The Haunted Island

“Legend has it that Venetians avoid Poveglia

because it’s full of ghosts”


Poveglia is a hexagonal island of almost 7 hectares, which is located between the historic city center of Venice and Lido. It has been deserted since the late 1970s and legends have infiltrated among Venetians from when it served as the confinement station for victims of the Black Death Plague. It’s estimated that more than one million people died on the island over the centuries, earning the nickname “Island of the Dead”. In the last century it was the home to a controversial psychiatric hospital where savage experiments were carried out. Word has it that ghosts dwelling in this landmass possessed the institution’s director and forced him to jump from the asylum’s tower. Till this day, locals say that the bells still ring at midnight.

The Haunted Island explores the transgenerational pain inflicted on those accused of insanity, the misfits and the forgotten. By depicting the landscape of the island, Laia Abril uncovers the culture of fear towards death and collective guilt.