Black Plague Island, Italy
Located just half-a-mile from the chaotic streets and canals of Venice, Poveglia (aka Black Plague Island) is a dark place that doesn’t feature on the tourist itineraries.
Used as a quarantine station between 1797 and 1814, it is thought more than 160,000 infected souls lived out their final days and hours here. So great was the death toll as the disease took its grip on the local population, rumour has it that some 50% of the island’s soil is comprised of human remains.
That the island was later home to a mental hospital where, according to local legend, a doctor developed a penchant for torturing and murdering his patients, just adds to the macabre air that hangs over Poveglia. Having long since fallen into ruin, this is an eerie place and one that, despite its obvious proximity, might as well be a million miles from the Venetian hustle and bustle going on across the lagoon.