Ius primae noctis
To fully grasp the legend of the castle of Miglionico, one must first understand the “ius primae noctis” and its role in this tragic tale. This “law” permitted feudal lords to sleep with newlywed brides in their fiefdoms on their wedding night, but there is no historical evidence of its actual implementation, despite reports of rapes and abuses by some vassals in medieval historiography.
Nonetheless, the threat of the “ius primae noctis” was often used to coerce young couples into paying extra taxes or working overtime.
The legend of Miglionico
According to the legend of Miglionico, the lord of the castle fell in love with a young and beautiful peasant woman who was planning to marry a young farmer. Upon discovering this, the tyrant decided to exercise his “right” to be with her on their wedding night.
The groom and families protested, but the tyrant had the groom locked up in a room of the castle to prevent them from escaping. That night, the young peasant girl was forcibly taken to the tyrant’s bedroom, but she had a surprise in store for him.
She had hidden a sharp metal hair clip on her head and used it to attack the tyrant when he tried to grab her. Despite being badly injured, the tyrant managed to call his guards as the young woman escaped. She searched for her beloved young man but was pursued by guards.
In a moment of terror, she hid in the castle well where she fell and likely lost consciousness.
Her body was found days later and returned to her family and fiancé, while the tyrant managed to escape justice and heal from his wounds.
The tragic story of the young woman at the castle of Miglionico has several versions. Some say she didn’t have a weapon, while others claim the tyrant threw her into the well. There’s even a version where she chose to jump into the well rather than submit to the tyrant’s demands.
Regardless of the details, the conclusion is always the same: the young woman’s death in the well. This tale has given rise to a legend of a restless ghost, the young peasant girl, who wanders the castle’s rooms searching for her beloved, who was locked up in an unknown location.
People claim to hear her whispers at night near the well, but the words remain a tragic mystery.
Hunting for the ghost
The castle of Miglionico is a captivating destination, whether you believe the legend surrounding it.
The pro-loco of Miglionico organizes an event that retells the legend, where visitors use their phone lights to search for the young woman and her lover throughout the castle.
It’s a fascinating and surprising experience that I won’t spoil for you. If you’re interested in joining one of these “special” visits, the pro-loco of Miglionico frequently rearranges them, and you can stay updated on their social media pages.
Thank you Francesco Martulano and Grazia Giannella.
This is the link of the official Facebook page of the Pro-loco of Miglionico