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Villa De Vecchi: the most haunted house in Italy

Truth or legend?

 Villa De Vecchi: the most haunted house in Italy  Truth or legend?

Do you love legends and ghost stories? Have you devoured the first season of Hill House, the new Netflix horror TV series? Well! This episode of Sunday Escape is for you. So take courage and shake hands because nss takes you to Villa De Vecchi aka the most haunted house in Italy.

In Valsassina, in the mountains near Lake Como, in the small town of Bindo (a hamlet of Cortenova in the province of Lecco), surrounded by a 13-hectare park, stands an old ruin covered with dark charm vines. The shabby windows, the peeling walls, the collapsed ceiling and the structural collapses are the decadent skeleton of what once was the sumptuous residence of Count Felice De Vecchi, patriot and Head of the National Guard among the protagonists of the Five Days in Milan and of the Risorgimento. The irregular-shaped building, designed by Alessandro Sidoli, exponent of the architectural current of Eclectism, and built between 1854 and 1857, spreads over 5 floors, from the basements used as cellars to the space reserved for servants, surmounted by an astronomical observatory tower-shaped unfortunately never completed.

Dome, arches with pointed arches, stairways, stuccoes, decorations, plaster with horizontal stripes and frescoes, not only told scenes of war or mountain images, but also talked about love for the East and the many trips of the landlord, so like the furnishings, pieces taken from his long wanderings between Persia, Turkey, India and Egypt or made to arrive specifically by ship from every area of the globe. The villa did not contain only luxury and whimsy, but also cutting-edge solutions such as a boiler heating system very similar to the current radiators, a hatch that brought food from the kitchens to the upper floors with the same mechanism as the modern lifts and, outside, a fountain that shot water exploiting the slope of the mountain. Time, neglect and vandalism have erased this wonder, transforming this treasure of Valsassina into the echo of a distant memory, in an abandoned and ruined place, today inhabited only by ghosts. 

Yes, ghosts because the decline of the Red House, so nicknamed because partially made of red sandstone, has brought with it dozens of mysteries, fueled by continuous word of mouth and a 2012 article by that inserted it among the most haunted places in the world. Some legends? It seems that one day De Vecchi, on his return from a walk, discovered his barbarously murdered wife's body and his mysteriously lost daughter, so desperate, wandered for weeks in the woods to his search, so devastated by the pain of commit suicide.

It is also said that during the nights of the summer or winter solstice the house comes a lamentation of a female voice and that, always with the darkness, a piano (whose remains are actually present in the room) begin to play. Among the many episodes of suicide and strange supernatural manifestations, the most important concerns the famous British occultist Aleister Crowley: around 1920 he would spend two nights inside the building together with some of his followers, organizing satanic masses and orgiastic rites, but escaping for fear at the end of the third day. Truth or legends? The son of the last custodians of Villa De Vecchi, interviewed by several curious, has repeatedly denied all these facts and other skeptics have pointed out that, in reality, the count and his wife died in 1938 due to natural causes and, after a period during the Second World War in which it was used as a dwelling for the displaced, the prestigious building started towards a slow ruin, a decline that in the 2000s also the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano) attempted to arrest, but the cost of the restoration, about 6 million euro, has prevented the realization of the recovery plan. The question now is: what do you decide to believe in the "Ghosts House" or the simple loss of a 19th century masterpiece?