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Il Fantasma di Beatrice Cenci
The Ghost Of Beatrice Cenci


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. 

 Castel Sant Angelo, located near the Va

A bridge crosses the River Tiber and takes you to il Castel Sant' Angelo.  The bridge is called il Ponte Sant'Angelo.  In English it is known as  'The Bridge Of Angels'.   Ten statues of angels stand along the sides.

Image by Willian West

In the year 1599, a girl called Beatrice Cenci was accused of being involved in a family plot against her cruel father.  He was an important, wealthy and powerful man of Rome and he died as a result of the plot.

Beatrice and her family were arrested and held as prisoners in il Castel Sant' Angelo.   Then, at dawn on the 11th. September, they were executed in the square - la piazza- beside the castle and the Bridge of Angels.

Thousands of people were present.  The bridge was packed with Romans who wanted to witness the well-publicised event.   It is believed that there were so many people on the bridge that some of them even fell into the river and drowned!


The people of Rome were not at all happy.  They liked Beatrice and they thought that it was unfair that she had been sentenced in this way. 

Everybody in Rome knew how cruel her father had been but he had the advantage of being a person of importance.  It meant that his death was also considered an important matter. 

This portrait of Beatrice Cenci is by artist Guido Reni.

Romans believe 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.   It is said that she cannot rest and that every year she returns on the anniversary of the terrible event.

There are many people who say that they have seen her ghost.  They say that she walks slowly, with elegance but sadness.  Sometimes, she stops to look over the bridge to the river Tiber below.

If you visit the Bridge of Angels at the time of the anniversary, watch very carefully. 
Perhaps you will see the ghostly figure walking in the darkness.


Some 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 on the bridge 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

   The angel statues were added to the bridge after Beatrice's lifetime in the late 1600s.


Read more about the bridge and il Castel Sant'Angelo 

Italian Adventures

Famous Italians

Mystery Zone

Italian Zone

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