Halloween is here and, although it is an American traditions, in recent years it became quite popular in Italy, too! In the streets and clubs of Rome, Florence, Naples there are plenty of events and it is likely to meet little kids or teenagers wearing – more or less -scary Halloween costumes. But for those thrill-seekers who want to enjoy the genuine Halloween spirit, Italy can represent the place to be!
We put together a list of creepy Halloween destinations which have in common peculiar architecture, frightening legends and of course, an alluring appeal!
This unique complex is located in Bomarzo, 1 hour from Rome, inside the Orsini Castle, built in the 16th century by the patron Vicino Orsini, known for its anarchic and eccentric personality. The garden, which in Italian is also named “Sacro Bosco”, is conceived to be merged with the environment and it is structured in a Mannerist style.
On one of the gardens’ benches there is this sign: "You that are wandering through the world, willing to see high and splendid marvels, do come here where there are horrible faces, elephants, lions, bears, ogres and dragons".
Walking through the area, you will feel overwhelmed by the giant sculptures of monsters: 24 of them are designed to have a provocative and shocking effect on the viewer. There is an Orcus with its mouth wide open, described by historians like the “Hell’s mouth”, the clash of Titans, a fortified war elephant, Neptune and a lot of statues of ogres, mythological beasts that will make you feel like at the center of a horror movie stage!
Last, but not least, there is a Leaning house that was built that way deliberately, not like the Tower of Pisa!
This spot, located right in the heart of Rome is definitely not suitable for the most impressionable! Underneath the Church of Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins (Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini), death is the guest star: you will find the skeletons and bones of over 4000 friars, distributed along 6 chapels with macabre names, such as the Crypt of the Skulls, the Crypt of the Leg Bones and The Crypt of the Pelvises.The bones have been arranged into rosettes, crosses, coats of arms, crowns, and stars as well as two explicit reminders of the passage of time – an hour glass and a clock with no hands.
Many people think that this place is not meant to be creepy, but to convey a peaceful image of the passage from life to eternity and about our own mortality. Indeed, the visitor is greeted with a sign that reads: What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be.Are you able to find anything more appropriate to celebrate Halloween?
Did you expect that in romantic, sparkling Venice you can find one of the most scariest palces in Europe? Poveglia is an island located in the south lagoon between Venice and Lido, now abandoned.
The first interesting fact is that it used to host for centuries all kind of exile and it was a dumping ground for the diseased, dying and deceased. It was a quarantine colony when the plague spread in Venice in the 14th and 17th century: the dead and those too sick to protest were burned on giant pyres on the island's center. A longstanding rumor about the property is that the topsoil consists of nearly 50% human ash.
In 1900, the island was transformed into an asylum where the highly disturbed could be kept isolated from the mainland; there are rumors that in the 1930s, a doctor performed strange experiments on the patients here. The island is now abandoned since 1975 and free visits are forbidden, due to security issues for the unstable buildings. It is possible to go there only after a long and detailed application process.
There are countless stories about the ghost whispers, bells ringing, a “mad murderer doctor” walking through the ruins of the Asylum that scared even the ghost hunters!
No surprise that Poveglia is also known as the Island of no return!
Located across the borders of Umbria, Tuscany and Lazio, la Scarzuola di Montegabbione was built in the 19th century as a personal interpretation of the “ideal city”. This magic area, built on an ancient monastery is a mixture of Classical, Gothic, Renaissance, and Mannerist styles built around a natural Amphitheatre in the hillside and made up of seven theatres.
It is also known as the “surrealist city” because everything is permeated with symbolism: before visiting it, you need to cancel every mental scheme to be involved in this genius project! La Scarzuola’s garden melts reality with the unreal and the imagination. To visit la Scarzuola means to have a magic journey in the city, composed by at least seven theaters, an Acropolis, a complex of buildings of every architectural style, empty inside but with countless chambers full of symbols and mysteries. You will then find a dark tunnel that represents the destruction of all senses and human being’s deepest fears: at the end of the tunnel there will be a light which will give you a great sense of relief!
Naples is rich in ancient and evocative buildings, that once were populated by the powerful families of the Naepolitan aristocracy.
Most of them are now abandoned and permeated by the ancient spirits (and ghosts) of the past. Among them, there is Palazzo Donn'Anna in Posillipo, the charmest area of Naples: according to tradition, it seems to be “haunted” by the spirits of “Donn’ Anna”, a noblewoman who used to eliminate her lovers by throwing them into a stomp connected with the sea.
The legend says that fishermen passing during the night by the rocks hear the laments of the people killed. Plus, there are people who swear to have seen on the terrace of the old building, two whitish figures dancing repeatedly: probably two lovers killed here because of their love.
Such a “romantic” Halloween, isn’t it?
Well, this last one is an integration of our list because, after the previous creepy places we would like to suggest you something different, more of a magic location: the Tarot Garden in Tuscany. The area is located near Capalbio in the southern Tuscany; it is a huge garden designed by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle, inspired by the work of Gaudì in Barcelona.
The Tarot garden is populated by twenty-two giants of steel and cement, covered in colorful ceramics, glass and mirror that represent the Major Arcana, or trump cards, in the Tarot deck. Most of the Statues have a hidden, empty side big enough to walk inside!
This is really worth to visit for an original, colorful Halloween day!