A new sadistic holiday fad is taking hold in Italy in the strangest of places.
Tourists are now able to visit and sleep in places where death, pain
and anguish once ruled, as they sip a glass of delicious sparkling wine
and drool over haute cuisine.
Former dungeons and tribunals used by the Vatican to trial and burn
heretics and witches in the 1500s have been restyled into luxury hotels with spas, fine restaurants, wine tasting lessons and truffle hunts.
‘Inquisitors’ palaces’ as they are called are now cozy rural resorts
while guided tours, featuring actors dressed like cruel monks, are held
in underground torture rooms and prisoners’ cells in Umbria and Sicily.
“Umbria was the epicentre of the Holy Inquisition, each town has its
own underground tribunals and tourists are drawn here from everywhere,
word has reached as far as Polynesia”, guide Annamaria Nine told news.com.au.
The Holy Inquisition, Sant’Uffizio in Italian, has thus turned into a “sexy” moneymaker brand.
Back in the 16th Century, a branch of the Catholic Church set up
right after the Protestant Reform to prosecute, torture and kill anyone
who wasn’t a straight catholic — that is, anyone who thought differently
from mainstream Bible worshippers.
If you said the Earth was round instead of flat: death sentence.
Beautiful women with too much sex appeal were deemed witches and
burnt at the stake on public piazzas for everyone to see, while
innovative philosophers were beheaded as heretics for simply stating
that God’s love was “infinite” (thus not confined to the church’s
The only chance of getting away was to renounce whatever evil you had written or claimed, arguing you were insane.
In the nearby town of Spoleto, morbid tourists get to admire even the
primitive toilet seats of prisoners, just a simple hole in a stone
bench, imagining their inhumane living conditions.
In Palermo, Sicily, Palazzo Steri is a lavish historical building
boasting some great paintings by contemporary Italian artists, but in
the past hundreds of heretics were locked up in its rooms.
They’ve drawn portraits of themselves on the walls, images of sailing
boats and seagulls to lighten their stay and keep hope alive.
“A popular proverb goes: pain and pleasure are two sides of the same
coin,” Angelo Fraire, a Holy Inquisition fan who has toured most branded
locations, told news.com.au.
“People are voyeuristic by nature and love to admire something
disquieting but exciting at the same time. It’s part of the fascination