5 destinations in Italy for Halloween

Throughout time we have been told several versions about the celebration and origin of Halloween, limiting ourselves to say that it is the famous “Halloween”. However, this celebration comes from the time of the Celtic culture, who had their own beliefs for each activity; specifically for their crops. 

Then, at the end of the summer or on the 31st of October of each year, coinciding with the autumn solstice, the Celts, when the work of this season in the field was completed, celebrated Samhain in style. For them this end had to do with death and the beginning of a new life. This belief was passed on from generation to generation.

They said goodbye to the Sun God, or Lugh, to welcome the autumn; marking in this way the end of the Celtic year; which they recognized by the fall of the leaves of the trees. Therefore, the origin of Halloween comes from about 3000 years ago, from Ireland. This end was made under the belief that on that night both the invisible and the visible world met.

Rather, spirits could walk among the living and, as that separation was diluted, certain paranormal events could be experienced. So the people would leave sweets and food outside their homes as an offering. In addition to lighted candles to help the spirits to find the path that the Sun God was going to show them to obtain eternal rest.

We must emphasize that at that time the region of Ireland was not the only one that belonged to the Celtic culture or people; it was also formed by Scotland, England and France. Therefore, on this date of October 31, these rituals were performed in all these places; the idea was always purification, to say goodbye in a good way to the year that had already ended.

Why was the celebration of Samhain renamed Halloween?

Pope Gregory III, in the 7th century, decided to change the date of “All Saints’ Day”, which was May 13, to November 1; this coincided with the celebration of Samhain on October 31, originating a fusion between the pagan Celtic feast and the feast of the Catholic religion, and began to be called “All Saints’ Eve”.

This name, if translated into the original language, would be “All Hallow’s Eve”. In the following years, and for convenience of sound, they began to pronounce it as “Halloween”. By 1846 immigration from Europe to the United States began, and the Irish Catholics had a large presence in these lands, bringing with them the Celtic customs.

So, we can see that what began as the celebration of Samhain was renamed Halloween, and is still celebrated in Western countries every year. 

Some places that are considered frightening in Italy

If you want to spend a spooky night in this next Halloween we recommend these places that we will describe below, which are full of mystery and hidden situations, but that attract the public with great curiosity. Among them we have:

In Voltri, Genoa, The House of Souls:

In the province of Genoa, at the level of the high part called Voltri, and more precisely towards via dei Giovi, there is this house, located on an isolated road, devoid of other buildings. Centuries ago, in the Middle Ages, it was used as an inn to rest; the preferred place for pilgrims and merchants to reach Genoa. A place that also attracted certain bandits and where kidnappings, robberies, mysterious disappearances and murders were practiced.

This place is still called “Ca’delle Anime”, that is to say the “House of Souls”. At that time the house was run by assassins who killed their guests in a brutal and violent way. They used a certain mechanism by which the ceiling of a specific room fell on the traveler while he was sleeping. They were then asphyxiated or crushed to death. In this way they kept their belongings.

The rest of the gang members had to dispose of the body. But with so many disappearances, they alerted the authorities, who arrested the gang members and found a large number of corpses in nearby places. The place was closed and after a long time a family moved in.

They began to see and hear strange things, such as doors moving, moans and screams at night, objects in different parts of the house, among others. They say that the house is truly ghostly, that certain ethereal bodies are observed and that no one can bear to live in it. 

In the city of the Canals, the Mysterious Venice:

The city of Venice also has a spooky, turbulent past, with many legends and even sea monsters. In Venice you can experience a very elegant and sophisticated Halloween, with costume celebrations and the typical Venetian masks. However, both its lagoon and its islands hide secrets that one cannot imagine, within such a fascinating world.

It is said that very close to the Rialto Bridge, on the Grand Canal, at certain times you can see the ghost of a man, called Fosco Loredan, holding in his hand the head of his wife that he himself decapitated because of jealousy; but this is not the only legend.

Also on the Grand Canal, at the level of the Dario Palace, is “The House that Kills”, where you can hear echoes of the screams of people who died in it violently. It is said that the successive owners died in strange circumstances.

Likewise, in one of its islands called Poveglia, there used to be a leper hospital; and all the people suffering from the plague were abandoned in this place to die. They say that it is also a place today of disturbances and sinister presences. 

In Parma, the Hospital of Colorno:

In the region of Emilia-Romagna is located this asylum called “The Hospital of Colorno”, in Parma, Italy. Its history lasted more than 1 century, where certain somewhat macabre methods were applied and, of course, of dubious psychiatric morality. It all began in 1873, when a terrible epidemic broke out in the city. Then, due to the lack of resources, it was decided to temporarily transfer this hospital.

The place chosen was the old facility of what had been the Ducal Palace, summer residence of the Duchess of Parma. Patients who lived in inhuman situations at that time, rooms crowded with patients who were tied to chairs, wore straitjackets, were electroshocked, locked up like animals and constantly watched by a supposedly qualified staff. 

But also nurses used wooden slats to force patients to stay in their beds, who were hired more for their strength than for their professionalism. The hospital had more than 1,200 patients and about 170 nurses. Patients arrived with minor diagnoses, prostitutes, alcoholics or simply vagrants, whose destiny was to spend the rest of their lives locked up in that prison.

In the early 90’s the place was closed and so many years of suffering, because those who at some point had gone to look for a solution did not find it, leaving wandering through its corridors all those tortured souls and that somehow the artist Herbert Baglione tried to represent with the paintings on the walls in the form of shadows. 

In Rome, The Ghost of Donna Olimpia:

The famous Pimpaccia, also known as Donna Olimpia Maidalchini Pamphilj, was a native of Viterbo, from a modest family, who married for the 2nd time at the age of 20 to Pamphilio Pamphilj, a man who was 27 years older than her; but he was a noble Roman and brother of the next Pope Innocent X. She loved to reign as if she were authentic, manipulating certain events and weaving political plots. 

But everyone knew her influence over the brother-in-law, making her the indispensable person to make his decisions. Politicians, merchants and ambassadors knew to deal with her first before moving on to the court of the Pontiff; and she was showered with gifts and gold of great value. She then became obsessed with so much wealth and power that she was despised by the people; to the point of being accused as the Pope’s mistress. 

By 1655 Innocent X died, but a few hours earlier Donna Olimpia filled 2 boxes with the gold coins, put them in a carriage and fled the city. Subsequently the successor Pope, Alexander VII, banished her to a small town north of Rome, but also giving her the opportunity to return the gold she had taken. It was not returned and Donna Olimpia died in 1657, 2 years later. 

From that moment it is said that a black carriage is seen going in flames passing between the Ponte Sixtus and Piazza Navona, with the Donna and the gold. That it approaches the victims and laughs chillingly, because it mocks them for the contempt shown by the people of Rome for their unbridled ambition. In the end, the carriage disappears in the waters of the Tiber, and is driven by the demons to hell.

In Palermo, Las Catacumbas Capuchinas:

The Catacombs of the Capuchins in Palermo are also very famous, but a bit creepy; as they also inspire a bit of fear. Walking through those corridors full of skeletons of the friars who passed away and are embalmed in the church of Santa Maria della Pace is not a very nice sight to say.

These catacombs were initially built with the idea of housing only the monks of that order, but over time it was hidden to other people. It is clear that the embalming procedure could only be performed by wealthy families; to the point that in this place there are 8000 skeletons dressed in their best clothes; covering all the walls. Some corridors are divided by gender and others by complete families. 

Posted in Europe, Italy.