Home to the dead bodies in the Bubonic Plague, the Poveglia Island is located between Venice and Lido in the Venetian Lagoo, northern Italy. The scary island is divided into two separate parts by a canal. The island first appears in the historical records in 421, and in 1776 the island was used to separate the unhealthy from the healthy. The locals say Poveglia is an “island of ghosts”, cursed with many unhealthy spirits.

Poveglia Island
The Poveglia octagon served as a fort when the island became a naval post to protect against invasion. Source: factinteres

Poveglia Island is among the most haunted places in the world, the whole island is haunted and it is illegal to visit Poveglia.


One who has taken the chance of stepping the foot on the island has left with absolutely no desire to leave the island. Fisherman avoids the area from the fear of being cursed.

History of Poveglia Island

In 421, people from Padua and Este fled there to escape the barbarian invasions. The population began to vary and was governed by a decided Podesta. Genoan fleet attacked Venice in 1379 and the people of Poveglia were moved to Giudecca. The island remains uninhibited in the subsequent centuries. A Cavana, a church, a hospital, an asylum, a bell tower remained in the Poveglia Island


Poveglia Island – Island of Death

The dark history of Poveglia Island began way before the Black Death. During the Roman Era, it was used to isolate plague victims from the general population. The major bubonic plague that struck Italy began in 1437 and spread to Venice by 1348. Half of the Venetian population caught the disease and no one survived.

Poveglia Island

The officials deduced how the disease spread across and how people were getting infected and realized that they needed to separate the sick and dead plague victims from healthy individuals. As a result, two large burial pits were built for the corpses outside the main city.

The number of people affected went up so rapidly that soon the pits were overwhelmed. In order to manage the bodies, the city began to transport the bodies to other islands.


The city came with the concept of lazaretto in the early 1400s. That is a hospital designed for the quarantine affected and potentially ill people. Lazzaretto Vecchio, a small island was home to the first hospital or institution to the quarantine ill people. More than 1,500 skeletal victims of the bubonic plague buried in the pits were found during an excavation on the island.

During the medieval era, when the plague returned and killed nearly two-third of Europe, Poveglia and various islands served as quarantine and dumping grounds for the deads. Some cautious communities even got into the habit of shipping away anyone who showed any symptoms of the disease. People were dragged to Poveglia and dumped atop piles of rotting corpses.

The only people dare to visit Poveglia Island are the one who go there to seasonally harvest grapes and grapes vines do well in the ash-filled soil. More than 50 percent of the island’s soil is composed of human ash.


Why Is Poveglia Island Off Limits?

A psychiatric hospital was built on Poveglia in the early 20th century. The arrival of mentally disturbed people and the privacy allowed the doctors to do as they pleased to their patients and made the legend grew to avoid the place.

The mental hospital poveglia island
This sign that reads “Psychiatric Department” still remains in testament to the use of the hospital for mentally ill patients. Source: Venezia.net.

As time went on stories about treatment and experimentation on the patients started coming to the outside world. The legend tells of a particularly demented doctor who worked at the hospital, who performed lobotomies on numerous patients, against their will. The process was painful and heinously wicked. Hammers, chisels, and drills with no anesthesia were used in the process of torture of the patients.

He saved his darkest experiments for special patients, whom he took to the hospital’s bell tower, the screams of those being tortured could be heard across the island. Some say the screams are still heard today.


According to the legend, the doctor committed suicide as it was the only way for him to escape the grisly human experiments he conducted on the patients. Other stories claim that the souls of the deads tormented him and his only escape was suicide. One story claims that some unknown entities pushed him off the tower.

The patients and staff finally abandoned the island in 1968 and it has been unoccupied to this day except for, hundreds of thousands of ghosts. The remeaning buildings are crumbling away with times.


Human bones still wash up on Poveglia’s shore, with more than hundred of thousand plague victims and mental patients buried on the small island of Poveglia, it seems no surprise that human bones continue to wash up on its shores. This fact is enough to keep visitors out or any potential buyers. The strange fact is that fishermen also avoid the island in order to stay safe from the curse of Poveglia Island.

It is illegal to visit the Island of Poveglia, it is among the world’s most illegal places to visit. The government attempted to auction off the island several times but the Poveglia Island still remains uninhibited and unsold.

Now that you’ve read about the Haunted Island of Poveglia, you might like reading about the Fort where entry is prohibited before and after the sunset by the government, making it the Most Haunted Place in India. You might also like reading about the Inhumane experiments conducted inside Japan’s UNIT 731.