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Italy to sell off the world’s most haunted island
The island of Poveglia, in the Venetian Lagoon, was used to house black plague victims in the 14th century.
A small island in the Venetian Lagoon, considered one of the most “haunted” places in the world, will be up for auction next month as part of Italy’s desperate attempts to offset the effects of the economic crisis, according to a report in British daily The Telegraph.
The 70,000-square-meter island of Poveglia was at the heart of a conflict between Venice and Genoa during the 14th century. Fortifications and other artifacts of the war can still be found there. During the 18th century, the island served as a quarantine station for ships en route to Venice that supposedly carried the black plague with them. Ships were ordered to wait 40 days at the island, to ensure that none of the passengers or crew were infected with the disease.
After two cases of the plague were discovered on the island, it was declared closed-off and used to quarantine others with the disease. Since then, tales began to spread of those who perished on the island and their ghosts, who supposedly haunt the island to this day.
In 1922, a geriatric hospital was opened on the island, functioning until 1968. Rumors spread that the hospital administrator, crazed by the haunted island, would conduct lobotomies and other experiments on patients. Supposedly, the mad doctor eventually threw himself off the hospital’s roof.
According to the report, the Italian government is hoping to market the island as the ideal spot for building an exclusive, luxurious hotel. The auction, planned for next month, includes a 99-year lease on all of the structures on the island, the hospital, the fortifications and also other ruins.
The same auction will feature other Italian properties, including a monastery in the town of Taranto, southeastern Italy, as well as a 15th-century castle in Gradisca d’Isonzo, a town near the Slovenia-Italy border, built to defend against the Turks.
The asking price for Poveglia has yet to be disclosed, but the Telegraph learned that one of the military structures on the island previously sold for 8.3 million euros ($11.5 million). Italy is reportedly planning to put 500 other structures up for sale over the next year, in order to make up a 500 million euro budget deficit.