Visitors are not permitted at Poveglia, a small island close to the Lido di Venezia, where the past is dark and the present still unsettling.
Used as a quarantine station for plague victims in the late 1700s, 100,000 people are believed to have perished here and, so prevalent is death, some 50% of the island’s soil is said to comprise human remains.
Later used to house a mental hospital, several buildings remain, but with Italian authorities determined to keep the curious away, don’t expect to see them at close quarters. With more than one plague pit believed to lie not far beneath the surface, Poveglia might beckon those with an interest in the macabre, but most will be content to keep their distance. Given the island’s history, it’s perhaps no surprise that Poveglia is rumoured to be haunted.