Real Life Creepy Places: Poveglia

Hi everyone. I’m back to Real Life Creepy Places, after having two papers due today that I just sent off (talk about real life horror).

Ladies and gentlemen, good news! Today’s Real Life Creepy Place is for sale! Everyone get their credit cards ready, the starting bid is just under $500, 000 US (or the price of a modest duplex in a moderately crappy Montreal neighborhood.)

And this is no duplex, this is a paradisaical island in Italy. Check out this view!

poveglia 1

So what gives?

Well, it might be the thousands and thousands of dead bodies that make up half the island’s soil. Apparently, that really drives property value down. Who knew?

In the 1500’s, the island was used as a place of quarantine (read, dumping ground, considering how advanced medicine was at the time) for plague victims. As soon as an outbreak started in the nearby Venice, everyone who was sick, thought to be sick, or just everyone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time–a lot of them young children–were dumped on the island and left to die. Naturally, even those who were there by mistake soon got sick too and perished with the rest.

Later, in the twentieth century, the island was turned into an insane asylum (I kid you not). Somehow, sitting on top of an estimated 150, 000 corpses wasn’t too conducive to anyone’s improved mental health. This went on until the mid-century, when it was discovered that the doctor there took advantage of the isolated location and the fact that the inmates (I mean patients) barely got any visitors to conduct all kinds of twisted, inhumane experiments. Eventually, the doctor jumped to his death from the bell tower of the hospital. Some say it was the patients who took matters into their own hands, dragged him up there, and tossed him out. But there are other theories that he was tormented by the island’s ghosts, both the plague victims and his own “patients” that had met a grisly death under his scalpel.

To this day, the ghosts of some of the patients reportedly haunt the former asylum and the island itself. It’s closed off to the public (you need the permission from the government to even set foot on it). The island has been abandoned since the 1960’s and since then very few people ever went there–most of them reported strange manifestations and apparitions.

There are rumors that the government wants to turn the place into either condos or a luxury hotel. Well… that should be interesting.

  • krystal jane
    November 20, 2014

    Nice. A luxury hotel on top of a burial ground. Sounds like a great starter plot for a horror movie.

  • mari wells
    January 16, 2015

    I fell in love with Poveglia back in 2011 when I was researching scary places to base a vampire coven. Poveglia was the winner!
    Great article.

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