Posts Tagged ‘Venice’

It is one of the most beautiful buildings over-looking the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy and it seems, according to some, that the building is cursed and leaves its owners on the streets, or worse still dead. The building is tilted to the left adding to the effects of the story and its beauty caught men such as Claude Monet and John Ruskin.

Pietro Lombardo built it in 1479 for Giovanni Dario, secretary of the Senate of the Republic of Venice. His daughter, Marietta, married into the Barbaro family and the building stayed in their hands until the 19th Century. Before they sold it, back in that period, Dario lost power and suffered a financial collapse. Mariette fell into disgrace, rumours say she may have died from a broken heard or possibly committed suicide. Her father and husband died not long after she did.

Seemingly the curse came with the building and not the family, in the 19th Century an Armenian diamond-dealer took ownership. Arbit Abdoll went bankrupt and died in disgrace. In 1832 a British Scientist, Rawdon Brown, took ownership and by 1842 was on the streets, committed suicide and so did his lover.

Sometime after Charles Briggs brought it and was forced to flee to Venice. He was charged with homosexuality, which as then a crime. After him was Henry De Reigner who fell ill two years after the purchase and went back to France. In the 1970’s Giordano delle Lanze was killed by this lover in one of the palace rooms.

Christopher (Kit) Lambert, the manger of The Who, brought it and died soon after in London of cerebral hemorrhage when he fell down the stairs at his mothers house. There are more but I will just surmise that it seems some unlucky folks have owned that house, or you can believe it is the curse. Today it is privately owned and not open to the public. 

You would also think I had a picture of this, considering I took a lot of random pictures there but no… turns out I could be the one person that went down the Grand Canal and snapped anything but haha!

Top picture is from Wikipedia the bottom ones are just some random bits I took on my travels.

Iain99 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Palazzo Dario

Venice, Italy is a phenomena in history of it’s own, having not joined the Kingdom of Italy until 1866 it has been quite independent until Napoleon and the Austrian forces came into play in 1797. Venices history is pulled in by a variety of influences, countries and a unique collection of islands that are man made around it’s lagoon.

A famous spot in the city is the Bridge of Sighs or Ponte dei Sospiri, it was named by Lord Byron in the 19th Century and yet was built back in 1602.

The bridges purpose was to connect the new prison to the interrogation rooms located at the Doge’s Palace. The bridge was supposedly to offer the convicts one last view of the beautiful city before they were forever locked away in the prison below.

It seems though that Byron may have romanticized this, as the windows from the bridge are covered in stone grills. By the time the bridge had been built the prison would have been more used for petty criminals. The times of summary executions and inquisitions were over.

So what of ghosts? It is said that you can hear sounds, strange noises and the shuffling of feet but it was so busy when we went really all you heard was boats, tourists, workers and Venetians trying to carry on with their lives around the lagoon.

A more romantic tale is that couples in love should take a gondola ride, hope to time it so that the bells of St Mark’s Campanile are tolling and then kiss. This should bless you for eternal love.

(picture taken July 2013)

CIMG0936

 

In Northern Italy sits Venice, a lagoon made of a variety of islands and one of those is the island of San Michele. The island was a popular place for local travellers and fishermen to land. A Renaissance church and monastery lie on the island, the monastery also served as a prison for a time. San Michele in Isola is a Roman Catholic church on the island, dedicated to Saint Michael. It was rebuilt in 1469 and the interior has a nave and two aisles.

San Cristoforo was selected to become a cemetery in 1807, under French occupation it was decided burial on the main island was unsanitary. In 1836 the canal between San Michele and San Cristiforo was filled in and the larger island became known as San Michele.

The cemetery is still in use today and has many famous residents upon it, one of those famous residents is Igor Stravinsky.

I spent a glorious afternoon there in the sun, it is thoroughly worth navigating the vaporetto *water boat* to get to the island, even if it is a bit off track from the main areas. I came back enlightened by the beauty of the place and a suntan.

It is asked that you don’t take pictures, like many of the religious spots around Venice. Sadly I found that there was pretty much zero respect for this with tourists, even in the main churches and hotspots it seems that walking around with your iphone is far more indulgent than experiencing the true beauty of the place, which came as a bit of a shock to me…

However that grip aside, the island is amazing and a few sneaky pics were got when we were sure we would not interrupt anyone mourning or when we felt it was safe to do so with respect. I didn’t want to be so arrogant as to take pictures without thinking of a funeral in process…

If you do head over I would suggest you take plenty of water, there’s a lot of nice benches you can stop on. You can find a spot to sit and take in both the exquisit sites and if you get the right time of year, you can really enjoy the weather. After our trip we headed back to the Lido, had something nice to eat and of course a wine in the local bar.

Recently I went on a trip with friends out to Italy, more specifically Venice. We stayed around the Lido area which is around three kilometres away from the abandoned island of Poveglia. In the port at San Marco we saw a ship called Poveglia and we took it upon ourselves to ask them if the boat did indeed go there… blank faces. This was a similar event when we asked the local police too, seems it was not a well heard of place.

The island itself is not on the main routes, and there are no tourists being guided around. I had hoped we’d find out a way to get there but sadly not. However this hasn’t deterred me from recounting this curiosity. I am sure someone may be able to correct me where I go wrong. (Hope so anyway).

The Island seems to have a lengthy history attached to it, records suggest that in the 9th Century it was fairly well populated but had suffered plenty of wars and attacks. In 1379 Venice came under conflict and the people from Poveglia were moved to the Giudecca. The Venetian government built a permanent fortification on the Island; the Octagon there is still visible today. It remained uninhabited until it was offered to the Camaldolese monks in 1527, they refused to take it. In 1661 descendants were then offered the Island but again it was refused. It was still left empty and abandoned.

1777 saw the Island being used by the Public Health Office who used it as a check point for goods and people as they came and went through Venice. 1793 saw the plague changing the island once more, several cases of the plague on two ships meant that it was a temporary confinement place for the ill. It was a place made permanent in 1805, and the church of San Vitale there was destroyed, the old bell tower was then converted into a lighthouse. It was closed down in 1814.

The 20th Century was used as a quarantine station once more, and then in 1922 the buildings that were left had been converted to a hospital for the mentally-ill and for long-term care. This was the case until 1968 when the hospital was closed, the island was used for a while after that but now is closed off.

So on to the creepy bits? That’s what we’re here for right?

The mental asylum doctor was no doubt given his tyrannical legend like so many others of the time, due to practising lobotomy and other, now, barbaric practises. He was tortured by his patients, went “mad” and then jumped to his death from the bell tower. However the story says that he survived and was then strangled by a mist from the ground.

Other sources say that so many people were buried and burnt during the time of the plague that the ground is half human-remains. The local fishermen will give it a wide berth to ensure they will not fish up the bones of ancestors and a stay overnight would most like produce interesting tales, Ghost Adventure’s went that way themselves and discovered this to be much the case. The locals are either unaware of this place, or will feign disinterest leaving only the more curious and grizzly minded wanting to go there.

A rather good first account from someone that has visited can be located here: MENTAL FLOSS

Poveglia Googled

Well I’ve talked about how to find one, and how they come about but really are there any ways to stop these fanged annoyances nomming on you in the night? Apparently there might be.

Garlic is not just good to keep the flies away but a potentially wonderful way to avoid loosing a couple of pints of the red stuff or even mustard seeds on the roof. Not everyone is a fan of the smell though so if you think it will keep your genuine house guests away they don’t really like consecrated grounds, some are adverse to running water so perhaps a moat around the bungalow will help?

Whilst apparently rather good looking and sexy in many tales, they don’t all get the luxury of a reflection and mirrors might even cause them to stay away too. Personally if I look like a nightmare after one nights sleep I can imagine that has little to do with the lack of reflection…

Another one that you might like is that in many traditions the vampire can only enter if invited. Don’t make the mistake of letting someone in without testing, though if they come armed with straight-jackets you might want to be careful about how you test them. And also don’t be fooled that they only come out at night, there’s no written lore to say
this is always the case.

Vampire Hunting

On to the fun part! How do you take them out? Well stakes through the heart seem popular, pretty effective on the living too I’d say. Other reports have suggested a stake through the mouth too but this seems more prevalent in Russia and Northern Germany. For a comedy image you can “deflate” the vampire by piercing the chest, I quite like the idea of them going into Theme Hospital with this. It reminds me of the Floaty Head syndrome where they popped their head with a pin.

A sure fire method appears to be decapitation, you can bury the head between their feet, or behind the buttocks (don’t ask I have no idea). There’s also spiking them into the coffin as another way to stop them rising.

A fantastic find in Venice, 2006, was discovered in a 16th Century burial where a brick was forced into the mouth of a female corpse. It is attributed to a possible vampire slaying.

There are a series of varying vampire hunting kits that have floated around, some are well made fakes, others rather modernised. E-bay can sometimes find you a kit for a few hundred to a few thousand pounds depending on your hunter budget. (I guess I’ll just have to accept my lot!)