Poveglia: Island of Terror

22Mar10

Roberto-Gerometta-Sunset-Over-Poveglia-Island-And-The-Lagoon-Venice-Veneto-Italy-1 Poveglia is a small island located between Venice and Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. A small canal divides the island into two parts. It is absolutely off-limits to visitors and while some tourists make attempts to visit from time to time, most locals refuse to take them to the island. The island first came to be referenced in chronicles in 421 AD, when people from Padua and Este fled there to escape the barbaric invasions. In the 9th century the island started to be intensely populated, and in the following centuries its importance grew steadily, until it was governed by a dedicated Podestà.


The Island

Screen Shot 2010-03-23 At 5.23.25 PmIn stark contrast to the beauty of its surroundings, the island is a festering blemish. The waves reluctantly lapping its darkened shores will often carry away the polished remains of human bones. When the first outbreak of bubonic plague swept through Europe, the number of dead and dying in the city of Venice became unbearable. The bodies were piling up, the stench was oppressive, and something had to be done. The local authorities decided to use Poveglia as a dumping ground for the diseased bodies.

The dead were hauled to the island and dumped in large pits or burned on huge bonfires. As the plague tightened its grip, people panicked, and those showing the slightest symptoms of the Black Death were dragged screaming from their homes. These living victims, including children and babies, were taken to the island and thrown into the pits of rotting corpses, where they were left to die in agony.

The History

L 34Ab5Ffb87Ac4Eef9Ec1Bda65734Eae4-1In 1379 Venice came under attack from the Genoan fleet; the people of Poveglia were moved to the Giudecca, and the Venetian government built on the island a permanent fortification, called “the Octagon,” still visible today. The island remained uninhabited in the following centuries. Despite many attempts to offer the island for no price, no one seemed to want it. Perhaps the reason that offers were turned down was that the Romans used the island as a plague station and pit – filling it with thousands of victims over the time of their reign. This was to be the first of the gruesome stories connected to Poveglia.

In the 1700s the island became a checkpoint for goods and people visiting Venice until two ships arrived with plague on board. For this purpose various edifices were built, including the hundred metre long “Tezon” that still stands. It is still possible to read the writing on the wall by people who were confined there. From that time until the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1805, the island was a confinement station for people with the plague. In the 20th century the island was again used as a quarantine station, but in 1922, the existing buildings were converted into venetian retirement homes. This went on until 1968, when the retirement homes were no longer used, and the island, after being shortly used for agriculture, was completely abandoned. Presently, the island is public property of the Italian state.

The Mad Doctor

Venice12-1 Local legend describes a mental hospital existing on the island which was ruled by a doctor who went insane. The doctor is said to murdered a number of patients after which he took to the bell tower to commit suicide. Some versions of the legend say that the doctor was strangled by a mist that rose up from the ground at the bottom of the tower.

It is believed that as many as 160,000 tormented bodies were disposed of on the tiny island over the years.

Video Gallery

1. Ghost Adventures visit Poveglia

2. Ghost Adventures Part 2

3. Ghost Adventures Part 3

4. Ghost Adventures Part 4

Image Gallery

1. Some of the buildings

Venezia Poveglia

2. Poveglio at dusk

Roberto-Gerometta-Sunset-Over-Poveglia-Island-And-The-Lagoon-Venice-Veneto-Italy

3. The Hospital

Poveglia3.Jpg

4. Approach from the rear

Poveglia-Island

5. Inside one of the buildings

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6. Another inside shot

Screen Shot 2010-03-23 At 5.16.23 Pm

7. The doctor’s tower

Venice12-2

8. Inside the tower

L 0169824C4E554Bbe8E801D72E2D0C7Be

9. Inside the hospital

L 57F6278601C140658B768D05435Be07F

10. Notice the barred windows

L 34Ab5Ffb87Ac4Eef9Ec1Bda65734Eae4

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42 Responses to “Poveglia: Island of Terror”

  1. 1 claw

    Oh my goodness! I’m stunned to see new posts on here! I’m THRILLED!
    Thanks for finally coming back to us… I had pretty much given up on coming back after checking constantly to no avail.

    Interesting new posts (as always). May I suggest Unit 731? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731 Or Denver International Airport Conspiracy Theories http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_denver05.htm ? Both topics are pretty interesting. I think you’ll like them.

    Again – thanks for coming back. It was about damn time.

  2. 2 Mr.Nevermind

    Awsome article!!

  3. 3 Maria Vi

    Interesting article… doesn’t it remind you of Shutter Island?

  4. 4 ianz09

    Wow, I’m impressed

  5. 5 amgriffin

    The program from which the video clips accompanying this article was taken aired again last night. I must say I far prefer the article written here. The theatrics of the gym-bodied hosts of the program made it less scary than if the subject were treated, well, a little less hysterically. They were so irritating I couldn’t bear to continue watching the program. Good article. I’d dump the clips, though. They diminish your article’s credibility rather than support it.

    • 6 chuckula

      I have to agree with amgriffin and Johnny also. The theatrics of those three guys amazes me and has ruined every episode of the show they host. I finally quit watching because of the douchebag main host: muscle-boy.

      Stuff like what they show happens very rarely if at all on paranormal investigations…unless you are with drama driven folks and people who over react if an owl farts. Most of the time it’s just wandering desolate locations, taking a ton of pictures and video, and lots of hours with audio recorders. It’s really not all that Hollywood crap, but that’s what sells the shows and gets people fired up. It’s mostly boring investigative grunt work. I still find it entertaining to hear the local’s stories and visit the sites, but as far as the ghosties? …feh…

      I’m more worried about the living people than the dead one’s pissed spirits.

      • the only douchebag is you buddy…I am a huge fan of ghost adventures and Zac the host does a ton of research on the places they visit and if you watched the show objectively on the island the got a lot of great evidence. Zac and Nick had waited almost 10 years to visit Povalia and I doubt the you would have the balls to walk around that place in the pitch dark. I do think EVPs are a bit overated but the rest of the evidence is great. Open your mind and stop hating on Zac cuz he is jacked. You are probably a scrawny little pussy that is a buck ten soaking wet and Zac would knock you the fuck out with one shot….you would be SLEEPING if he hit you FACT!!!FAG

    • 8 johanna

      you guys suck quit hatting on them you guys are just hatting cause your problably all fat and blubby. so shut that up. and quit talking shit.

    • 9 jojo

      your stupid for saying this, you know hes hot, and your porblably not so here you are talking shit on a random website because you dont have a life so you talk shit about important people who do. and guess what if your saying to yourself i do have a life, think again, YOU DONT. their on tv. and their awesome, the hole cast are very close friends to mine,especialy zak, we met on a airplane flight wen i was on my way to a photo shoot, ever scence we clicked and were talking. im a model and i love their show im jojo. ghost adventures is the only show that dosent show made up bullshit. the fact is you guys need to get to know “mucles” before you talk shit, hes a really sweet guy and he knows what hes doing. so quit talking shit, and if you dont like the show, then dont watch it. cry a river build a fucking bridge and get over it! zak bagans is awsome !

      • 10 eve

        That was a bit unnecessary. I don’t have a problem with amgriffin, johanna or jojo having opinions on this, but the swearing and lack of point was not needed.

  6. 11 Johnny

    Can I totally agree with amgriffin

    “The theatrics of the gym-bodied hosts of the program made it less scary than if the subject were treated, well, a little less hysterically. They were so irritating I couldn’t bear to continue watching the program”

  7. 12 Gary

    I saw the show on the Travel channel, it was great.
    was wondering what the Mad Doctors name was?

  8. 13 danii

    great to have you back!!
    awesome article!
    i’m glad i checked this site again =)

  9. 14 missmozell

    Wow. A horror film director would kill for a location like that. The history would make for a good story line, too.

  10. 15 ung.co

    did anyone notice the man standing at the window on picture 4? 7th window on the bottom .. ive read this somewhere

    • 16 John

      Yeah thats creepy

    • 17 SmartAss

      omg yeah so wierd its either a ghost / spirit or just the picture takers friend or something or just a trick of the light, but for some strange reason i think its a ghost possibly the mad doctor that killed himself or a haunted plauge victim maybe one of the ones that were still alive when they put them in that pit ….. creeepy

  11. Greetings, I see all your blog posts, keep them coming.

  12. 19 Dave

    When I was in Venice I approached the island on a rented boat. Coincidence or not the engine failed a couple times when I was circling it. By then I had no idea what that place was, I taught it was just an island with some abandoned buildings and wanted to explore it. Fortunately my girlfriend was afraid, so we left. Now I’m glad I listened to her.

  13. 20 Sup

    Man, i just discovered this site! It’s awesome – I hope you can have more updates more often

  14. 21 rachel marshall

    WOW FOUND THIS SITE LAST NIGHT AND I THINK ITS BRILLIANT,IT GIVES ME THE SHIVERS BUT I WOULD LOVE TO GO AND EXPLORE ON THAT CREEPY ISLAND!!! WOULD ANYONE ELSE LIKE TO JOIN ME?!!

    • 22 Danielle

      no thanks….

    • 23 mechrabbit

      no need to yell

    • 24 XxMagentaxX

      i would! tht would b so insane!!! :D

  15. 25 rachel marshall

    not highly convinced of those ghostbuster guys tho! lol!!!

  16. 26 Orange

    I went in Venice in september 2009.

    I noticed this weird island, but can find anything in the tourists books.

    I know why now!

    This island is creepy, even if you don’t know what happened there.

    There are some others abandonned islands in Venice, but less creepy.

  17. 27 missy moo

    Hey, where have you gone?

    PS I love listverse, I go on it almost every day!

    • 28 rbrtadlsn

      I too have been wondering why no articles have been posted for such a long time period. I have already e-mailed Jamie and hope that he will respond and tell me what he has in store for Cogitz.

  18. 29 Manfwed

    OI OI I just followed a link from a freind onto this site. Like all the stuff you’re doing here. I’m an atheist and completely opposed to anything of the paranormal sort, although I wouldn’t be surprised if there were, eh, aliens on my doorstep. BUT aliens are more just a scientific argument. I think humans are perfectly capable of building the pyraminds etc. -_- . Lol. ANYWAYS my point is I don’t take supernatural stuff seriously and you’re still managing to make me feel like a cannibal eating my pizza. There goes my appetite anyway. I enjoy reading your stuff. Thx.

  19. Poveglia is extremely haunted. The water around Poveglia was used for drowning murderers. Some war battles were fought on Poveglia. When the Black Death hit Venice, the dead victims were burned and buried. In 1922, an insane asylum was built on Poveglia. The doctor there perfromed brutal medical experiments and grusesome lobotomies on insane people. The doctor went mad and climbed up the bell tower to jump off. The fall injured him so a ghost choked him to death. Poveglia is off limits because of safety hazards and ghosts strong enough to posess people. Only paranormal investigators are allowed on Poveglia.

    • 31 SmartAss

      i am a paranormal investagator i went to that is land put one foot on that island and it was weird i felt cold even though it was the hottest day of the summer, I STEPPED STRAIGHT BACK ON MY BOAT AND DROVE AWAY however i hadnt untied my rope off of the bay, being a rental i had to go and get it as soon as i got there and untied the rope i tried to go but my boat wouldnt move. I saw a man in the distanse up a tower and shouted him he moved i thought he was coming to help but then he jumped from the window, gathering all my courage i ran to help but there wasnt a body in sight so i ran to the boat the engine started and i went, tod this day have never stepped foot on that island again

      • 32 Chainne

        That’s why they call it “The island of no return.” No one wants to go back there after stepping on that island.

      • 33 XxMagentaxX

        holy crap i would’ve strted screaming

  20. Poveglia is so haunted that only paranormal investigators are allowed on it. Poveglia is off limits because of strong ghosts and dangerous hazards. When the Black Death hit Venice, the dead victims were taken to Poveglia to be burned and buried. War battles were fought on Poveglia. The water around Poveglia was where murderers were drowned. An insane asylum was built on Poveglia. The doctor there used a drill or a hammer and a chisel to perform lobotomies on insane people. He performed Nazi-type medical experiments on insane people. The doctor used crematoriums to dispose of his victims. Eventually, the doctor went insane and jumped off the bell tower. The fall injured him and a ghost choked him to death. Nobody has used Poveglia for anything since the doctor jumped off the bell tower. Poveglia is extemely haunted. Living on Poveglia is dangerous.

  21. 35 ???

    Why did Jamie even start this site? It’s dead before it even got a chance to really get off the ground.

  22. 36 Mehrdad

    very nice

  23. 37 Carmella75

    Cool

  24. 38 XxMagentaxX

    this place is so interesting…i did a report on it for school & my teacher asked if i would ever go to it and i was like heck yah!
    i think they should make a movie bout this place and its history.
    & i can’t believe tht they have shots of the inside of the building!
    i strongly believe its haunted, theres no way it isn’t!

  25. 39 chzcha1234

    So yea, just got back from a trip there. Me and a buddy went and stayed overnight from 4pm to 7am. This island is no joke. It was difficult to get out to the island cause no one wanted to take us but eventually after throwing money at it for a bit we got us a ride. There is not a worse feeling than getting dropped off on a haunted island being the only 2 on the island and knowing that no one is coming back for you until the next morning. It was a very uneasy night. I’m not going into all the details, currently reviewing pictures and videos that we took. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

    • 40 Rachel

      Tell us about it! I am very curious! I am also about to do a paper on this as well, if anyone else has experiences they would like to share.

  26. 41 emmatolan@yahoo.co.uk

    I want to go back to Venice- I hadn’t heard of this place before! I doubt i’d have the bravery to put a foot on the island but wow what a story if you could muster up the courage…. a movie should absolutely be made!

  27. 42 Justin

    Definitely renewing my passport just so I can travel here.


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