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May 14, Ransom Riggs InRansom Riggs visited the island of Poveglia in the Venice Lagoon—also known as the most haunted island in the world. A rival community group is asking the government to refuse his bid. So what exactly does he get? Let's take a look at Ransom's photo tour from A quarantine station, a dumping ground for plague victims, more recently a mental hospital -- the tiny island of Poveglia in the Venice Lagoon has served many unpleasant purposes over the years, but today it stands empty, a crumbling collection of abandoned buildings and weeds run riot just two miles from the glittering palaces of the Grand Canal.
Legends and rumors about Poveglia are nearly as pervasive as the weeds, and they read like a horror story: Weary of an island in their beloved lagoon being characterized as a "festering blemish They deny being frightened of the place and tend not to mention the plague pits or mental hospital when discussing the island's history; a recent article in Venice magazine claimed that the institutional ruins which dominate Poveglia were nothing more than a rest home for the elderly.
But as long as the island remains tantalizingly off-limits to tourists and crammed with rotting buildings that are just a gondola ride from some of Europe's priciest real estate, rumors will keep flying and people will keep telling scary stories about it.
I wanted to sort out the truth from the rumors, the legends from the dismissive shrugs of the locals. As it turns out, getting to Poveglia isn't as easy as it sounds. While upwards of three million people descend upon Venice and a few of the more touristy resort islands around it each year, virtually no one goes to Poveglia.
According to most travel guides, the island is "not visitable," and the idea of flagging down a water taxi on the Grand Canal and asking for a ride to a far-flung island of abandoned buildings was laughable. People have tried it; it doesn't work.
It took a few days to find a boat operator who would agree to take me there, and while it wasn't cheap, it included a whole day on the lagoon during which I could visit a few other islands too, if I wanted, and it even included lunch, cooked on a propane burner right on the boat.
Approaching the island, the first thing you see is the bell tower.
It's the most visible and also one of the oldest structures on the island, the only remnant of a 12th-century church that was abandoned and destroyed hundreds of years ago. The tower was turned into a lighthouse in the 18th century, and now serves no purpose other than as a landmark unless you're a suicidal, possibly-legendary mad doctor.
Next you see the island's octagonal battlement, known as "the octagon," which was built in the 14th century to repel Genoese invaders.
The Genoese and Venetians had a bloody rivalry for centuries. In addition to the countless others who are supposed to have met their untimely ends on Poveglia, the octagon was used by English soldiers during the Napoleonic wars to ambush French commandos.
Prisoners were taken ashore and burned this "almost became a habit," according to one history book and -- again, this is a rumor -- destroyed French ships still decorate the bottom of the lagoon around the octagon.
We navigate to one side of the octagon and come into a little canal, where the mental hospital is revealed behind a stand of trees.
The building may have served other purposes, but I can only describe it as what it looks like -- somewhere insane people are incarcerated. We slide up to a landing, tie the boat to a strut of the mental hospital and hop ashore.The Merchant of Venice - The Merchant of Venice is shows the dynamics of love and to what extent humans will go to show love, they will use their wealth and .
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