The world’s most haunted island is on the market.
The Italian government is auctioning off a 99-year lease for Poveglia, an Italian island located between Venice and Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, to help reduce Italy’s public debt. The 17-acre island once allegedly housed plague victims and was home to a mental hospital, the Telegraph reports.
The island, which has been abandoned for the past 50 years, was originally fought over by the Venetians and the Geonese in the 14th century before it became a quarantine station for ships docking in Venice throughout the 18th century. After the bubonic plague was discovered on two ships that docked there, the island was closed off to all except those with infectious diseases, who were housed there. The terminally ill among those inhabitants were left to die there, and their spirits are said to haunt the island.
In the 1920s, the island housed a mental hospital where a doctor reportedly conducted experiments, including lobotomies, on his patients, and the doctor himself died after jumping off the building’s tower. Some say the island's tortured souls drove him to commit suicide. The hospital closed in 1968, but its ruins are still there.
A writer for Mental Floss who visited the island in 2010 described Poveglia as “a crumbling collection of abandoned buildings and weeds run riot just two miles from the glittering palaces of the Grand Canal.” Nearby locals have been known to deny the island’s unpleasant past, attributing the remains to an old home for the elderly.
Today, the island is a hotspot for ghost hunters who come searching for the rumored spirits. One such ghost is known as Little Maria, who allegedly stands crying while looking across the lagoon to her home.
Poveglia isn’t the only property for sale by the Italian government. A monastery, a 15th century castle and barracks that date back to the unification of Italy will also be auctioned off. While Poveglia’s starting price tag remains unknown, a spokeswoman for Italy’s state sales agency said the barracks had previously been sold for more than $52 million.