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
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
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
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
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!