Poveglia is a small island of the lagoon near Venice, which is surrounder by ghosts and mistery and it is believed to be cursed.
The island used to be highly populated by Venetians until 1379. Back then Venice was at war with Genoa, another Maritime Republic, which managed to enter the lagoon with its fleet. In order to be safe, people from Poveglia were moved to Giudecca island and Poveglia was completely abandoned.
The island remained deserted for centuries and only in the XVII century it was transformed in a military outpost.
However, the island became famous as a quarantine station during the XVIII century, when several cases of the plague occurred on ships arriving in Venice. Later on, Poveglia became a permanent quarantine station as decided by Napoleone Bonaparte until 1814.
That’s not the end of our story.
In fact, in 1922 the island became an hospital for the mentally ill until 1968 when the same hospital was closed and the island was completely abandoned.
Nowadays, the island is still abandoned. In 2014, Italy tried without success to lease the island for a term of 99-year. The next year a private group, named Poveglia per Tutti (Poveglia for Everyone), tried to restore the island through crowdfunding.
Being a quarantine station before and an hospital later, Poveglia has a strange spot in popular culture.
Many venetians stated that they still hear the bell of the island (removed many years ago) or that the island is inhabited by the ghosts of the people who died there. This legend is particularly common because a doctor working in the old hospital committed suicide after stating he had seen some ghosts.
Your next time in Venice, be sure to not go too near to Poveglia. Strange things happen over there 😉