What started out as a peaceful monastic centre would become a hellhole. In 1468, Lazzaretto Nuovo (Italian for ‘new quarantine’) was converted into a plague stop for ships arriving in Venice from the east, and anyone suspected of carrying the plague was summarily left here to perish. The island was back in the headlines in 2005, when the skull of a woman was discovered with a brick shoved into her jaw. During the Middle Ages, this was one of the more reputable methods of killing vampires, whom it was believed were responsible for spreading the plague. Fun! Nowadays, you can visit the island from April till October and explore the detailed archives of its unusual history. Book ahead for a tour in English.