A Talian Tale:
The Witch of Montemurato
A Talian Tale:
The Witch of Montemurato
Book No.
Short Story 1
Publication Date
N/A [1]
N/A [1]
Main Character
Talian Setting
Montemurato, around 1450
Preceded By
N/A [2]
Followed By
N/A [1]

A Talian Tale: The Witch of Montemurato is a short story on the Stravaganza website, which is the story Rodolfo Rossi mentions in City of Masks about a witch in Montemurato[3].


Long ago in Montemurato, a greedy and lazy witch called Selvaggia lives in comfort because she has threatened the common people into giving her everything she wants. Meanwhile, a humble and wise witch, Maga Margherita, is asked to aid the Princess of Montemurato during childbirth. Before the Princess dies, she asks Maga Margherita to help raise her newborn daughter, Florabella.

Florabella grows into a kindhearted and beloved young woman. However, as times grow hard for the common people, Selvaggia becomes more demanding over the people she threatens. Tired of the common girls who are coerced into serving her, Selvaggia demands her next servant be the most beloved young woman of the city, or she will curse all the young women to be barren and ugly. Florabella volunteers and quickly observes that Selvaggia is not as powerful as she seems. She challenges Selvaggia to a contest of three riddles, with the throne of Montemurato for the winner while the loser will be exiled from the city forever. The princess succeeds in defeating Selvaggia with her final riddle: "How does one get rid of a witch?"

Outraged by her defeat, Selvaggia curses the city with the fires that will burn until "this witch is consumed". Maga Margherita wisely discerns a way to end the curse. Maga Margherita creates an effigy of Selvaggia and sets it on fire, thus consuming her and causing the fires in the city to go out. The people celebrate the end of Selvaggia's tyranny by drinking a liquor an innkeeper names "Strega" (meaning "witch") so they can continue to consume the witch. The Prince and Maga Margherita marry and live together for many years, and Florabella inherits the throne upon the Prince's death.

Selvaggia never returns to Montemurato, but the people celebrate every year by burning an effigy of a witch and drinking Strega during the Festa della Strega.


  • Selvaggia - A lazy and unskilled witch who ruthlessly plagues the people of Montemurato with threats in order to get her way.
  • Maga Margherita - A witch, skilled in witchcraft and herbal remedies and respected by the people of Montemurato.
  • Florabella - The clever princess of Montemurato, beloved by the people around her, including Maga Margherita, who teaches her many things about witchcraft and herbs.

Notes and ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 A Talian Tale is only online
  2. A Talian Tale is the first short story
  3. A Talian Tale
    In City of Masks chapter thirteen, Rodolfo Rossi, the Stravagante of Bellezza, refers to a story told in Montemurato of a witch who put a curse on the walled city some hundred years before (i.e. around 1450). This is that story.

The Series
City of Masks · City of Stars · City of Flowers · City of Secrets · City of Ships · City of Swords
Short Stories
A Talian Tale · A Sting in the Tail · An Impossible Task · Sugar Fox · The Fourth Wise Man · Under the Walls