! This is it! The ghost of Beatrice is going to appear!
What will she look like? Come sarà?
Will she be smiling and friendly? Sarà simpatica?
Will she be scary? Sarà spaventosa?
Will she speak to me? Mi parlerà?
Perhaps she will want to be my friend! Forse vorrà essere mia amica!
The ghostly footsteps were coming nearer. I could hear them behind me. So, I began to walk faster, lowering my head and looking to the ground. I was too terrified to look behind, ahead or to the side.
"Io non ho paura!" I kept telling myself.
At that moment, an icy hand touched my shoulder. It gripped me tightly. I stopped.
'This really is it!' I thought. 'Beatrice is here! Ecco Beatrice!'
Slowly - piano piano - I turned around. My whole body was trembling. I prepared myself to look at the ghostly sight.
I opened my eyes to see my big sister's silly face - la faccia ridicola di mia sorella.
In fact, I was really pleased to see her. Ero contentissima.
"Let's run back!" I suggested. So, we ran as fast as we could, back to the start of the bridge where Mamma e Papà were waiting for us.
Although I was not lucky enough to meet Beatrice, I would like to give some advice to anyone who intends to walk across the bridge on the nights of the 10th. or 11th. of September:-
Claudia's Advice Section - I Consigli di Claudia
1. Do not look at the statues in the dark. As you walk, just look at the ground ahead of you.
2. Do not go alone. Non andarci da solo.
3. If you meet Beatrice, try to be polite, even if you are scared.
4. Take your camera. Porta la tua fotocamera.
5. Make sure that you are wearing trainers and that you are a fast runner.
Claudia's Notebook of Interesting Facts
1. The famous Italian artist Caravaggio was in the crowd who witnessed the execution of Beatrice Cenci.
2. The tomb of Beatrice is in the church called San Pietro in Montorio.
3. Everything that belonged to Beatrice's family was confiscated and given to the Pope. He was Pope Clement VIII.
4. Beatrice was only 22 years old.
5. In Rome, Beatrice is a heroine and is a symbol against violence to women.
6. The ten angel statues were designed by Bernini and sculpted by different artists. Each angel has a name:
Angel with the Column
Angel with the Whips
Angel with the Crown of Thorns
Angel with Veronica's Veil
Angel with the Garment and Dice
Angel with the Nails
Angel with the Cross
Angel with the Superscription
Angel with the Sponge
Angel with the Lance
7. The angel statues were added to the bridge after Beatrice's lifetime, in the late 1600s.