It was the year 1630 and in Milan the plague had finally exploded. The majority of noble families had decided to leave the city in a hurry: its streets were overflowing with sick people asking for help and churchmen looking for redemption through useless prayers.
And then, there was him. The Marquis Ludovico Acerbi. A nobleman that, despite his friends’ worries and warnings, decided to stay in the city and barricaded himself in his sumptuous palace. An anonymous writer of the time described the marquis in the following way: “he was 50-year-old, he had a long, squared beard, he was neither fat nor skinny, neither white nor black. Every day, he appeared in the streets on his coach, superb with his sixteen squires who pulled the horse”.
Outside his palace people were screaming in agony; inside, the marquis organized parties and all his guests could hear was laughter and the musical notes of the pianos playing. The people of the city, sick and tired of this injustice, started believing that the marquis was nobody but the Devil itself and that some kind of magic was protecting him and his friends from death by plague.
Today, it is still possible to see the marquis palace: reach number 3 of Corso di Porta Romana, stop for a while in front of the wide wooden door and mumble about whether Mr. Acerbi was really the devil or simply extremely lucky!
Corso di Porta Romana, 3, Milano, MI, Italia