In the market for your very own private Italian island? You’re in luck, as the Italian government is putting a 99-year lease on Poveglia Island in the Venetian Lagoon up for public auction. According to Conde Nast Traveler, the bidding starts at just $490,000. Can’t quite afford that? Why not get some friends together to all throw in—bids are open to groups.
A real estate agent would have a field day with the ad for this island: 17-acres of prime land located just a ten minute boat ride from the famous St. Mark’s Square. Existing structures on Poveglia include a quaint 17th-century fort, historic church, bell tower, and hospital!
Too bad that quaint hospital is actual a former mental hospital, and that the whole island has quite a horrific history—earning it the title of the ‘Most Haunted Place in the World’. Legend has it that a doctor who was insane himself, preformed horrible experiments on patients in the psychiatric ward, and was eventually driven mad by ghosts. Depending on which account you believe, the doctor either ended up throwing himself to his death from that aforementioned bell tower on the island, or was dragged up and tossed off it by angry patients.
Hospital beds and other creepy remnants of the past have also been left, untouched, to rot on the island.
The island’s history gets even scarier though—during the Roman Era, bodies of plague victims were brought to the island, where they were dumped in mass graves and set on fire.
In the 1500s, the island became a dumping ground for plague victims both dead and alive—people suspected of having the Bubonic Plague were forcibly removed from Venice and brought (alongside corpses of other plague victims) to Poveglia for quarantine.
Worried about the neighbors you’ll have on Poveglia? Here’s an account of some of the ghost that are reported to haunt the island: Striding Peter, a legless amputee that still manages to stride around Poveglia at high-speeds; the Laughing Man, who creepily chuckles nonstop; Johnny-in-the-Oven, who haunts the crematorium (yup—this island even had one of those!); and Little Maria, a young plague victim who cries on the shore.
Think you can handle having a few ghosts on your island, because you can always take a quick ride over to St. Mark’s for a spirit-free respite? Not according to the legend that says one of the demons will “accompany you home, sitting quietly at your side in the motorboat, biding its time…”
So why is the Italian government auctioning off this gem property? Well, because it’s broke. The government is actually selling five properties to try and raise money to help reduce the country’s massive national debt. (A castle and monastery are also up for grabs, if a haunted island isn’t quite your thing.)
The government is reportedly hoping that whoever buys the island will turn the property into a luxury hotel—because nothing since five-stars like a hotel built on the haunted mass grave of plague victims.
At least you won’t have to compete with many locals in this bidding war—a common saying around Venice is, “When an evil man dies, he wakes up in Poveglia.”
With that in mind, would you bid on Poveglia if you had the money? Tell us in the comments!
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