Poveglia island, Venice
Between 1922 and 1968 the island was also home to a hospital for the elderly and mentally ill. The hospital director was notoriously cruel and was rumoured to have performed horrific experiments on the patients, including crude lobotomies. He is said to have performed them with tools such as hand drills, chisels and hammers, killing patients in the process.
The locals believe the island to be cursed by the tortured souls who once lived there, while the hospital director is said to have killed himself after being driven mad by the ghosts of his victims. Zak Bagans, an American TV presenter who visited the island for the series ‘Ghost Adventures’ in 2010, claimed to have been briefly possessed by a ghost there.
Last year a brave Italian businessman, Luigi Brugnaro, purchased the island with plans to redevelop it.
Castello di Montebello, Torriana
The so-called ‘legend of Azzurina’ is perhaps one of Italy’s most famous.
Castello di Montebello, a 14th century hilltop fortress near Rimini, was home to a little girl called Guendolina. She was albino, which in those days was thought to have been a curse sent by the devil, and anyone with albinism was burned at the stake.
To avoid this fate, her mother would use natural herbs to dye her hair. However, the dye would fade and leave an eerie blueish hue, thus the girl was nicknamed ‘Azzurrina’.
To protect their daughter even further, her father would not allow her to leave the house, and hired two guards to watch over her. But legend has it that on 21st June 1375, the day of the summer solstice, the little girl was playing with a ball when it fell down the basement stairs. She ran after it and disappeared. Some suspected that her father killed her, but a body was never found.
Her ghost is said to inhabit the castle, and every summer solstice people report hearing the cries of a little girl.