Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?

The uninhabited 17-acre island was once a dumping ground for plague victims and housed a mental hospital

It's in one of the most popular tourism locations in the world, located between Venice and Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, northern Italy. But Poveglia rarely sees any visitors.

The uninhabited 17-acre island, was once a dumping ground for dying plague victims. More recently it was home to a mental hospital run by a cruel doctor who performed lobotomies on patients with crude tools like hand drills, chisels, and hammers. It is said to be haunted by tens of thousands of tortured spirits.

And now it's up for sale.

The Italian government is offering the macabre location for sale in a bid to reduce the country’s  public debt.

Variously described as the 'island of madness' and 'hell', it is arguably the most haunted place on earth.

Any buyer would have to consider the island's chilling and stomach-churning history. During the 14th Century it was fought over by the the Venetians and the Genoese. It became a quarantine station in the 18th century before being sealed off and used to house plague victims.

Things got no better in the early 20th Century.

In 1922 the island became home to a mental hospital where a doctor experimented on patients with lobotomies. He later threw himself from the hospital tower after claiming he'd been driven mad by ghosts.

The island has remained closed to visitors in recent years with access strictly restricted by the Italian government.

It has become a draw for supernatural investigators searching for signs of the rumoured spirits, the most famous of which is a plague victim called Little Maria, who it is claimed stands crying looking out across the lagoon towards her home.

One of the visiting presenters of the Travel Channel series Ghost Adventures claimed to have been possessed on a visit to the island.

According to The Telegraph the plan for the decrepit building is to transform it into a luxury hotel, though a group of architects and planners have launched a campaign to buy the island in a bid to stop the further privatisation of the lagoon.