Saturday, October 08, 2016

Inside the torture rooms used by the Vatican to trial and burn witches that have now been transformed into luxury hotels

A door to a tribunal room where witches were trialledA 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

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 preaching).

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

“People are voyeuristic by nature and love to admire something disquieting but exciting at the same time. It’s part of the fascination of evil.”

No comments: