Haunted Places in Italy

Whether you’re a firm believer ready to break out your Ghostbusters gear at every bump in the night or if you sleep better believing that the supernatural is restricted to the grand world of cinema – the Halloween season is the perfect time to indulge in a little paranormal intrigue. So sit back in the safety of your own home and check out these genuinely spooky haunts in Italy.

Venice – Ca’Dario

Ca'Dario Venice
Many consider Venice to be one of the most haunted cities in Europe and it certainly proved its worth by earning itself two spots on today’s list. The first is Ca’Dario, a home perched precariously on the edge of the Canal Grande. A castle of Venice, the building stands out as a work of architectural beauty. However, locals refer to it as the house of no return due to the mysterious deaths that have occurred to the many who dared to own the building.

Built in the 15th century, legend states that the curse began working fast. The original owner and designer, Giovanni Dario, lost his son to a murder and his daughter to suicide while under the cursed roof. Other deaths include: Count delle Lanza who was murdered; Christopher Lambert (manager of The Who) committed suicide by falling down the stairs; Nicoletta Ferrari died in a suspicious car accident and Raul Gardini committed suicide – also under suspicious circumstances. Death has claimed the lives of thirteen successive owners and no one is lining up to be number fourteen. The building is currently for sale, so if you’re willing to temp fate take a trip over to Venice and make the investment.

Palermo – Capuchin Catacombs

Monks' Corridor Capuchin Catacombs

This place gave me the creeps just looking into it. These burial catacombs are right off the mainland in Sicily and were originally meant to serve the monks of the Capuchin monastery. The catacombs eventually turned into a status symbol for those allowed in. 8,000 mummies line the walls and halls are divided into the categories of men, women, virgins, children, priests, monks and professionals.

The bodies are in varying states of decomposition and some are even set up into poses. One area has two children sitting together in a rocking chair, some are suspended from the walls on hooks and other are behind glass cases. The catacombs are open to tourist and many have claimed to hear whistling, whispering or even returned to a room to find bodies in different positions. If being in a room of posed corpses doesn’t give you shivers, I commend you. For those already squirming in their seats like me, let’s move on.


The city of Pompeii was normal on the 23rd of August, 79 AD. The people were going about their daily lives, children were playing and dogs were roaming the active streets. Everything changed on the 24th. Mount Vesuvius erupted covering the city in layer upon layer of ash, smoke and pumice. After two days of catastrophe, the city of Pompeii would go down in history. The 2,000 people of the city were buried. These poor souls, lives cut tragically short, are rumored to still roam the streets. Today, visitors can tour the parts of the city that have been uncovered and many have claimed to hear screams, seen shadows of figures and smelled sulfur.

Vercelli – Lucedio Abbey

Lucedio Abbey

Located in Northern Italy, this abbey was built in the 12th century to house Cistercian monks. The truth of what happened to drive the monks away from their religious devotion is muddled by variations of local legends. One legend tells of girls in the later 1600s who were sent by the devil to seduce the monks. The abbey became corrupt and the monks converted to Satanism. Steadily their formerly harmless rituals changed to sacrifices. When the Catholic Church caught wind of this they sent the Roman army, killing the monks.

Ever since, visitors have witnessed a variety of paranormal activities at the abbey. Things moving on their own, a pillar that cries out, statues falling and nearly crushing construction workers are only a few of the things visitors have witnessed. It has been called one of the scariest places on earth.

Venice – Poveglia

Poveglia Venice

For the final place on our list, perhaps the most haunted and terrifying of them all, we return to Venice. When the black plague swept through Europe, this island was used as a mass grave for the disposal of bodies. On occasion, some sufferers were placed on the island and buried, burned or simply left to die. Centuries later, a doctor built a hospital on the grounds and used the facility to torture patients through experimental therapies of his own invention. He eventually committed suicide.

The hospital, his office and the crematorium still stand today. Visitors are not allowed on the island without permission and the land is used for farming only.Over 160,000 thousand people were said to have died there and those who pass by it today report hearing agonizing screams and cries.

If you are planning a trip to Italy and plan on visiting any of these places, be aware that some require permission to visit.

What about you – have you been to any of these places? Have any other favorite spooky spots in Italy? Tell us about them!

Happy haunting!

Written by : Kelly Gallucci  Photo Credits : lain Simpson / Sibeaster / TyB / Laurom / dalbera

  • User Gravatar
    Melissa Muldoon
    November 1st, 2010

    Molto fico! Cool article! Happy belated Halloween! The Garfagnana area around Lucca in Tuscany strong ties to spooky traditions making it a perfect place for the newly imported American traditions of Halloween to take root. They have a big halloween festival which I wrote about in a recent blog “Aspettando il grande cocomero” (waiting for the Great Pumpkin)

    This area has long been considered by Italians as “bewitched land filled with ghosts, goblins and magical creations” (and this was even confirmed by my Italian friend who lives farther away in Puglia!) There you can find Ponte del Diavolo (the Devil’s bridge) over the Serchio river, that dates back to medieval times. The story goes:

    “One evening, while the master builder was sitting alone on the banks of the Serchio, looking at the work that was still to be done and thinking of the shame he would suffer for not having completed it on time, the devil appeared to him in the form of a respectable businessman. He approached the master builder and said he could finish the bridge in a single night-if the builder would promise him the soul of the first one who crossed the bridge when it was completed. The builder accepted the proposal.

    The following day, the village had its beautiful bridge that can still be seen today near Borgo a Mozzano. The townspeople were astonished and delighted. When they went to congratulate the builder, he ordered them not to cross the bridge before sunset. Then, worried about his deal with the devil, he set off on his horse for Lucca to ask the bishop (who became Saint Frediano), for advice. This saintly man told him not to worry: he should let a pig cross the bridge first. That is just what the builder did. The devil, furious at having been tricked, threw himself into the waters of the Serchio and has not been seen in that area since.”


    Thanks for sharing Melissa. With so much history in Italy – I’m sure there are tons of great stories out there!

  • User Gravatar
    Camels & Chocolate
    November 1st, 2010

    I’ve been to Venice and Pompeii but wasn’t aware they were haunted! Though I should have thought of that given all the people buried under the ash on Pompeii…

    Love that first shot of Venice!

    Thanks! Always interesting to find out little tidbits about placed you’ve been, isn’t it?

  • User Gravatar
    perth tourist guide
    November 2nd, 2010

    Who knew such places exist in Italy?
    Scared…. Really scared….

    Not *too* scared I hope ;)

  • User Gravatar
    November 3rd, 2010

    Loved LOVED this post! Have to say Pompeii would be my favorite place to visit as i think it’s interesting to see how they painted the walls of their homes — finding such a well perserved collection of paintings from that era is rare indeed! On that note, i think the colesseum is quite haunted as well – especially considering it was built over Nero’s lake – odd that to help forget the horror he caused, the Romans built a place that turns death into a game…

    All that blood spilled on the Colosseum’s floor – it must be haunted! You won’t find me spending a night in the dark there Stephanie ;)

  • User Gravatar
    Cindy Eve
    November 4th, 2010

    awesome!!!!! Makes me want to go there right now…..to all of them. I LOVCE scary places and enjoy visiting burial places and catacombs….weird I know. Loved the info on Venice, I visited there in 2004 and wish I had known this back then. So will have to plan a 2nd trip :)

    Sounds like a plan CIndy! ;)

  • User Gravatar
    nyc/caribbean ragazza
    November 4th, 2010

    I scare easily but I kinda want to see/visit the two Venice spots during my next trip there.

    Great post. Very creepy.

    Thanks Arlene, report back once you visit!

  • User Gravatar
    November 6th, 2010

    Grand Hotel Bastiani in Grosseto. I cant even talk about it, but there was some bad juju in one of those rooms.

  • User Gravatar
    Liana @ femme fraiche
    November 11th, 2010

    What a cool article! I live for ghost stories…especially around Halloween. The picture of the catacombs thoroughly creeped me out. I’ve been to Pompeii and I remember seeing the bodies frozen in their scared stances by the ash….so creepy…it still gives me goosebumps. My dads family immigrated here from Italy and they have some crazy ghost stories that I always ask them to repeat over and over. I totally believe in ghosts and spirits and think they’re especially alive in countries like Italy with such a long and rich history…

    Glad you enjoyed it Liana :) I’m so sure your Dad’s family has some great stories to share- ghostly or otherwise….

  • User Gravatar
    Christina Baita
    November 16th, 2010

    Okay, dear. I was simply reading the paragraph about the corpses and the page kept scrolling away from me. Instead of being scared though I just want to go! Thanks for the cool post that I have never seen anywhere else.

    Christina @willflyforfoodblog

  • User Gravatar
    July 25th, 2011

    I am very excited to be going to Venice and explore haunted places…we are staying in the old nunnery. We will also be in naples, florence, and rome. Def plan Pompeii.
    Any MUST sees?

  • User Gravatar
    September 4th, 2011

    Awesome post! It is strange that although I can hardly enter a dark room on my own, thanks to my routine dosage of horror tales and an active imagination, I quite like the feeling of horror, in fact I am addicted to horror stories especially the tales of real hauntings. However, I am off the Italy this October and Pompeii and Venice do feature on my itinerary. I wish I could visit the Abbey though, it has an ominous feel to it. However, I am really concerned about one thing…What if the hotel I am staying in is haunted (especially now that I am travelling alone) :(…Hope to come back with an eerie tale…..Cheers

    Oh, you’ll be fine! Just grab your video camera and capture all the antics ;) Enjoy your trip Priya

  • User Gravatar
    Jeff Titelius
    October 30th, 2011

    Not sure how I missed this Halloween article but glad it’s circulating today!! Fascinating post and I am so happy that Venice appears twice.

    Venice is twice as nice…and twice as mysterious Jeff!

  • User Gravatar
    October 30th, 2011

    Seriously scary stuff…I would avoid the capuchin catacombs but maybe the rest, sure. I’ve been to Pompeii, it’s ominous and Vesuvius hangs like a blue shadow over everything. Spooky indeed.

    C’mon Charu – you could do it! That crypt is just calling your name…. ;)

  • User Gravatar
    January 27th, 2012

    I have always wanted to go to italy to trsvel around and see the sights, I now have an even better reason to go, I need to see these places! I have a rather large list of haunted places I am determined to visit, quite a few I found here http://www.hauntedhovel.com/hauntedcastles.html They are just as interesting and informative as this site, but they are a little closer to home for me :)

  • User Gravatar
    Erica Hedrick
    November 20th, 2012

    Great Article! I am going to do some more research on Lucedio Abbey! A few months ago I got the chance to visit Poveglia, here are some pictures!


    Thanks for sharing your pics Erica!

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