And you thought this island looked charming, right?
It's impossible to deny that Isola la Gaiola is hopelessly cursed -- the island pairing has touched each of its owners with wreck and ruin since the early nineteenth century. These days, the two rocky islets and their lonely, crumbling villa float abandoned just about 30 yards off the coast of Naples, connected to each other by a solitary stone bridge.
Swim on over... if you dare.
Isola la Gaiola is actually comprised of two minor islands in the Gulf of Naples -- it's part of the Gaiola Underwater Park, which protects the gulf's rare wildlife and its ancient Roman ruins. On La Gaiola, visitors will find the remains of an ancient temple to Venus. The poet Virgil is said to have taught his students on the islands or in the remains of the Roman harbor, which are now sunken below the water.
A hermit named "The Wizard" first inhabited La Gaiola in the early 1800s. Afterward, the island's singular, solitary villa was built. A series of wealthy owners took control of the island, from a Swiss businessman to Fiat bigwig Gianni Agnelli to billionaire John Paul Getty. Each of them seemed to encounter misfortunes of varying degrees around the time they acquired the island.
Abandoned in fear, the island now sits alone, waiting for daredevil swimmers to approach it from the Naples shore.
You can also get to La Gaiola via a glass-bottom boat, snorkel or diving tour.
...and if you'd like to live there, we're pretty sure the mysterious villa is permanently up for grabs. Cursed or not, the island's cobblestone streets are adorably quaint, with a great view!