Rocchetta Mattei and “The Brothers Karamazov”
Inside Rocchetta Mattei (‘rocchetta’ means “small fortress” in Italian) there is a large hall where Cesare Mattei, owner of the splendid building, meant to celebrate his ninetieth birthday with a lavish banquet in the company of his peers. Unfortunately, the self-taught doctor and founder of electrohomeopathy passed away three years before he could make this dream of his come true.
The brilliant man of science had this magnificent Moorish and medieval-style castle built in 1859, on top of a 400-meter-tall hill in the Northern Apennines, in the municipality of Grizzana Morandi, in Emilia Romagna. A few years later, he would have the honor of being mentioned in Dostoevskji’s “The Brothers Karamazov”, as the Devil praises him for healing him from some unbearable rheumatisms: “In despair I wrote to Count Mattei in Milan. He sent me a book and some drops, bless him”.
The count was blessed in real life by the numerous poor people he cured for free, and by all the families who lived in his area for the wellbeing and prosperity his presence – and the Bologna-Riola railway he had built – brought them. And, of course, for the beauty of his castle.