The Italian government has a beautiful island 17-acre for lease in the Venetian Lagoon. Five minutes from St Mark’s Square. Large vacant building perfect for redevelopment as a luxury hotel. If you’re interested, you may want to change the name. Poveglia is considered to be the world’s most haunted island.
Once a sanctuary to escape barbarians, then a Venetian fortress, Poveglia took a turn towards its sinister future in 1776 when it became a checkpoint for ships entering and leaving Venice. In 1793, cases of the bubonic plague were discovered and the island was converted into a temporary and then permanent quarantine and confinement station. Very few who came to Poveglia ever left as thousands of living plague victims were sent there to die, at which point their corpses were burned, along with those brought there from the mainland, and buried in mass graves. It’s believed more than 160,000 deaths occurred there between 1793 and the early 20th century and as much as 50% of the soil contains ashes and human remains.
The ghosts of Poveglia’s plague victims got company in 1922 when the buildings were converted into a so-called hospital for the elderly and mentally ill. Open until 1968, rumors abounded of lobotomies and other experiments conducted by a director who was said to have been driven mad by the ghosts and either died after a fall from a bell tower or was choked by ghostly mist when he survived the fall.
The hospital was closed in 1968 and the island was farmed briefly before being abandoned until today when the Italian government decided it could escape its ghastly past and become a cash cow. It is auctioning a 99-year lease on the property and buildings, with the government retaining ownership of the island, in hopes a developer will turn it into a Venetian resort destination.
I can already hear faint strains of the Eagles singing “Welcome to the Hotel Poveglia.”