Italy puts 'world's most haunted island' on auction block
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 8:24 PM -
There's a saying in Venice claiming that when an evil man dies, he wakes up in Poveglia.
Referred to as the "island of madness" or, simply, "hell", this small island in northern Italy once served as a mental institution and a resting place for plague victims, among other grisly things.
It's believed that as many as 160,000 people met a gruesome demise on Poveglia.
Locals say there are countless ghosts roaming the island -- including Little Maria, the spirit of a young girl who is often spotting looking out over the lagoon.
The area is uninhabited and off-limits to the public but that could soon change, with the Italian government offering a 99-year lease on the land.
It's part of a plan to help reduce the country's staggering government debt.
Bidding reportedly starts at $490,000 USD and some locals, including Venetian Mayor Georgio Orsoni, are pooling their resources in hopes of winning the auction.
There are rumours swirling that the space could be turned into a luxury hotel, but Orsoni has suggested "that the island be redeveloped as a youth or cultural center rather than a luxury hotel," according to Australian media.