Violante Carroz between lights and shadows
Having buried her husband and uncle and achieved her independence, from this moment on Violante’s life is characterized by two aspects: the iron fist she used in the legal battles to recover the property snatched from her by the Carroz d’Arborea, which will lead her to face very long trips to the court of Spain; the extreme freedom she showed in her love life, always accompanied however by a tragic twist that will never abandon our “comtessa dissortada” [unfortunate countess].
In fact, she married a second time, just a year after Dalmazzo’s death, with his cousin, finally obtaining the love marriage of which she had been deprived; she also gave birth to two children: Filippo and Giacomo. Disaster, however, was not long in coming, and in about twenty years the woman lost her second husband and her two sons.
After the death of her children, Violante exacerbated the battles for her patrimony, in particular the one called “war of burials”: the Carroz d’Arborea had not only confiscated the countess’s lands and wealth, but had also occupied the place historically used by Violante’s family as their burial site: the capilla mayor of the church of San Francesco in Stampace.
Now, after her children’s death, the woman did not want them to be buried under the banners of the hated cadet branch. She therefore decided to return to the Spanish court to assert her rights.
It is after her return from her second long journey, in 1508, that the unfortunate countess earned the epithet “bloody”: in fact, she orders a parish priest of the diocese of Ales, one of the territories of her county, to be hung after the curate had revealed the woman’s extramarital affair with a Spanish court official during a religious service. A strong, terrible gesture, which highlights the outlines of a figure that did not bend to the mores of the time.
Violante died three years later, in 1511. It is still unknown whether her body was buried in Madrid or in San Francesco in Stampace, as per her last wishes.
Her will, in the meantime, is the seal of her personality: in order not to leave anything in the hands of the Carroz D’Arborea, she designates as her sole heir Raimondo Centelles, son of Toda, illegitimate daughter of her father Giacomo, therefore her half-sister, and of the nobleman Luigi Centelles. Thus, the Carroz branch dies out with Violante.
What happened to our castle during Violante’s tormented life? The countess on her return from her frequent trips moved between the various residences of the county of Quirra, preferring the castles of Quirra and Ales. The castle of San Michele, on the other hand, was instead used as secondary residence and, as of the 1500s, as a simple weapons depot.
- Near the castle of Quirra there is a route still called “Sa Scala de Sa Contissa” (The Countess’s staircase) used by the Carroz to reach their castle in Ales
- The church of San Francesco in Stampace was no more fortunate than the countess: at the end of the 19th century, after being struck by lightning and abandoned, it was demolished. All her vestments, including the tomb where Violante was probably buried, were sold at auction. The tomb ended up in the hands of a family in Decimomannu. Today it is exhibited in the local cemetery