The Legend of Azzurrina
By: Liz Flynn
The Legend of Azzurrina has resulted in the village of Montebello near Rimini becoming a tourist attraction, despite the fact there are no ties to any real historical events.
Azzurrina is the little girl at the center of the legend and she was an albino with a pale complexion and white hair. According to the legend, she was the daughter of Lord Uguccione di Montebello and was born in 1370. People believed that Azzurrina’s hair color was a sign that she was a witch. To stop the locals harming her daughter, Azzurrina’s mother used coal and herbs in an attempt to die her hair. This didn’t work but left a blue tinge in her hair and led people to call her Azzurrina, meaning ‘little blue girl’.
Since dying her hair had failed, the only option to protect the little girl was to segregate her from the locals by keeping her in the castle walls with two guards, called Ruggero and Domenico, to protect her.
On June 21, 1375, summer solstice day, Azzurina’s father was fighting in one of the regular local wars. Azzurrina was trapped inside because of a raging storm outside. To keep herself occupied, the little girl played with a ball made of rags. The castle had a hexagonal room below which lay an empty cellar. Azzurrina rolled the ball towards the hexagonal room and it rolled down into the cellar below.
In full view of the guards, the little girl descended down the cellar steps to retrieve her ball. The guards heard a piercing scream from the cellar and ran to the girl’s aid. On reaching the cellar, they found the room was completely empty. At the same time, the storm outside ceased. Azzurrina’s body was never found.
The locals say that at midnight on solstice day on every anniversary year of her death that ends with either a ‘0’ or a ‘5’, you can hear a child’s cries all around the castle. Tourists can visit the castle but cannot enter the cellar as there is a superstition that the cellar may contain a secret passage that may harm all those that enter.