The Spookiest Places in Italy

skulls in cave
Martha Bakerjian

These spooky places in Italy can be visited any time of year and are especially good if you want to make your own Halloween itinerary. While some spots may be a little too scary for small children, older kids and teens often enjoy these creepy sights.

Skeletons, Catacombs, and Guided Visits

Italy's most famous catacombs are the catacombs outside Rome on the old Appian Way. Select Italy's Appia Antica guided tour includes a visit to one of the catacombs and the Tomb of Cecilia Metella (includes transportation from your hotel).

The Roman Guy Catacombs Tour also includes a visit to the Appian Way and catacombs as well as an in-depth look at the ancient sites below a church. Walks of Italy's Crypts, Bones, and Catacombs guided tour includes Saint Priscilla's catacombs, the Capuchin Crypt and ancient remains underneath one of Rome's churches.

There are also good catacombs in Sicily and in the historic center of Naples.

Mummies in Italy

The spookiest places in Italy--in our opinion--are the mummy exhibits in Ferentillo's Mummy Museum. The museum is located below the Church of Santo Stefano in Umbria and at the Mummies Cemetery in Urbania's Church of the Dead in Le Marche. There are also mummies near Palermo, Sicily in the Capuchin Monastery and in the Capuchin Crypt in Rome's historic center. These mummies are naturally preserved and the displays can be a macabre sight, not recommended for young children.

Skulls in Puglia

The cathedral in Otranto, on the Salento Peninsula (the heel of the boot), has a chapel made up of skulls and bones from the more than 800 martyrs who were killed in a Turkish invasion in 1480.

In Gravina in Puglia, there's a cave where you can see skulls and a single intact skeleton separated from the rest.

Scary Places in Rome

Rome's scary places include catacombs and crypts, the Museum of Purgatory, a Monster House, and the Vatican necropolis near Rome. Some of the relics in Rome's churches can be pretty spooky, too, such as doubting finger of St.

Thomas and a piece of John the Baptist's head.

Monster Park

Although more ethereal than particularly scary, Bomarzo Monster Park is filled with sculptures of monsters and mythical creatures. This is a favorite spot to take the kids.

Witches in Italy

Benevento, in southern Italy, is called the City of Witches and streghe (witches) are a big part of their folklore. They are known for strega products, including candy and liqueur.

In northern Italy, near the Italian Riviera, the village of Triora is known for its 16th-century witch trials and has a museum dedicated to the witches 403 tortured and killed there.

Venice's Quarantine and Cemetery Islands

San Michelle is Venice's cemetery island with two churches and many tombs. A good time to visit is in early November when the cemetery is full of flowers for All Soul's Day. 

During the plague, Lazaretto Vecchio was used as a quarantine center for victims and recently mass graves of plague victims were uncovered. Although Lazaretto Vecchio was closed for several years due to the economic situation at the time, members of the Archeoclub of Venice have worked to restore the island to safety. They have had limited special openings since 2014.

Nearby, Lazzaretto Nuovo was used as a quarantine and decontamination site and can be visited on a guided tour from April through October.

Explore the role of the plague in Venice with Select Italy's Venetian Renaissance after the Plague walking tour.

Naples Cemetery Cave and Catacombs

More than 40,000 corpses were dumped into a cave just outside the city walls of Naples, most when the plague hit Naples. Nearby, you can also visit the gruesome San Gaudioso catacombs.

Medieval Torture Museums

Several towns in Tuscany and Umbria have torture museums housing items used to torture victims during the Inquisition. San Gimignano has one of the best museums and beneath the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Narni in Umbria, you can visit the underground torture chambers.

Halloween in Italy

If you're in Italy on All Saint's Eve (Halloween) consider Urban Trekking, special walks to special night visits to medieval towers, crypts, dungeons, or castles.

 

Sources

National Geographic: Mass Plague Graves Found in Venice "Quarantine" Island.