With a history stretching over centuries, it comes as no surprise that Venice has seen countless sinister deeds and bloody ends. “Why is Venice’s past so dark?” Cristina asks. “[Consider that] on March 25th, 2021, Venice kicked off celebrations for the 1,600th anniversary of its founding. If these walls could talk, they would have much to say about the many people who have lived in each palazzo ... so many stories! There is still the energy of our past.”
Once one of the most powerful maritime republics in the world, Venice was the hub of a massive trading empire for almost a thousand years. The city was teeming with ship captains and sailors, traders, merchants, and moneylenders—along with thieves, assassins, gamblers, and other dwellers of the city’s underworld who left behind a trail of crime that became the stuff of legends. Many Venetians believe that the ghosts of their countless victims still roam the city today, and Cristina can list the most ghastly crimes off the top of her head.
“There are notorious murderers like the butcher Biagio de Carnio, the first serial killer in Venice,” she says. “Then there’s the story of the drowned man and the severed head, the murder of a woman whose husband cut off her head out of jealousy and then committed suicide, the murder of a very young woman that was put into a well, the lady dressed in white ….”