I love Halloween. I know that’s not a particularly uncommon opinion, but still, it’s one of my all time favorite days of the year. So, when I slowly realized throughout the month of October that Halloween was not a big deal in Rome, I was disappointed to say the least. Although people in Rome know what Halloween is and there are a few spooky events, it’s not nearly as celebrated as it is in America. Trick or treating doesn’t exist. People don’t dress up. And, arguably most importantly, there’s no discount candy come November 1st.
The oddest part of all of this was realizing I had barely registered the season shifting from summer to fall. Without the decorations, talk, and excitement of Halloween, October didn’t feel like October, it just felt like a continuation of September. As October 31st got closer and closer, I attempted to bring some Halloween spirit to Rome through tracking down some silly decorations and watching some of my favorite Halloween films (namely, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and a smattering of horror movies). Still, it felt like something was missing.
However, on the eve of October 31st, a Halloween miracle occurred. A student at Temple Rome posted about a Roman ghost tour! Obviously, I signed up immediately. Below are my two favorite stories from the evening.
The Haunted Apartment – Located on the third floor of the building in via del Governo Vecchio 57, there stands an apartment which is said to be possessed by a poltergeist. Reports in 1861 by a couple who lived there stated that loud noises occurred frequently, objects flew around the room, and things smashed into the walls. These reports were verified by witnesses, including police officers, and the couple moved out shortly after moving in. No explanation has even been given for why any of this paranormal activity occurred. Apparently, it’s very hard to find renters for this apartment now.
The Ominous Omnibus – This was perhaps my favorite story of the night. Supposedly, one day a man was walking along the street and saw an omnibus (old tram) about to hit an old woman. He managed to push the woman out of the way, saving her. Following this, the woman was incredibly grateful and invited him up to her apartment to give him coffee as a thanks. He gratefully accepted and spent the morning in the apartment with this elderly woman and her sister. The next couple of days when the man approached the apartment, the windows were boarded up. Eventually, his curiosity got the best of him and he went to speak with the man who worked at the desk of the apartment building. Upon asking if he knew anything about the women, the desk worker looked at the man in shock and stated that the two women he was describing had died 2 years ago. One had been hit by an omnibus and the other died of a heart attack at the same exact time. However, the two men decided to go up to the apartment out of their shared curiosity for this odd story and found 3 half empty coffee cups sitting on the kitchen table.
I couldn’t imagine a better way to spend the night before Halloween than walking around Rome, exploring new places and discovering stories about the ghosts of Rome’s past. Although I didn’t catch a glimpse of any of the ghosts, the tour was the perfect amount of spooky to remind me of the Halloween spirit I adore so much!