Laura Lanza

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Laura Lanza, Baroness of Carini (1529 – 4 December 1563) was a noblewoman in Carini, Sicily who was murdered, allegedly by her father, for having committed adultery.

Laura's murder[edit]

On 4 December 1563 Laura was caught having sex with a man who was not her husband. This resulted in a crime of passion, and she was murdered in her bedchamber in Carini Castle, along with her lover Ludovice Vernagallo.

Her father, Cesare Lanza, Count of Trabia, confessed to the killing in a letter which he wrote to Philip II of Spain, but her husband, Don Vincenzo La Grua Talamanca, Baron of Carini was also suspected on account of rumours that he planned to marry again. It is also believed that La Grua killed Vernagallo to prevent Vernagallo from assuming the Lanza inheritance were the Baroness to give birth to an illegitimate child. One reason proposed for Cesare being willing to accept the blame is that the crime qualified as an honor killing and therefore socially acceptable by the Italian nobility at the time.[1]

The confessional letter is housed at the Chiesa Madre church in Carini.


There is a popular legend that, on the anniversary of Baroness Lanza's murder, her bloody handprint will appear on a particular spot on her chamber wall.

The mayor of Carini, in conjunction with a project to restore the famed castle to its 16th century appearance, has reopened the case for forensic study.[1]

In 2007, Italian state television (RAI) aired a two-part drama with the role of the Baroness played by Italian actress, Vittoria Puccini.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Squires, Nick (12 Feb 2010). "Italian police reopen murder case 450 years after crime". Telegraph. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Di Giovanni, Mariano G. (1992). Il caso della baronessa di Carini Laura Lanza di Trabia. Pietro Vittorietti Edizioni. ISBN 9788872310113. 
  • Sciascia, Laura (1985). De la signora Laura Lanza, signora Di Carini. Sellerio. OCLC 14370983.