This beautiful little island in Naples, Italy might seem like the perfect little place to retire to, enjoying the relaxed Mediterranean life and nice weather in your later years. Well, that’s if you don’t talk to the locals first, since they believe Gaiola Island has a horrible curse on it, causing its owners to either die prematurely or be ruined financially.
The legend of it being cursed came about because of the frequent premature deaths of many of the island’s owners. Starting back in the 1920s when it belonged to a Swiss man named Hans Braun.
After living on the island for some years Hans was found dead, wrapped in a rug, and if that wasn’t bad enough his wife drowned in the sea a few months later.
The legend of Gaiola Island being cursed was only beginning with their deaths, with many more to follow.
The next owner was the German Otto Grunback, who died of a heart attack while staying in the villa.
A similar fate befell the pharmaceutical industrialist Maurice-Yves Sandoz, who committed suicide in a mental hospital in Switzerland.
Its subsequent owner, a German steel industrialist, Baron Karl Paul Langheim, was dragged to economic ruin by wild living.
The island has also belonged to Gianni Agnelli, who suffered the deaths of many relatives, and to Paul Getty, who endured the kidnapping of a grandson.
The last private owner of the island was Gianpasquale Grappone, who was jailed. Newspapers talked again about the “Gaiola Malediction” (Gaiola curse) in 2009, after the murder of Franco Ambrosio and his wife Giovanna Sacco, who owned a villa opposite the island.
All these stories of a curse haven’t stopped thousands of tourists going to the island every year, mostly to jump off the cliffs into the sea. However, if I was visiting a supposed cursed island, I’d probably not cross a sketchy looking bridge like some of the people in these photos.