Always dwelling in our nightmares and making us shiver when we are alone, it is said that they are the souls of the deceased who are stuck in a place dear to them or a source of suffering, probably trying to tell us something. Ghosts have always been part of our fears but, like all fears, they are frightening and attractive at the same time.
In fact, in the whole world, hence, in Italy, there are places surrounded by ghostly legends which are still inhabited by some obscure presences.
Often, those places are castles, ancient houses, or restricted areas such as prisons, hospitals, and sanatoriums, but also orphanages and schools. They are usually accompanied by tragic and terrible stories, sometimes with a happy ending.
So, create the right atmosphere, make sure you have some lights turned on, and follow us to discover the 13 most haunted houses in Italy.
13. Palazzo Carmagnola, Milan
Built in the 14th century, Palazzo Carmagnola today is the headquarters of Consob and the Piccolo Teatro of Milan. There are two ghosts that inhabit this building: that of the Count of Carmagnola and that of Cecilia Gallerani.
The Count of Carmagnola, or Francesco Bussone, was a warlord who lived in the palace for years and died beheaded. Cecilia Gallerani is the famous Lady with an Ermine portrayed in Leonardo’s painting and the lover of Ludovico il Moro.
Witnesses claim that both are wandering around the palace rooms and that it is possible to see the beautiful Cecilia from one of the windows during the night of the Memorial of the dead, a.k.a the Day of the Dead, celebrated on November 2.
12. The Cursed Monastery of the Devil’s Monks, Sicignano degli Alburni (SA)
If you would like to venture out to discover this monastery, you should know that getting there is quite difficult and the locals will advise you not to visit it in any way. But, if you really want to see it, you can get there following a small road that can only be traveled on foot. There, you will find the ruins of the monastery, where a hooded figure has been seen wandering at night, even recently.
The monastery dates back to the 1600s but, towards the mid-1700s, one of the monks living there committed such atrocities so they had to rename the building as The Devil’s Monks Monastery.
The story says that one day a sick and hungry traveler appeared at the door of the monastery. The monks welcomed him and he repaid the kindness by becoming a handyman and, later, he also took vows. One day, the new monk fell in love with a young local peasant woman, but the two lovers were soon discovered by the other monks. They imprisoned him and tortured her to death, blaming her for being the devil’s witch sent to induce God’s servants into sin.
Once the man was freed, strange deaths began to occur. They were always accidental and occurred not only in the monastery but also in the nearby villages. Namely, whoever came too close to the monastery, disappeared without returning.
All this was considered a rumor until a woman and her husband, passing by in a carriage, asked for shelter at the monastery. That night only the husband returned, driving his carriage with a smashed skull. Some witnesses say that, some nights, a man in a carriage still wanders around those places searching for his wife.
After this event, the king sent his men to discover who did this. They arrived at the monastery, where they found and hanged the monk from an oak tree, right in front of the building. And, who knows, maybe the monk still wanders among the ruins, waiting for his next victim?
11. Villa Caboto, Mondello (PA)
Built in the 40s and eventually abandoned in the 80s, Villa Caboto is surrounded by an aura of mystery. Many of those who have approached it, say that strange things happen inside or in its vicinity and strange noises coming from the house can be heard, especially at night.
Some claim to have seen an old woman in front of the entrance who has been savagely beaten by mysterious forces in front of the villa. They have also seen a light constantly going on and off or have noticed that the house moves and that the perception of time is different inside.
It is said that the mysterious villa in Mondello was originally a rendezvous house where German soldiers, who remained in Sicily, were killed together with prostitutes during an American ambush and that their souls have wandered inside ever since, having a great time at night. It is also said that the house was a kind of prison for inmates of a certain caliber who were killed and massacred inside. And, the last story claims that the ghost of a girl killed by her father who caught her red-handed with her lover still waits for her beloved at the door of the house.
10. Villa Cerri – The Villa of the Cursed Lovers, Lomello (PV)
It is said that the owner of this sumptuous villa in Art Nouveau style, at the beginning of the 20th century, went out for a hunt but returned earlier than usual as he didn’t found any interesting prey. His wife didn’t welcome him as usual, in fact, he found her on the second floor, where she was entertaining herself in unequivocal attitudes with a young stable boy, who was her lover for some time.
The man killed the two with a rifle and then, blinded by anger and jealousy, he took his own life with the last bullet. Since then it seems that the ghosts of the three haunt the house, leading the subsequent owners to suicide or insanity. In the 1950s, all members of a family died in a short time.
However, the truth is much less romantic than it seems. In a postcard from 1931, we see the owner of the villa on the threshold of his home, many years after the alleged bloody incident. Some historians also argue that the mystery of the villa was born from the merger of two crime events dating back to the 19th century. The first one is the massacre of Vecchio Mulino, where a peasant family was killed by robbers, although many hypothesize adultery as the true cause of the massacre. The other one is a gossip, from the late 30s, which tells of the tragic love story of two tenants of Villa Cerri, guilty only of having had a secret love.
9. The Castle of the Route, Moncalieri (TO)
The rumors of an alleged supernatural activity around the castle were born out of several reasons, including the fact that it’s been neglected at the beginning of the 20th century, its solitary location, and the fact that it was often visited by the Knights Templar. The building is also located in an astrological position suitable for the contribution of natural energies as it is oriented at the intersection of particular lines of terrestrial magnetic forces in relation to the position of the sun, moon, and planets.
According to the “experts”, the castle is the most haunted in Italy because of the presence of an armed knight on his steed, a criminal priest, a ritual procession of ecclesiastics (every 14 June), a noble perhaps suicide, an elderly nanny guilty of causing the disappearance of an infant, a cardinal sitting with the intention to read a book, and a man dressed in black who returns to the place of his death.
8. Villa Foscari, Mira (VE)
Designed by Andrea Palladio for the Foscari brothers, the Villa is an immense construction from 1560. Once the residence of Venetian nobles, today this villa is inhabited by the ghost of a woman, which is why the building is also called La Malcontenta.
Nicolò Foscari married the beautiful Elisabetta Dolfin, but due to her alleged infidelities and amorous anxieties, he exiled her to the newly built villa. Here, his wife spent her last 30 years in semi-enclosure, although she proclaimed her innocence every day.
Legend has it that, after her death, her ghost still wanders around the rooms of the villa, in particular in Armida’s room and the rear garden. The ghost looks like a beautiful woman, with pale skin and red hair, wearing a very elegant and low-cut long black dress. Often, the figure is clear but sometimes it is an evanescent image.
7. Villa Magnoni, Cona (FE)
Villa Magnoni is a long-abandoned building and neither its current owner nor any of its heirs are known. In the town where it is located, everyone knows the Villa and its history of the witch’s curse.
Testimonies tell of screams, moans, and ghosts, all that remains of a death story that happened in the mid-1980s when four boys looking for adventure decided to challenge the aura of mystery surrounding the building and entered to explore it. In the middle of their visit, they heard the screams of a child and soon after, they saw an old woman looking out the window screaming at them “go away”. Running away from this presence, the boys ended up with their car off the road. In the accident, three of them died. The survivor told everything to the authorities who had all the entrances of the villa bricked up, but after a few days one window appears free, the one where the boys saw the mysterious old woman.
The Villa is now the destination of many ghost-hunters who say they have heard female whispers calling to leave, chilling screams of children, and dark shadows near the only open window.
6. Villa Clara, Trebbo di Reno (BO)
Originally called Palazzo Malvasia, today this 16th-century house is called Villa Clara, after the little girl who was killed inside it in the early 1900s. The building, now dilapidated and surrounded by an overgrown garden, seems to be the eternal home of the spirit of Clara, who was walled up alive by her father terrified by the presumed powers of foresight she showed.
Another version of the story tells that Clara was not a child but a teenager, a stepdaughter of the owner of the villa who has bricked her up alive to punish her for her relationship with a subordinate of the family. The locals say that you can hear her screams and moans for help around the Villa.
5. House of the Violin, Scogna Sottana (SP)
The House of the Violin is hard to find, but if you ask anyone in the village, they will give you directions. The building is named like that because it was once inhabited by a young and well-known musician who passionately practiced violin every day. Unfortunately, he died after a long and serious illness and the house remained uninhabited for a long time.
However, it seems that his violin started playing by itself. Those who entered and stayed in the house even for a few days said that, some nights, the musician’s violin, even if closed in a showcase, began to play accompanied by disturbing screams, probably those of the violinist’s ghost who still “lived” in the house.
Anyone who has defied fear and stayed one night inside the Violin House swears they saw the violin come out of the case in which it was placed and start playing by itself.
4. Ca ‘Dario, Venice
Palazzo Dario, better known as Ca ‘Dario, is a typical Venetian-style building that has been under a curse for centuries. Namely, the owners of the house have been killed brutally, killed themselves, or perished from “strange” accidental causes.
The house, commissioned by the secretary of the Senate of the Republic of Venice, Giovanni Dario, has built up this tremendous reputation over the years due to the mysterious deaths of its owners, almost all suicides. There are many hypotheses formulated in an attempt to explain the curse of the house. Some claim that the palace was built on a Templar cemetery, who say that Ca ‘Dario is influenced by the talisman placed on the water door of the next building that wards off the negativity. Despite all these unconfirmed hypotheses, those who have been there testified a strange sense of uneasiness, both, when inside the palace and when looking at it.
3. House of Souls, Voltri (GE)
Legend has it that the building was an inn that offered hospitality to travelers and that for a certain period it was run by a not really recommendable family. Namely, they used to rob the wealthiest travelers through a secret passage through which reached one of the rooms. If any of the other guests were awakened by the noises of the theft, they were stabbed to death or suffocated with a rope and their corpses were buried in a sort of mass grave at the back of the inn. The family was then discovered and arrested and all the members were sentenced to death.
Several evacuees, during the Second World War, settled in the building and immediately began to notice strange things. The women heard doors opening and closing by themselves, dishes moving from one table to another by themselves, as well as shouts and terrible noises coming from the garden. The family left when a young girl started showing up on the front door on certain evenings looking for her boyfriend, who was killed in the inn.
2. Montebello Castle, Poggio Torriana (RN)
Undoubtedly one of the most famous places in Italy for the ghost stories associated with it, the Montebello Castle is closely related to the events of a young girl who lived and probably still lives there, Azzurrina.
Born around 1370, she was the daughter of Ugolinuccio or Uguccione di Montebello and died prematurely on 21 June 1375, the day of the summer solstice. Since she was born an albino and the popular superstition of the time associated this condition with events of a diabolical nature, her mother decided to dye her hair, which took on blue reflections like her eyes. That’s where the nickname of Azzurrina comes from. The father then decided to put the child under close surveillance, entrusting her to two guards to protect her from popular prejudice. On the day of her death, while her father was engaged in battle, Azzurrina was playing in the castle with a ball of rags during a storm. The little girl chased the ball into the icebox but, after hearing a scream, the guards who rushed to her found no trace from the child nor the ball, and her body was never found.
It seems that the ghost of the little girl continues to roam the castle, returning to be heard every five years, exactly on the summer solstice. Currently, many parapsychologists try to capture the noise produced by the alleged ghost using sound-activated audio recorders.
1. Villa De Vecchi – The Red House, Cortenova (LC)
The most haunted house in Italy is located in Valsassina and is well-known to Italian mystery lovers and urban speleologists. It was built at the end of the 19th century because the owner had a sick daughter and thought the mountain environment is healthier for her. One day the man returned home and found his wife mysteriously dead with a disfigured face and his daughter just as mysteriously missing.
The search went on for weeks, but without results and, devastated by grief, the man committed suicide. Since then, the house was abandoned and the slow but inexorable decay began, a condition in which it still is today.
It seems that the house was the site of meetings of Satanists as can be concluded from the numerous graffiti on the walls of the building. Also, strong magnetic and electromagnetic fields have been detected in the surrounding area. Moreover, when there was a great landslide that completely devastated some villages in the area years ago, the house was spared as the boulders passed to the sides without touching it.
The researchers of the group Crop heard a strange noise coming from inside during several inspections. The noise was similar to that produced by someone who, walking, crawled their feet on the wood. During the nights of the summer or winter solstice, female moans are heard coming from within or a piano sound coming from the room, where there is still an old destroyed piano.