While Sartoria is famously irreligious, its Bay Area is the home of many ancient sites and old buildings of interest to those seeking unconventional experiences. One such place is the Brucia House, located near the Via della Spiaggia, on the corner of Via Diaz and Via Gramsci.
An abandoned four-storey building, its exterior has kept its original 19th century looks, and while the interior is less well preserved, it undergoes semi-regular maintenance by the Verale Chapter of the Bay Area Historical Society, which owns the building.
Brucia House is called like that for the family of the same name that built it in 1873. A renowned merchant family, the Brucia dominated commerce in Porto Verale during that time, promoting trade and turning the city into a hub for maritime commerce along the Bay Area.
Their house was one of the largest and most elegant in the city, and several generations lived in it at the same time. Consequently, several members also died in the house. This took a toll on the family during the Plague of 1897, when the family matriarch died, business suffered due to the semi-quarantine in Porto Verale, and the remaining members decided to abandon the house and seek better fortunes in the various realms.
Brucia House remained abandoned until 1924, when the final owner died without a will and a city court ordered that it be auctioned. It was bought by a private investor called Andrea Fazari and turned into the Hotel Bel Soggiorno.
Bel Soggiorno quickly established itself as a centre for the closure of business transactions and for meetings between local merchants and eastern industrialists. It was there that balls were held and many important decisions were made, which helped turn Porto Verale into one of the most cosmopolitan and economically active cities in the Bay Area.
It was during this time that some guests reported seeing shadowy figures and moving furniture, hearing sounds in nearby rooms that were supposed to be empty, sometimes even whispering voices during the night. This initially added to the appeal of Brucia House, but as these events became more recurrent and started affecting events and making guests uncomfortable, business moved elsewhere, and in 1946 the hotel closed.
Since then Brucia House was owned by several private parties and either inhabited as a house or rented as an office building. In all cases, owners have sold it and claimed that unexplained events prevent a permanent presence from being successfully established. Some have said the house makes its occupants feel uncomfortable, others went beyond and said they felt unwelcome and compelled to leave soon after first entering the house.
Brucia House was acquired by the Verale Chapter of the Bay Area Historical Society in 2004 and renovated, though its old look and furniture were preserved. In 2005 it was opened to the public as the Brucia House Merchant Museum, to allow visitors to review the landmarks in the merchant history of Porto Verale that took place in the house.
These days anyone can step into the house for free and learn about the rise of the Brucia and how they modernised Porto Verale, how the meetings and balls in the Hotel Bel Soggiorno were key to the linking of the city to the industrial markets in the east. Guides make sure to emphasise the connection between Brucia House and the evolving history of Porto Verale.
This week a new tour started being offered, one focused on the allegedly supernatural instances reported at Brucia House. This guided tour, also offered for free, will be available three nights a week and will include anecdotes and explanations of the many reported instances of supernatural phenomena, and their relation to merchant history.
For more information, contact the Brucia House Merchant Museum at https://brucia.storica.org.sr/