The cell of Messer Filippo

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The cell of Messer Filippo

In the tower of Spilamberto, during the repair work of 1947 carried out after the damage caused by the bombardments, a secret cell was discovered. The cell measured 2 by 1.5 metres and was concealed behind an old staircase, whose walls were completely covered with inscriptions and drawings. It was here that a diary was discovered. The diary was kept by a very learned prisoner who was an enthusiast of the Stil Novo and well-versed in poetry. A prisoner who was well-travelled and was familiar with the Renaissance courts. His name was Messer Filippo.

The graffitti, according to legend, was written in blood and tell his story. A tragic story of forbidden love, political intrigue, vendettas and power struggles between powerful warring families of the 1500s which led to the death of the our unfortunate protagonist, who, in his own words, was innocent. According to the legend, before his torment, Messer Filippo, looked at the sky and made heard his anguished cry that still reverberates through the summer night air.

Since the discovery, the cell has attracted the interest of academics, journalists, the curious as well as many tourists. Several sources (not only local) have given credence to the story and in May of 1965, Walter Molino dedicated one of his most famous covers of Domenica del Corriere to Messer Filippo and his cell.

Recently, some studies have contributed in the unravelling the mystery of the cell and its mysterious prisoner. The affair that caused the native of Fermo in the region of Marche, Messer Filippo, to be incarcerated at Spilamberto, is estimated to have happened between 1523 and 1547. Among the families that were involved in the affair were the Cybo, Della Rovere, Da Varano and of course the Rangoni of Spilamberto.

A mysterious cell and a prisoner from the troubled past. The story of Messer Filippo and the ghost of the tower
  • buildings historic interest

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