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The Malaspina Castle in Bosa

Sardinians also know it as the Castle of Serravalle, from the name of the hill where it stands overlooking the small town of Bosa.

Located on top of the hill, the Castle of Malaspina has been watching over Bosa since 1112.

Today, only the fortified walls and the towers belonging to the original structure still stand unspoiled, but the amazing view on the river Temo and the beauty of the artistic heritage jealously kept inside, make this one of the most suggestive castles of Sardinia.

A view from the Malaspina Castle in Bosa
The river Temo from the Castle- Photo Credit: Fabio Brundu

Bosa ranks actually second among the Most Beautiful Italian Villages also due to the presence of the Cappella Palatina and the Church of Sos Regnos Altos with its frescos which date back to the IV century a.C.

The Malaspina Castle had many owners over the centuries: its strategic position (like all the castles in Sardinia, after all) favored its passage from the Turritani to the Malaspina, to the Arborea and finally to the Aragonese.

Its decline only began around 1500, when the town of Alghero became increasingly important thanks to the Catalan presence.

Who were the Malaspina?

The Malaspina of Spino Secco, for all simply “Malaspina” was a Tuscan family, arrived in Sardinia in the eleventh century. The Malaspina family descended from the Obertenghi, whose founder Oberto I was Count Palatino in the 10th century.

From the Oberthenghi sprang different families: the Pallavicinis, the Estes, the Hanovres, the Parodis and the Malaspinas.

Later the Malaspina family splitted up into Malaspina dello Spino Secco and Malaspina dello Spino Fiorito.

The Malaspina castle and the legend of the underground tunnel Marquis Malaspina dello Spino Secco eventually arrived at the Castle of Bosa: violent and cruel, he equally scared common people and family members.

The choleric character and jealousy of Marquis Malaspina (and apparently also of his ancestors) fed the imagination of the inhabitants so much so that legends sprang also about the castle itself.

Legend has it that the Marquis, in order to prevent his young wife from showing herself to the citizens on the way to the church, ordered to build a secret passage under the castle with an exit just below the cathedral.

Actually, so far there is no evidence of an underground tunnel connecting the castle to the city and only many macabre stories remain to this day to frame the Malaspina family.

Such as the cutting of the fingers of both hands on his wife, Marquise Malaspina, in a violent fit of jealousy.

Fearing a betrayal, the story tells he cut off her wife’s fingers and then kept them in a handkerchief that he always carried with him.

When the people heard of the bloody gesture they were so outraged that the Marquis was put under arrest.

Three reasons to visit Bosa

Beyond the legends and macabre stories, the Malaspina Castle in Bosa is worth a visit at any time of the year.

It is possible to visit the castle, the Church and the Palatine Chapel with a single ticket. Visitors can book and enjoy guided tours in Italian, English, Russian, Spanish, French, German and Italian by appointment.

In addition to its architectural beauty, Bosa conquers tourists and casual visitors with its delicious cuisine (it’s famous for lobster), Malvasia, a typical sweet wine, the river Temo (the only navigable one in Sardinia), Carnival and Easter celebrations.

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The cover photo is courtesy of Gianni Careddu CC BY-SA 3.0