The ghost of Baldaccio d'Anghiari
Every city has its own ghosts, and Florence certainly could not be the exception. There are stories about sightings of spirits in the Tuscan capital, like the one of Palazzo Budini-Gattai or Ginevra degli Almieri. But the story we want to tell you today is about one of the most famous: the ghost of Baldaccio d'Anghiari.
Baldo di Piero Bruni, was born around 1400 from an ancient and rich family of Anghiari, and was a great army leader. Baldaccio was renamed for his impetuous and violent character, which caused him several problems with justice.
The army life, suitable for his temperament, trained him to become a valiant fighter, yet known for his wartime switchings of sides. He was a mercenary soldier, fighting for those willing to pay the highest price for his services.
Machiavelli called him "an excellent man of war". Others described him as a valiant, adventurous and war seeking man, but also a prudent captain with a great spirit.
Often hired by the Florentines, he also fought for the greatest rulers of the time: the Malatesta, Piccinino, the Count of Urbino, and even the Pope.
His fame grew to such an extent that all the murder convictions he had collected over the years, were dismissed, and he was even granted Florentine citizenship.
Cosimo the Elder began to fear this courageous but dangerous personality, so much that, it seems that he was the instigator of his murder. Pulling the strings from behind the stage, he used his power to organize the assassination through the Gonfaloniere Orlandini, very close to the faction of Cosimo de 'Medici.
On September 6, 1441, on the charge of treason, Baldaccio was in fact summoned by the Gonfalonier to Palazzo Vecchio, where he was ambushed. The man was stabbed in the Tower of Arnolfo and thrown out one of the windows, in the courtyard. below Not quite dead, the poor Baldaccio was dragged into Piazza della Signoria and beheaded.
Baldaccio Bruni's body was buried in the cloister of Santo Spirito in Florence.
The unfortunate event left Florence in shock and even the Pope Eugenio IV felt disdain for that brutal crime that had marked the end of the valiant Baldaccio d'Anghiari.
Since then, the ghost of Baldaccio d'Anghiari, wanders restlessly in the corridors of Palazzo Vecchio, where strange noises can be heard echoing in the rooms after closing time.
Often, on September 6th, his spirit is seen also in the Castello dei Sorci in Anghiari, and on special occasions, like the eve of All Saints’ Day, he is sighted near the places where it was murdered.
In September 1991 he supposedly appeared on the Ponte Vecchio to a Florentine boy, who as a testimony to that meeting took a photograph with the image of a man in armour.
So keep an eye on Piazza della Signoria and the windows of Palazzo Vecchio on Halloween night, you might spot the ghost of the furious Baldaccio, still looking for revenge against his murderers!