✺ The legend of Carlina
Carlina was a young girl from the Lake of Como, more precisely from Schignano. At the time and in those areas, according to custom, young brides dressed in black – and not in white as you are used to see – to go unnoticed and avoid brutes to take advantage of them and their youth… It was like a dressing-up! All dressed in black Carlina and Renzino (her young husband) came to Milan to visit the Duomo and see its steeples, as was customary on a honeymoon.
It was a cold and foggy winter day and the two lovers went up to the top of the big terrace… Everything was shrouded in mist, both the steeples and the monstrous figures carved in stone popped out of the fog… Carlina was very uneasy and scared… Why did she is so afraid? What was worrying her?… Alas! Carlina was keeping a secret, she was pregnant, and she swore not to tell it anyone, not even her dear Renzino, letting him think he was the father. Carlina was sure she would have kept her secret, but once on the top of the Duomo, the thick fog and the scary figures of demons and dragons throw her into panic… She felt to be observed, judged and accused of not being able saving herself till marriage! As scary figures kept popping out of the fog, she gave up: she let her hand slip from Renzino grasp and she started running among the statues shouting and crying… At that point Renzino saw her falling. He watched her body until it was swallowed by the fog.
The legend has it that people looked for her body without never finding it. Nowadays many people say they have seen a white-eyed spooky figure dressed in black appearing in the photos behind the newly weds coming out of the Duomo as to wish them a happy life together, since she did not have the change to spend hers.
(Taken from the itinerary “Through the scary ways” by manoxmano)
✺ Ezio Barbieri, an outlawed gentleman
A long time ago Isola, as we all know, besides being isolated from the rest of the city – due to the railway crossing it – was inhabited by very poor people, the working class. When the situation got worse, after the Second World War delinquency started spreading throughout the neighbourhood… In the bars of the area there were strange people with strange names as well, such as, il Generale (the General), il Pascià (the Pasha), il Profeta (the Prophet)… No one called them criminals but outlaws…
Ezio Barbieri and Sandro Bezzi, both involved with the Ligera (this is how Milan’s organized crime was called at the time), were two protagonists of Milan‘s criminal scene, some 70 years ago! It seems that it was quite normal that criminals went out their area to organize raids and robberies and to then come back to the neighbourhood and split up their treasures with the needy… A sort of a modern Robin Hood, probably more armed and a little less gentlemen… Well, Isola was considered the underworld place!
Those were the days when Ezio Barbieris – riding his black Aprilia with a 777 number plate, just as the police cars had – terrorized the neighbourhood… The gentleman thief who stole from the rich to give to the poor! His gang was known as La Banda della Aprilia Nera (The Gang of the Black Aprilia) and aboard this car, he organized robberies and fake roadblocks, stealing from citizens and robbing banks. Ezio Barbieri lived in via Borsieri 14, in a building that had two entrances. He commonly went in from a side and went out from the other to give the slip to the police. People applauded him like a hero because they didn’t think about him as a robber but ad as a “bandit” giving money to the poor… Ezio Barbieri was arrested and escaped many times until he was definitely imprisoned, after 30 years he was released , and that was 40 years ago… Now he lives in Sicily, back to another island!
(Taken from the itinerary “Isola (Island) Neighbourhood” by manoxmano)
✺ The Bagnera monster
The story is set in Milan, during the XIX century, more than 200 years ago… And we are in the narrowest street of Milan, la Stretta Bagnera. A master builder – greatly respected by people both for his kind manners and his good work – lived here, ha was known as Antonio Boggia, and became famous as the monster of Bagnera!
Everything started when an old and wealthy woman – Ester Maria Perrocchio – went missing.
Her son get worried after not having seen her for a few days so he started to investigate together with the judge Crivelli that had immediately understood that “il Boggia” was a bit strange… The lady, had actually been in contact with him for some restoration works in her building and shortly after, she went missed. In the meantime, he had skilfully managed to falsify some important documents thus becoming the owner of Mrs Ester’s building. This was the first hint of guilt. Monster? Why did he become famous for being a monster?
After all, he had always been honest and above any suspicion, God-fearing and very friendly… Judge Crivelli really didn’t like him and therefore he kept looking for evidences until he found out that “il Boggia” had been accused of attempted murder… According to the report he lured a man called Comi in his storehouse in Stretta Bagnera, under the pretext of checking the accounts . Whilst the unlucky was bending over the writing desk, “il Boggia” gave him a big blow to the head with an axe. Fortunately, after having recovered he escaped and went to report his aggressor. “Il Boggia” was considered to be mentally ill and interned for a few years in a psychiatric institution.
For these reasons the judge decided not to give in, he was now sure “il Boggia” was a killer! He tried to interrogate him without getting anything out of him… He interrogated the neighbours and the doorman as well, and he finally managed to discover something: one day somebody saw him coming down the stairs – towards the cellars – with a great basket on his back…The building was immediately searched because the judge thought the woman’s body was hidden there… How could the Monster of Bagnera walk around the city with a corpse on his back?
The searching shed some light: hidden in a walled-up cupboard there was the body without legs and head!!! Help!! At that point “il Boggia” was taken down to the cellars, he broke down and confessed he has killed her with an axe…
The investigations continued – in the meanwhile “il Boggia” was imprisoned in jail – and the judge found out new evidences… He tracked down some documents belonging to a man missing few years. At that point, the judge accused him of killing another three missing people – an hodman, a trader and a blacksmith… Crivelli is convinced of his idea, however no bodies had been found yet… The searches continued and a secret room – hiding the three skeletons – was found: “il Boggia” was finally sentenced to death! He robbed his victims and then killed them with his axe. When he was asked why he did this, he answered he was just following his head… He was basically trying to be clever and pretending to be mad in order to be put into a mental hospital. However judge Crivelli knew very well he was lying:“il Boggia” was a serial killer and he had to be judged and executed. That is how the story went. “Il Boggia” was executed in front of many people who wanted him dead!
(Taken from the itinerary “Trick or Treat? (macabre in Milan)” by manoxmano)
✺ The lady of the park
It is told that in the foggy winter nights – when everything is covered by the thick blanket of the cold night air – a mysterious figure appears in the distance and gets quickly closer floating like a ghost! The Lady of the Park …
She is dressed in black, and her black veil covers her face, it is said she is a beautiful lady, or better, a beautiful ghost! Once she meets somebody, she holds out her cold hand leading the unlucky through the paths in the woods where the fog keeps getting thicker and thicker, until she reaches a gate in front of a huge villa… Now, the Black Lady opens the gate with a huge key and takes her victim to the halls of the villa, where a spooky music is being played: they start dancing together… Hours of endless dances and the lady never takes off her veil! So scary! But who this black lady is and what is she hiding under the veil? At the break of day, the poor victim – that has now deeply fallen in love – takes off her veil, and what does he see? A skull! Yes, a skull with no eyes! Help! This terrible vision makes the victim run away…
The legend has it that all the men that have seen the Black Lady get crazy enough to spend the rest of their lives looking for the villa where they danced with her!
(Taken from the itinerary “Sempione Park” by manoxmano)