Located in the Venetian Lagoon just a short boat ride from St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy sits Poveglia Island. The island’s recorded history dates back to 421, but is most famously the former home to medieval plague victims and 20th century asylum patients. Poveglia has been abandoned for more than 45 years.
Several buildings still stand on the 17-acre island including a 17th-century fort, a prison, a church and a bell tower. Legend has it that a doctor who routinely performed lobotomies at the asylum threw himself from the tower after having been driven mad by ghosts of the plague victims. It is alleged that tens of thousands of people died and were burned or buried on the island. So many so, that people claim that more than half of the land that makes up the island today is actually human remains.
Television shows “Ghost Adventures” and “Scariest Places on Earth” have filmed episodes there. Fans of “Ghost Adventures” will remember the very compelling episode filmed on Poveglia (aired 11/13/09) where host Zak Bagans claimed to have been briefly possessed by a ghost there. Unfortunately for amateur ghost hunters without the backing of their own television show, access to the island is strictly forbidden as Povelgia has been closed to the public…until today.
Well, Poveglia is still not open to the public. However, on the Italian government put Poveglia Island up for auction in an effort to raise money to cover the country’s national debt. (The online auction closed on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.) Italy reportedly hopes that Poveglia’s buyer will transform the former mental hospital into a luxury hotel. Ghost hunters around the globe will have to wait to see if and when (and how) they will be granted access to the famed Poveglia. Until then, make sure your passport is current!