Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Cursed Island of Gaiola Italy

Gaiola Island (Isola della Gaiola in Italian) is one of the tiny islands of Naples, Italy, situated in the Gulf of Naples in the heart of Gaiola Underwater Park, a protected region of about 42 hectares.This beautiful island consists of two stunning and serene islets situated on the southern border of Posillipo and very close to the coastline approximately 30 meters away. The island is easy to reach, whereas one of the islet has a solitary villa, the other is uninhabited. A little bridge connects the two islets, which are alienated by just a few meters. Moreover; the bridge is very tapered and looks like a natural arch connecting the two islets.

The island takes its name from the cavities that originating from the Latin cavea, "little cave", and then through the dialect "Caviola". Originally, the tiny island was famous as Euplea, protector of safe navigation, and was the site of a tiny temple dedicated to Venus.There are also numerous other ruins from the time of the Romans. In fact, below the islets in the water are several Roman structures that are now the home of marine creatures. A few think that the poet Virgil, regarded as a magician, taught here at the ruins. 

In the early 19th century, the island was mainly inhabited by a hermit famous as "The Wizard". Soon after, the island saw the construction of the villa that occupies it today and which was, at one time, owned by Norman Douglas, author of Land of the Siren. The island probably seems as a perfect post-retirement getaway, although the locals think the island to be cursed, a reputation that came about because of the incessant premature death of its owners. 

The series of bad luck happening sometime around the 1920s, when the Swiss owner named Hans Braun, was found murdered and wrapped in a rug. And after a short while his wife drowned in the sea.
The next owner was German Otto Grunback, who died of a heart attack while on the island.  A same 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, the head of Fiat, whose only son committed suicide. After his son's premature death Gianni had started grooming his nephew Umberto Agnelli to run Fiat, but Umberto also died of uncommon cancer at the young age of 33.  Therefore another owner, the multi-billionaire Paul Getty, after buying the island, had his grandson kidnapped. The island’s last owner Gianpasquale Grappone was jailed when his insurance company failed. Now days, the villa is uninhabited and abandoned.

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