I belong to a generation that had to try out things live: virtual reality was not available in the ’70 and if you wanted to be thrilled you had to make something up.
During our long summer holidays on the coast (we used to have three months of complete freedom from school, hardly ever devastated by endless homework like today), we spent the afternoons swimming and flirting, the evenings trying to make up cost free entertainments.
At that time parents gave us enough money for a snack or an ice cream and those were about the only coins we could count on for the day. Meals were taken strictly at home, clubs were allowed only in very special occasion, parties were still based on soft drinks and home made pizza.
When we reached the age of driving the first moped we could finally widen our range of action by forming a gang of 20 to 30 teenagers and we used to take off and reach the next village were we could meet other groups of teenagers busy in the same activity: trying to give a purpose to their summer existence, in probation and with no budget.
I don’t remember who during one of those night migrations mentioned about the Valle Christi Abbey and it’s sighing nun. According to our friend at night in the abandoned church it often occurred to hear the sound of a restless ghost regretting her sad fate.
The thirteenth-century cloistered Cistercian monastery built by two Genoese noblewomen who desired a quiet retreat, is an isolated Gothic construction surrounded by a thick and dark vegetation.
The nun’s life, far away from populated centers, became dangerous also because of Saracen incursions and the religious center as a consequence, had a relatively short life: in the first half of the sixteenth century it was definitely abandoned but a legend has endured along with these old stones covered with mosses and lichens.
It is said that in ancient times, a nun, madly in love with a shepherd, had transgressed the rule of chastity remaining pregnant. As a punishment she was buried alive, with her baby daughter in a cell of the convent. Our friend convinced us that on moonless nights a poignant lament propagated from the humid walls spreading into the country.
In search of frightening experience we used to walk in perfect silence the long pitch dark path that was leading to the abandoned church: once we were there we remained in suspense, waiting for our first ghost scary moan but as soon as an owl made its gloomy sound we ran away like chickens, yelling and laughing to the first available street lamp.
But let me tell you: when I see my daughter dealing with Criminal Minds sitting on the sofa I wish she could have her own middle age ghost!
How to get there:
In 1903, Valle Christi was declared a National Monument by the Italian Government and it’s an accessible site. In recent years, in the summer evenings, this location is occasionally used to host theatre performances and music concerts, perfectly surrounded in a picturesque environment.