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Dark Rome Uncovers the Spooky Side of Rome and Florence

by Felicity Long

Nov 14, 2019

Dark Rome

Destinations / Europe

Even families who visited Italy before might not be aware of its spookier side — from haunted bridges to creepy crypts. Dark Rome, a European day tour operator, will help visitors unlock some of Rome and Florence’s most intriguing mysteries.


Bring your courage as you explore the Eternal City at night via the Ghost, Mysteries and Legends of Rome Night Walking Tour. If you think about it, a city as old as Rome is bound to have some stories to tell, some more believable than others, and on this tour English-speaking guides will share some of these mysteries with you. Of course, whether you believe them is up to you, and, fair warning — some of the sites you visit are gristly and are not for the faint of heart.


Rome, Capuchin monk and skulls. Photo: Dark Rome


On the well-traveled Ponte Sisto, for example, which serves as a popular Instagram spot for the romantically inclined by day, supposedly harbors the ghost of Donna Olimpia Maidalchini Pamphilj, otherwise known as the phantom of Olimpia, whose black carriage and four black horses are said to traverse the bridge at midnight.


Florence, Ponte Vecchio night. Photo: Dark Rome


The tour also includes a visit to the home of a mass murderer and to Campo de’ Fiori, the piazza where heretics were once burned alive. Other sites include Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, Piazza Farnese, Via Giulia, Via del Governo Vecchio and the exterior of the Castel Sant’Angelo.


If going underground doesn’t scare you, dare to embark on the Crypts and Catacombs Tour, the highlight of which is the so-called Bone Chapel, more formerly known as the Capuchin Crypt, which contains the skeletal remains of more than 4,000 monks. The tour also takes in the Christian underground catacombs of Rome and the Basilica of San Clemente.


Rome, Santa Cecilia Photo: Dark Rome


Families who have Florence on their itinerary can join a Dark Rome Ghosts, Mysteries and Legends of Florence Night Tour, which takes you back before the city’s glorious rebirth in the Renaissance to the darker Middle Ages, when local residents were so fearful of intruders they kept pots of boiling oil on hand to protect their homes. You will also visit the Palazzo di Bianca Cappello, a palace built by Francesco I de’ Medici and his wife, Bianca Cappello, both of whom died mysteriously, and conveniently, and may have been the victims of arsenic poisoning by a jealous would-be heir.


Florence, Piazza Signoria at Night. Photo: Dark Rome


Some of the city’s most famous sites, like the Piazza Signoria and Ponte Vecchio, are included on the tour, but guides will share spooky stories about both locations that aren’t usually part of a regular tour.


All Dark Rome tours are limited in size and include skip-the-line and exclusive after-hours access to popular sites.


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