“FRANKENSTEIN’S VILLA”: the most enigmatic mansion in Italy

Frankenstein or... Francesco La Pietra? The Tuscan villa that inspired the story of the most famous monster in the world

One of the most beautiful historic houses in Tuscany, an explosion of Renaissance, frescoes, and luxury. One of the classic Italian villas that reflects part of the history of the country and the families that have been succeeded over time. At the same time a house that hides secrets and mysteries. Including that of having inspired one of the most famous terror novels of all time

“FRANKENSTEIN’S VILLA”: the most enigmatic mansion in Italy

# One of the most beautiful villas in Tuscany celebrated by all

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Corliano Villa

The Villa di Corliano in San Giuliano Terme, a few kilometers from Pisa, was built in the fifteenth century and today is one of the most beautiful historic houses in Tuscany. It was built by the Spini family from Florence, but its descendants are not the current owners of the villa. On the contrary, the Spini family sold the villa in the first half of the sixteenth century to the noble Counts Agostini Venerosi della Setta, a family that still owns it.

The beauty of the Villa di Corliano was also celebrated by Luca Pitti (the same as the Florentine Palazzo Pitti) who defined it as “the most beautiful palace around Pisa“. But not only that: even figures such as Lord Byron, Vittorio Alfieri, King Charles Albert of Savoy, Christian VI of Denmark and many others have spent time at Villa di Corliano.

# The monumental compound

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Corliano Villa2

The Villa was originally a large, monumental compound within which there were stables, an oil mill, a farmhouse, the noble chapel and the kaffeehaus, a special room where coffee and chocolate were available. Besides that, the 3 ha. gardens contained secular plants. The beauty of the Villa di Corliano, however, did not end with its magnificence and its majesty, in fact, are the sixteenth- and eighteenth-century frescoes that make the interior so characteristic. The Villa as we see it today, however, dates to the eighteenth century, when the house has been renovated for the marriage of its owner. Today, it’s a luxury accomodation, as well as a venue for banquets, celebrations, and events.

# Secrets and mysteries of this villa

Corliano Villa

But the question continues to arise, why was it nicknamed “Frankenstein’s Villa”? And why should a mansion so beloved by all put the creeps? Villa di Corliano hides unimaginable secrets and mysteries. Witnesses say they have heard sounds in the middle of the night, ticking shoes, steps that seem to dance.

The explanation is the first secret of the Villa: Teresa’s ghost, the Countess who lived in the mansion between the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. It tells that the woman loved the Villa so much that she never wanted to leave and so she did, her ghost remained in the house.

# Frankenstein or Francesco La Pietra?

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Corliano Villa

But what is perhaps even more disturbing concerns a certain Francesco Vacca Berlinghieri, nicknamed Francesco La Pietra. Who was he? A medical surgeon who performed experiments in the basement of the villa. The doctor attempted to make the muscles of the body move through electrical impulses.

If you haven’t figured out the mystery, or rather, the spine-chilling story, it tells that Mery Shelley went to the Villa di Corliano and was inspired by this doctor for her most famous character, Frankenstein. It doesn’t seem just a coincidence that Frank is the German name for Franco, Francesco, and Stein means stone (pietra in Italian). Francesco La Pietra

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(Original article by Beatrice Barazzetti)