October is the time of Halloween, a time for witches, vampires, ghouls, and goblins. A time for people to seek out spine-tingling terrors and scream-inducing horrors. Here are the five most haunted places in Italy. Continue reading if you dare.
Palazzo Dario in Venice
According to legend, anyone who owns Palazzo Dario or stays on the premise for more than 20 days dies, commits murder or becomes bankrupt. The house’s deadly history began after the original owner, Giovanni Dario, passed away, and his daughter, Marietta, inherited the property. Soon after, her husband was murdered, their son died in battle, and she committed suicide. Following the demise of the Darios, the house continued to claim victims, seven in total, including The Who’s bass player, John Entwistle, who suffered a heart attack a week after renting the place.
Casino degli Spiriti in Venice
Another haunted home in Venice, Casino degli Spiriti was built in the 16th-century and is said to be home to the ghost of the painter Luzzo. He supposedly committed suicide in the house because of his unrequited love for a woman. Since that time, the house was whispered about but, people were able to brush off any misgivings about the property until a more recent tragedy set everyone on edge. In the 1950s, a young woman was killed in the house. She was cut into pieces, packed in a trunk, and sunk to the bottom of the lagoon. Her body wasn’t discovered until years later, and since then the house has been considered cursed.
Orto Botanico Comunale di Lucca
Within the communal gardens of Lucca, there lies a dark history of plague, desperation, and the Devil. One of the garden’s main features is a large pond that connects to an ancient spring and is filled with beautiful plant life. According to historical documents, this was the former burial site for plague victims and executed prisoners. This pond is also said to reflect the face of Lucida Mansi, a beautiful Lucchese woman who sold her soul to the devil to stay beautiful. During her lifetime, it was said that Mansi would often kill her lovers so they could not ruin her reputation. Additionally, on dark stormy nights, a fiery carriage is said to race across the grounds, with wails of agony coming from inside before it crashes into the waters of the pond.
Devil’s Monk Monastery in Salerno
The story goes that a young man in desperate need of food and shelter sought out the monks for help. They welcomed him in, and eventually the man decided to join the order and took his vows. Unfortunately, some years later, the man fell in love with a local woman and broke his vows to be with her. When his brothers discovered this, they locked him in a cell so he could repent and charged the woman with witchcraft and killed her. The man, devastated by her death, pledged his soul to the Devil for revenge on his brothers. The man allegedly went on a killing spree that only ended when the king had him excited. The monastery has since been abandoned, but there are reports of a hooded figure wandering the grounds and a general sensation of evil throughout.
The Castello della Rotta in Moncalieri
Found on the edges of Turin, this ancient castle dates back to the 4th-century. It was built to protect the bridge which the Roman road from Pollenzo crossed over. The castle later fell after a brutal defeat by the French in 1639. However before its demise, it was the site of many battles and deaths.
A frequent sighting on the property is that of a ghostly knight on horseback wearing a cross. The story says he and the future bride of the castle’s lord were in love, and when the romance was discovered the lord threw the girl from the castle tower. Afterward, the knight devoted himself to God and lost his life in the Holy Lands. Yet his spirit returned to the castle, perhaps looking for his lost love.
Another version of the story again involves the lord of the castle and his future bride. The pair were in love, but on the night of the wedding, the castle was attacked. The bride feared what would happen if she fell into the hands of the enemy and therefore jumped from the castle tower. Sadly, the lord won the battle only to find his beloved dead. He again devoted his life to God and left for the Holy Lands to join the Knights of Templar.
Other ghosts said to haunt this castle include a child and his nursemaid, a condemned priest, and a headless man.
- Ghost of Lucida Mansi [Un Prosecchino]
- 10 Haunted Places [Benvenuto Limos]
- Palazzo Dario [Atlas Obscura]
- Unsolved Italian Mysteries [Select Italy]
- Castello della Rotta [Guida Torino]
- Monastery of Damned Friars [Insolita Italia]
- Feature Picture [Need Pix]