Rome never seems to sleep with streets full of people enjoying themselves both day and night.

But, choose your moment and venture into quieter areas after dark and you might see more than you bargained for with the secretive and mysterious lives of Romes' ghosts.

Whether you're brave enough ghost hunt on your own or decide to join a guided tour, we give you a headstart on these ghostly legends.

Beatrice Cenci (1577-1599)

Beatrice Cenci

Beatrice belonged to one of Rome's leading families but her father was abusive and a plot was made to kill him but she was caught, beheaded and buried in the church of San Pietro in Montorio.

Her story became legendary as a struggle against an arrogant aristocracy. Two hundred years later Napolean's troops entered Rome, smashed tombs in the church and played ball with her skull. No wonder she doesn't rest in peace!

Beatrice Cenci appears on the night of September 10th walking over the Castle Sant'Angelo bridge cradling her head in her hands.

Donna Olimpia Pamphili (1591-1657)

Donna Olimpia Pamphili

Donna Olimpia Pamphili or Pimpaccia was an avid social climber whose second husband was Pamphilio Phamphilj, brother to Pope Innocent X.

She worked her way into the Pope's confidence so well that anyone who wanted access to him had to bribe Donna Olimpia. Not surprisingly, she wasn't popular and when the Pope's death was imminent she knew she was in danger.

She packed chests with his gold and fled in her black carriage. She died of the plague two years later.

Now her ghost is seen on January 7 (the anniversary of the death of Pope Innocent), dashing over the Sisto Bridge in her black carriage.

Emperor Nero (37 AD - 68 AD)

Emperor Nero

Emperor Nero was blamed for the fire that destroyed Rome in 64 AD and for the murders of his mother, first wife and the philosopher, Seneca.

He turned from ruling, leaving the city in the hands of the murderous Tigellinus and was abandoned by the Senate and his guards.

He finally took his own life and was buried by the Porta del Popolo along with prostitutes and atheists.

In medieval times his ghost was seen constantly but after the dedication of a chapel to him in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, in 1099 it disappeared. But, you never know!

Julius Caesar (100 BC - 44 BC)

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar was the first true emperor of the Roman Empire, extending its dominion as far as Britain.

His death in the Senate on the Ides of March in 44 BCE is legendary. Caesar's ashes were interred in a lead ball above an obelisk in Heliopolis, now present day Cairo.

When this was returned to the Vatican City in 1585, Pope Sixtus V opened it to see if the remains were really inside.

Legend has it that this released the ghost of Caesar which now wanders the city, most often popping up near the Colosseum

Costanza Conti De Cupis (17th century)

Palazzo de Cupis

Costanza Conti De Cupis belonged to the aristocratic Conti family. After her marriage, she lived on the Via dell'Anima and was much admired, particularly for her beautiful hands which an artist modeled and displayed.

A friar saw this model and predicted that the hands' owner would soon lose them.

Frightened, Costanza had the model destroyed and became a recluse in her home spending her time sewing.

Unfortunately, a needle prick became infected and her hand had to be amputated. This didn't save her life and she died soon after of septicemia.

Take a moonlit stroll past the Palazzo de Cupis (in Piazza Navona) and you might catch an eerie glimpse of her hand on the window glass.

Count of Cagliostro (1743-1795)

Count of Cagliostro

The Count of Cagliostro was an occultist whose life was shrouded in mystery but it is known that he married his wife, Lorenza Seraphina Feliciani in 1768.

Fed up with her violent husband his wife betrayed him to the Inquisition as a means of escape.

Cagliostro died in the Fortress of San Leo near Rome but on moonlit nights his ghost returns to the Vicolo Delle Grotte in his search for Lorenza. Now a guesthouse, be careful if you stay here!

Mastro Titta (1779-1869)

Mastro Titta

Mastro Titta was Rome's official executioner for almost 70 years, putting 514 people to death.

Naturally unpopular with the citizens, he had to live most of his life secluded in the Vatican City.

If you're out and about in the early morning you might glimpse him in his red uniform wandering near the Castel Sant'Angelo. Beware if he offers you a pinch of snuff!

Targhini (1799-1825) and Montanari (1800-1825)

Angelo Targhini and Leonida Montanari

Angelo Targhini and Leonida Montanari were two members of the Carbonari, a secret 19th century Italian society that plotted revolution.

Betrayed, they were beheaded by Mastro Titta in Piazza del Popolo and buried near the Muro Torto.

Still restless, you might see them near the wall, carrying their heads as they stroll.

Messalina (17/20 AD - 48 AD)


Messalina was the third wife of Emperor Claudius and a powerful woman with a probably undeserved reputation for promiscuity.

Accused of conspiring against her husband she was executed and her name erased from the city.

She does not rest at peace and her ghost wanders from the Temple of Divine Claudius to the Gardens of Colle Oppio. It is said that she is looking for someone to love.

Luca de Marchettis (18th century)

Luca de Marchettis was a dissolute nobleman much taken to seducing innocent young girls and then killing them.

Wishing to rid himself of this blood lust, Luca underwent an exorcism and then committed suicide by jumping from his balcony in Via San Calepodio.

Locals avoid the street after dark as lights go on and off mysteriously. The thud of his suicide jump is heard and sometimes he even appears. The villa's ivy-covered appearance just adds to the atmosphere.


If our ghostly tales have succeeded in whetting your appetite and you're not too scared then why not visit Rome and discover the legends for yourself? And, of course, while you're in the city take in its attractions before the sun sets.

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