Like most children, Ludovica Sannazzaro Nata loved playing make-believe while growing up. The only difference is that she had an entire castle to use as her playground. This is because her father is a descendent of nobility, and is a count. And while in Italy, nobility doesn't mean wealth, it often comes with property. When she was just a child, her family moved into the 13th-century castle in northern Italy that had been in her family for 28 generations.
The 45-room Castello Sannazzaro is located in Giarole, a small town in Italy's Piedmont region. Since 2006, Sannazzaro Nata and her family have made the castle their full-time home, and she has fond memories of playing on the expansive estate.
“We used to use the castle as if it was a secret society; with my friends, we created this story where we were members of an exclusive club, and the castle was our location,” she tells My Modern Met. “It was such fun to make up stories inside a place that inspires your imagination so much.”
As she grew older, Sannazzaro Nata realized the unique nature of her upbringing. “I truly realized how unique and special was the place I was living in probably when I was in middle school, that’s when I started meeting new people who didn’t know about the castle, and I realized how weird, in a way, it was to tell them about my reality. But I’ve always loved to share this part of myself with my friends.”
After high school, she moved to the United States to study musical theater. It was there that she saw the interest in her story, as her American friends were amazed to discover that she grew up in a castle. And when she needed to return home during the COVID-19 pandemic, she gained an even deeper appreciation for her unique family home. While many were stuck inside in cramped quarters, she had plenty of room to move.
At the same time, thanks to her time away, she saw the castle with fresh eyes and gained a new fondness for her childhood home. It was during this time that she began to document her life in the castle and share it on social media.
“My social media journey started as a bet, I wanted to prove to my brother that people would be interested in such a unique experience,” she recalls. “At the beginning, I didn’t really have a plan, nor did I know exactly what I wanted to show my followers. Then I just started showing everything, and people loved it, and I started taking inspiration from what my followers wanted to see.”
She now has 1.7 million followers on TikTok who tune in to see the reality of living in a castle. This gives her plenty of opportunity to dress in period clothing, which she enjoys, but it also is an outlet to show others that living in a castle isn't always easy. Her humorous videos on what happens when you forget something on the way out or when you want to relax but there is maintenance to do, are a wonderful way to show the reality of castle living.
Beyond that, her online presence is also a great way to promote her family's tourism business, as Castello Sannazzaro also welcomes overnight guests into several of its rooms.
Ludovica Sannazzarro Nata grew up living in a 13th-century castle in northern Italy.
The 45-room castle has been in Sannazzaro Nata's family for 28 generations.
She shares her experience with castle living on her popular TikTok account, The Castle Diary.
@thecastlediary Do you want to know more about my life in the castle? IG: THECASTLEDIARY⚜️ Hide and seek in the castle is the best game ever!!! #disney #castle #princess ♬ They Don't Care About Us – 2CELLOS
@thecastlediary I mean… WHAT? And I’ve been living here for 18 years DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ALL THE SECRETS OF LIVING IN A CASTLE? IG: THECASTLEDIARY #disney #castle #princess ♬ In The Mood – Glenn Miller