International Urban Legends: Italy

Today we stop for a pleasant weekend in Italy, the homeland of my people! If you find yourself in Lucca – in northern Italy’s Tuscany region – go find an area filled with olive trees. Chances are, you’ve found the family’s old estate. Say hello for me. But Italy isn’t just about art, the Vatican, olives, wine and good food. It has some pretty impressive urban legends too.

Ghosts of Pompeii

Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. and buried the city of Pompeii under ash and debris. In recent years the city has been excavated. The site was remarkably well preserved and many of the structures and other items like pottery remained intact.

Ghosts of a volcanic eruption in Italy

This poor dog’s last moments are caught in plaster when the volcano erupted and buried Pompeii. in 79 A.D.

In a macabre scene, where the bodies of the people and animals who died in Pompeii that day had fallen and eventually decayed, voids in the shape of the body formed in the hardened ash. Scientists were able to fill these voids with plaster and then remove the ash from the mold, revealing the moment of death for many of the victims.

Some had been caught sleeping, others trying to flee. The few that survived told of their belief that the gods had punished Pompeii for its wicked ways. In modern times, tourists visit the site, taking in the layout and the statues of the dead.

But it seems the dead are not resting in peace in Pompeii. Shadowy figures have been spotted, disembodied screams without a source have been heard and an unexplainable smell of sulfur is sometimes wafting in the air.

This haunting begins when the Cistercian monks lived here in the year 1123. People were sent here to receive judgement, get baptized, and more. The monks even introduced rice cultivation to the area! But, the monks had turned their backs on God and the Christian faith, instead turning to worshiping the devil.

The Haunted Abbey of Italy

The Lucedio Abbey is anything but a place of peace and it has been this was for hundreds of years.

Legends say the monks rejected God and began serving the Devil instead. They would kidnap villagers to be sacrificed to Satan. Of course, it wasn’t long before the Church in Rome got wind of what was going on and put a fiery end to the evil monks and shut the doors on the Abbey.

Entry afterword by anyone was forbidden. Legend says that the inquisitors weren’t so sure they had cleaned out all of the evil from the Abbey. They may have been right.

If you head for Italy today, you can tour the Abbey and some that have done so have reported some strange things. A pillar in the judgment room where the Monks met their fate will become wet for no reason, as if it were weeping at what it has beheld.

A fog will form for no reason in another area of the Abbey and then there is the burial crypt. It holds the earthly remains of the Abbotts who died in service there. Legend says this is where the evil that had overtaken the Abbey was placed so that it could never get loose again. Some Abbotts were placed in a circle around the crypt, forever standing guard.

You can see their mummified remains, still on station, today.

Have a great weekend. We;ll see you back here on Monday.

About the author

Richard Paolinelli