The few people who have experienced the island of Poveglia since the 18th-century include sick soldiers quarantined there and elderly, and possibly insane, hospital patients. But it can be yours for a few million Euro.
The Italian nation, in debt and desperate, is trying to raise money by selling assets like castles and monasteries. The government is not selling Poveglia, just a 99-year lease to it, which they hope developers will snatch up. The 17-acre island has a sordid past that might scare some investors off, though. A burying ground during the Black Plague and a quarantine island in the 18th-century, Poveglia was most recently a hospital for the elderly in the first half of the 20th-century, closing in 1968 after the director killed himself. Rumors persist that the hospital performed lobotomies on mentally ill patients and the ghosts of Poveglia pushed the director to suicide. A Travel Channel host recently visited the island and claimed he was a possessed by a ghost while there (see video below).
The island's lease goes on the auction block next week, but there is no possible price being floated by the government. The Italians hope to raise more than 500 million Euros by selling the lease and other historic properties that can be redeveloped into tourist attractions.