Poveglia Island Stories

It is illegal to visit the Poveglia island by Italian law. Why? There are some stories of haunting which we found.

Poveglia is a small island located between Venice and Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, in the northern part of Italy. A small canal divides the island into two separate parts. The island is frequently featured in a paranormal show. This is due to its gloomy history.  The locals call Poveglia island of ghosts, cursed with many unhealthy spirits. 

Poveglia Island

The island first appears in historical records in 421 and was populated. In 810 A.D, after the war in the northeast of Italy and Venice won the battle, the warriors were transported to Poveglia. They were excluded from taxation, and military service and was a thriving colony. Their political and economic influence started to flourish. However, in 1378 when the war against the Chioggia escalated, the settlers in Poveglia was evacuated. They were given refuge in Venice. From that moment, it continued to go unpopulated despite government efforts. 

When the bubonic plague started spreading in 1576 and 1630, the government started transporting victims of the plague to the island. The first plague struck Venice by 1378. After observation, they deduced how the disease spread and how ships and people introduced the plague to the area. Officials then realized that they needed to separate the sick and dead plague victims from healthy individuals. 

Poveglia Island plague

Because of the number of bodies that were piling up rapidly, the began transporting people to the island. At the beginning of 1776, the island is used as a quarantine station for those who suffer the plague and other diseases. 

Reportedly, there were more than one thousand five hundred human skeletal victims that were found during the excavation of the island. More is predicted to be still buried in the ground. 

After it was used as the quarantine station for the bubonic plague victim, when the next plague came, the island was used to dumped barely alive bodies and buried in mass graves. The last victim that fell to Poveglia was a Spanish ship. It was forced to moor after the disease had been asserted on board. After the established time, eight crew had died from the disease but almost all others were in the state of shock. 

They were later forced to stay there except a boy. The boy was told to take shelter on the ship as a guard. The others take refuge inside the main building of the island. The boy reportedly met them every day until one night he heard strange and frightening noises from the woods behind the building. Shortly after, he heard screams from his fellow marines. But being too scared, he did not have the courage to leave the ship. The following morning, he found all of them in one small room. All of them huddled together and mumbled incomprehensive phrases that were neither Spanish or Italian. 

In the early 20th century, a mental hospital was built to provide care for patients who showed symptoms of sickness,  physical and mental health. 

The patients, as well as the nurses and other doctors,  had complained about strange movements, lights, and voices. However, as the patients were mentally ill, nobody cared about what they said. As the staff did not want to be associated, they pretended that it did not exist. 

The head doctor believed that lobotomies were a great way to treat and cure mental illness. He then performed them to unwilling patients. Lobotomy is a surgical operation in which the prefrontal lobe of the brain was incised. The doctor reportedly did not use anesthesia for the procedures. He also uses hammers, chisels, and drills to perform the surgery. Unknown experiments are conducted to patients whom he took to the hospital’s bell tower. The screams of the patients were said to be able to be heard all the way to Lido on silent summer nights.

The doctor reportedly committed suicide by jumping off the hospital bell tower. There are various accounts to his death, some say that he was pushed by an angry spirit while some say that he was pushed by a furious patient. Nevertheless, he was survived the fall until a ghostly mist overcame his body and choked him to death. While there are other rumors that said the doctor was seized alive by his patients and bricked up in the wall of the bell tower. The hospital remained open until 1968. 

Accounts of hauntings 

Many believed that the tormented souls of the people that used to live there still remain trapped on Poveglia Island. There are accounts that said that screams can still be heard until today. There are reports that visitors that came to the island had been scratched, having the sensation of being watched, and being pushed and chased by unknown entities. 

There are accounts of shadowy figures following them as they explore the decaying facility. The spirit of the evil doctor is said to be ringing the bell tower at night. Fishermen have reported that human bones continued to be washed ashore. Hence, they stayed clear from the island for the fear of picking humans bones in their fishing nets. 

The island was sold off to a private owner after the mental hospital closed in 1968. The family purchased the island and intended to build a private holiday home. After they arrived and got settled, the first night was too frightening for them that they fled within hours. They reported that their daughter’s face was ripped off by an angry entity. 

It did not take long until it was sold off again to another owner. Both owners account to not be able to bear spending time on the island. The atmosphere was reported being heavy and morbid, while the hauntings continue to prevail. 

To visit the Island, someone will have to apply officially to the Italian tourism board. It is a lengthy application process. However, some of the residents can be hired to take you to the island for 200 euros. 

Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form
Sky Hoon
Italy Lover. He travel to Europe a few times and loved Italy for its unique language and culture. He loved the idea of Italian food focusing on original taste of the ingredient.
Read His Personal Blog
Sign Up for weekly newsletter
Can Italian Ice be Refrozen
Why is Florence Famous?