Boiardo’s Fortress and Matteo Maria’s bells
The history of the Fortress of Scandiano, in the province of Reggio Emilia, is deeply tied to the Counts of Boiardo, who lived there with their families for almost one hundred and fifty years, from 1423 to 1560.
One of the members of this aristocratic family was Matteo Maria, author of the epic poem “Orlando in love” – first published in 1483, and inspiration for Lodovico Ariosto’s more famous “The Frenzy of Orlando”.
The magnificent castle was built in the Middle Ages, although the current structure is the result of following renovations, including a substantial one by architect Giovanni Battista Aleotti in the 16th century. It provided the setting for the poet’s masterpiece, full of characters with creative names: Sacripante, Rodomonte, Fiordispina, Brunello, Gradasso, Agricane…
Legend has it that Matteo Maria rang the bells in the county of Scandiano – which he governed from 1456 to 1494 – every time he found a good name for one of his characters, as he infused his writing with the stories and themes of the Carolingian and Arthurian cycles.
Photos via: ©sergio barbieri