Cursed island. Abandoned crumbling villa. Death and destruction. Spins very exciting fiction, doesn’t it? For the people of Naples, this story is more reality than imagination. 90 feet off the coast of Naples is a Gaiola island considered to be a cursed land and even avoided by fearful people. The island in actuality consists of two islets connected by a narrow stone bridge and houses a temple for Goddess Venus alongside a villa left in ruins. Some even believe that the Roman poet Virgil once taught his students at this island.
Post the bout of glory, the island soon gained its reputation as an island of misfortune in the early 19th century due to a string of cases involving deaths, disappearance and violence. The first of the myths is of a hermit known as Il Mago or ‘The Wizard’ who resided on the land. It is said that he lived in isolation, barring occasional encounters with the local fisherman. It is said that he disappeared off the face of the earth without any trace.
Following that, came in Luigi de Negri, who built the massive villa of the island. He is known to have fallen into the clutches of a tragic financial loss soon after. If the stories seem too tame for you so far, it is to be noted that the stories only get darker so forth.
In 1911, Captain Gaspare Albenga was known to have shown interest in acquiring the land but crashed his ship and drowned while scoping the land. The less gruesome version of the myth says he simply disappeared. The next owner, Hans Braun from Switzerland was found murdered and wrapped in a rug in his own home. Along with the murder came the death of his widow, who is said to have drowned in the ocean.
Since then, there surfaced cases of heart attacks, suicide and a disappearance of a woman who was riding the cable car that once connected the island to the mainland.
The next victim of the island was a prominent figure. The head of Fiat responsible for its international success, Gianni Agnelli took shelter in the villa. During his stay, his son apparently committed suicide, his body found under a bridge. Adding to the hardships was the death of his nephew who passed away due to a rare kind of cancer.
Another famous personality took to the island in the late 1900s. Billionaire John Paul Getty seemed to be doing fine until his grandson was kidnapped by the Calabrian Mafia in 1973. Negotiating a $3 million ransom, the tycoon was sent his grandson’s ear in the post before the payment.
Fast forward to today, the island is protected under the region of Campania and a part of the Gaiola Underwater Park.
Now, these stories may have been exaggerated and spiced up with the years rolling on. But are you brave enough to risk your luck for a visit? We leave that up to you.