Toiano and the legend of Bella Elvira

Toiano , the abanoned village is one of our day ride destinations. Located high on a cliff face made up of sparse vegetation and old fruit trees (planted years ago when the village was still occupied, the village has an incredible panoramic view of Volterra in the distance.
The village once was a thriving community of over 500 people, most of which abandoned the area around WW2 or shortly after.
There is no longer drinkable water in the village, and the few current inhabitants (choosing an alternate lifestyle in the abandoned town) need to bring water up daily.
The town has one sole street ‘Via del Castello’ that runs 50 metres along two lines of old stone homes.

The forest surrounding Toiano, a dark and mysterious wood – holds a dark secret. That of the Corpus Domini murder.
The 5th of June 1947, on the day of the Corpus Domini holiday Elvira Orlandini went to fetch water from the Botro della Lupa and never returned.
The tragic murder story of Elvira has all the elements of a crime novel. A beautiful girl – perhaps too beautiful, found murdered – almost decapitated, half naked and lying in a puddle of blood.
The murder weapon (a large knife) was never found, and the murderer took with him as a keepsake the girls underwear. Originally the boyfriend was blamed. Farmer Ugo Ancillotti served two years (continously professing his innocence) and was then let free due to lack of evidence. The story received coverage all over Italy, and the police were sent letters from all over Europe proclaiming who was the true assassin.
To remember the poor girls horrific end, there is a statue of ‘Bella Elvira’ on the road up to the village.

The towns people still talk about this event (Ive heard it talked about even in my village 15km away) and blame the desertion of the village on Elviras ghost who still haunts the quiet streets …


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