Poveglia Island: The World’s Most Haunted Island

If you ask different people to name one or more Italian islands, they often come up with the same names: Sardinia, Sicily, Elba, Capri… each and every one of these islands has left us with a positive impression, for one reason or another. Things are different when it comes to Poveglia, the spookiest island in Italy (and maybe even the world).

The island of Poveglia is known only to a few. And not without reason. It is also called the largest ghost island in the world! Admittedly, it’s something other than an island, which is particularly good for relaxing in the sun. But a visit to Poveglia is not for everyone.

The story of Poveglia

Poveglia was first mentioned in a document in 421. The island was inhabited for a long time until the inhabitants were ordered to flee the island in 1379 during the War of Chioggia.

The inhabitants moved to Giudecca and the island became a battlefield to stop the invasion. In 1776 this place became the quarantine island for people suffering from diseases like the plague. People wanted to ensure that the sick and healthy remained separate from each other.

According to the stories, more than 160,000 people died on Poveglia. The bodies of plague victims were burned, buried or dumped on the island. Some people even say that sick people were burned alive.

In 1922, this island served as an asylum center. Several buildings were restored and renovated to serve as asylums for the mentally ill. Most of the patients were elderly, and there were also many rumors going around claiming that the poor patients were victims of cruel medical experiments. In 1968, the asylum was closed. From that moment on, the island was completely deserted.

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The brutal events on the island of Poveglia

It is often said that the spirits of those who died on Poveglia always return to scare visitors. Even the patients of the former asylum claimed that they often saw ghosts on the island. There is also a tombstone in the middle of the island with the following text: ‘Do not dig, here lie those who died of contamination.’

The buildings that still stand on the island of Poveglia include a hospital, an asylum, a boat shelter, and several residential and work buildings for the staff. Obviously, they are all in non-working condition. Tourists are not welcome here, and only the bravest people sail close to the shore of this haunted place. 

A few years ago, the Italian government wanted to find a new purpose for the island and decided to sell it. In 2014, Italian businessman Luigi Brugnaro bought the island for €513,000. Immediately after the purchase, he began the renovation work. But he would soon realize why this island has such a bad reputation.

The renovation process resulted in eight deaths and the temporary suspension of the project. And since then, it has become very quiet on and around the island. After the eight deaths, the island has been permanently sealed off from the outside world. Access is therefore strictly prohibited.

Kanita is a wanderlust-fueled traveler with an inclination for unraveling the mysteries of history, the paranormal, and the bizarre world of medicine. As a true crime buff, Kanita's nights are often spent delving into the depths of chilling mysteries. Yet, it's not just the paranormal that captivates her—her background in medicine fuels a fascination with the weird and wonderful world of medical oddities, from twisted historical practices to the myths and legends that shroud the field. From exploring haunted locales to uncovering the strange and morbid tales of medical history, Kanita is your guide to the unconventional, the unexplained, and the downright eerie.

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