The romance of Italy is truly undeniable, the streets are steeped in the rich history of the Roman empire and the classic architecture is some of the greatest examples of human engineering in the modern world.

Italy is home to some of Europe’s most visited museums and galleries; however, perhaps unknown to many, it also boasts some of the continents quirkiest museums.

So if you’re a fan of the macabre, weird and unsettling, strap in as we take you through a few of our recommendations, both in busy cities and off-the-beaten-track!

The Museum of Criminology - Rome

A visit here is cheap and cheerful and takes about 45 minutes to an hour to view. It is housed in a former juvenile penitentiary and run by the Ministry of Justice and essentially offers a look into the history of crime and punishment in Italy from the 1800s to present day. Prepare to observe a darkly fascinating array of torture instruments and weapons, get to know some prolific serial killers and take a look at seized contraband from the last 200 years- An eclectic collection of artifacts dedicated to the Italian justice system.

Rome’s Catacombs and Capuchin Crypts

There is a huge collection of catacombs and capuchin crypts across Italy for your viewing pleasure, however, Rome offers a variety of guided tours hosted by an expert art historian. Group sizes are small and intimate; the tour takes around 3 hours and will offer you a new perspective of the city as you explore Rome off-the-beaten-path.

One of the sites you will find yourself at is underneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, where the chapels hide the remains of more than 3,500 bodies. Be prepared for skulls, bones and other interesting and mysterious artifacts which will transport you back in history to relive the burial methods of ancient Rome.

Museum of the Mummies of Ferentillo (Umbria)

So spooky but so satisfying! Umbria is the central Italian region known for its medieval hill towns, local cuisine and excellent wine. But hidden away in this tiny village in the South of the region lies a hidden gem, where you will discover the incredible results of natural mummification. This process was triggered by a specific combination of a unique soil and air flow in the chamber under the village’s local church, where so many bodies have been buried over the centuries.

The underground chamber is now a museum displaying some of the most well-preserved corpses which have been preserved in shrines and cases. Your visit can also be accompanied by a tour guide who will offer the backstories to these incredible mummies- Prepare to feel a variety of emotions with this one, from disgust to empathy.

And if you like ghosts, here are a few ‘supposedly haunted locations for your list:

  • Evil Tower- Castello di Poppi is a beautiful 12th century castle and supposedly wandered by the spirit of a beautiful Italian maid who was executed in the tower. You can explore the entire castle and if you’re a castle junkie, you’ll love this.
  • Castello di Montebello is located in the hamlet of Rimini where visitors claim to hear the sounds of a child's laugh and also cries.
  • Casa delle anime (Voltri, Genoa) is a house which was inhabited by a family in the Middle Ages who took in tired and hungry travellers. However, once they entered, they never left. The house has become a favourite haunt of ghost-hunters, with multiple strange sightings reported.

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