Looking for a good offer to celebrate a special occasion , I found out Groupalia was offering a coupon to spend a night in the suite of a 4-star Castle in Abruzzo, with happy hour, dinner and breakfast .
So we set off in the direction of 
Loreto Aprutino, province of Pescara.

Castello Chiola - Vista
 

The burg immediately offered us a beautiful view, dominated by the castle in which we were going to spend the night. We were thrilled to go, after all it was the first time we went sleeping into a castle (isn’t being able to rediscover the enthusiasm of a children, the best thing about travel?), anyway, before checking in, we decided to stop eating something. Apart from a kebab seller, which we would have gladly avoided, there was a restaurant (wich we discovered to be run by a couple from Campania, the home region of pizza) and would recommend to anyone. Excellent cuisine, all freshly prepared, and low prices. We took gnocchi with tomato saucegrilled meat with vegetables, bread, water and coffee, all for 15 Euros each! The restaurant it’s called “Pizza Margherita” and is located on the corner of the main square.

The lady of the pizzeria explains us the way to get to the castle on foot, a short distance. When we got there, even just the entrance, looked marvelous, at least to us who had never slept in a castle.

Castello Chiola - Ingresso
 

We were welcomed by a very nice lady, who gave us the keys to the room , asking us which one of the two suites we wanted: With or without a four-poster bed ? To us the answer was obvious: with… If we were going to sleep in a castle , we wanted to do it the right way! Could you imagine the atmosphere? A four-poster bed in a castle… Like a fairytale!

We looked like two children going around the whole castle to take pictures, with coats and bags still on, and the most incredible thing was that we were the only guests: a whole castle all to ourselves! It WAS a fairytale.. Finally, we eventually decided to go up to the third floor (the last one ,the one with the suites) and opened the room … it could easily have been big as my whole house! Huge, we could have taken a bike ride in that room… what were we supposed to do with all that space?

 
Castello Chiola - Suite
 
 

After moments of madness between photos and pure excitement, we enjoyed a nice hot bath in that comfy tub (there were two sinks in that bathroom!) so relaxing that when I came out, I wasn’t able to stand!

Eventually the time flew by and the happy hour came. We went down into the courtyard and there was a waiter waiting for us, he asked what we wanted to drink, and then accompanied us in a corner next to the fireplace, he also brought us the menu for dinner. We could choose two courses, and there was plenty of choice: not because there were many dishes, but because they were very peculiar, and we wanted to try them all!

Castello Chiola - Ristorante
 

When we finished the appetizer he accompanied us in the dining room, that is what once must have been the tavern: stone walls and large arches… simply beautiful!
We also enjoyed our “solo” dinner (we had a personal waiter) , including entrée with 
ricotta and fennel wet with balsamic vinegar, risotto with apples and Porto, Meitre’s buttered Sirloin… and the portions were not even so small as in those “chic” restaurants… very good, indeed!
And the dessert? 
Dark chocolate and orange flavored cake...

 
Castello Chiola - Dolce

Finished with the dinner, we got out on the terrace of the castle, called “Balcony of Abruzzo“, because from there you can see almost the entire region, even the Gran Sasso mountain in the distance. And as if that were not enough, the terrace has the swimming pool, around which, at summer, people have dinner… must be even more beautiful!

After that, we went back to the room to get to sleep. Pajamas, blankets, lights off and we wished each other goodnight.
It was not good, though, because we couldn’t manage to sleep. Without knowing we both had the same problem, however…
I must explain something before. We lived in London for a few months. Those of you who were there know how houses are made: all semi-detached houses with yards. Living together with 4 other people, two Italian and one Portuguese couple. One night, in the midst of sleep, we heard screams of terror and woke up. Scared, we got steadily up, the heart pounding (I was afraid the house was on fire) and then we heard an intimidating masculine scream, and as I opened the room’s door to find out what was happening, we saw the portuguese girl and one of the two Italian girls climb up the stairs with tears in their eyes, screaming. One of the two begins to say that someone broke into the house, so we sent the boys to check the house out, only to learn there was no one. It was four thirty in the morning, the others were preparing themselves to go to work and left the house. We were no longer able to get to sleep. All that was left was that bad feeling of “there’s someone in the house” and we couldn’t stay in. We left with a feeling of shock and anxiety, of fear, of being watched and followed… Then, when we returned to London again, every night I couldn’t sleep for fear of thieves breaking in, (including the other big fear: it was the period of the riots and in Italy we are not used to them…) and woke up at any sound. Perhaps because the bedroom doors did not lock, maybe because the backyard’s door was left open… Who knows… Feelings that, unfortunately, when spending the night in unknown places still don’t abandon me. All this to say that I believed that what I felt was the same kind of fear. I tried to convince myself that it was impossible to conquer a castle, nor thieves or criminals could enter from the front desk. The odd thing, though, was that the feeling I felt was not the usual, the same of those times in London. It was the clear sensation of having someone else in the room, so strong that the stomach starts twitching for anxiety. The feeling that someone is watching us, so that often I turned around to see if it was him looking at me to see if I was asleep. In the end I tried calling him, he was awake, and talking, I find that for him was the same, he felt the same feeling and could not sleep. We didn’t understand what was happening to ourselves, and we heard at some point a woman’s voice giggling in the hallway. We thought that new guests arrived in the middle of the night, but we couldn’t fall asleep and after a while, in the silence of the valley, we heard a songbird right outside our window. We tried to sleep, but the only result was that feeling of anxiety and strangers in the house becoming stronger. At half past four we decided to turn on the lights, with the total silence surrounding us. At the end we kept switched on only one and that feeling started to fade away slowly, so much that at times we were able to fall asleep until half past seven in the morning, when the alarm got off.

Now you may wonder: what about the ghost? Here you go. A few nights later we found ourselves talking and joking on that night, thinking of films like Paranormal activity, and we ended up doing a search on the internet, as a joke. Instead. look what we found:

Moaning in the night at Castello Chiola: British guests of the hotel have no doubt, it’s the spectrum Loreto: the return of Sharan, sensual ghost
ORLANDO D’ANGELO LORETO APRUTINO – Chills in Loreto. At Castello Chiola, now a prestigious and very popular hotel, these days as tourists from all over Italy and from abroad, comes back the ghost of Sharan, the beautiful Creole which, according to legend, threw herself from the highest tower of the castle to escape to the desires of the Count Silveri, in the early eighteenth century. A few years ago were the hotel employees to notice disturbing noises and screams coming from the third floor. In recent days, however, some British tourists have complained to the director of Chiola of hearing during the night strange noises, voices and sighs. This is not some unfunny joker, that’s for sure. To hear the lamentations of the beautiful Sharan were gentlemen of England and Scotland. Which knows a thing or two about ghosts, accustomed as they are to their haunted castles. But what did tourists heard, exactly? “Moans similar to those typical of amorous effusions, and then a female voice which screams and moans” they say. And here maybe some doubt about the ghost could come up, as of effusions the legend has never spoken. Maybe it was some couple who took advantage of the romantic suites on the third floor… The director of the Castello Chiola, Luciano Di Battista, however, has no doubts about the origin of the noises that disturb the four star hotel’s guests: “From the stories of tourists from across the Channel staying at the third floor it is understood that it is once again the ghost which has been inhabiting our castle for centuries. And English and Scottish use to laugh at these things. Even our employees continually reported “strange presences” but there has never been a dangerous episode. According to the story known to us, the ghost of the beautiful Sharan is imprisoned in the castle. To make it go she needs to come in direct contact with a male human being. So far this has not happened, and her spirit continues to “call” every night for someone to rescue her”.

It’s an article published years ago on the messenger, if you want to go check it out. Now, the conclusions it’s up to you. It seems absurd, I know, but we could feel someone in the room. And the weirdest thing is that we know it can’t be suggestion, since we didn’t believe in ghosts and we only found that article after returning home. As the saying goes: “It’s not true, but I believe it”.