The sprawling archeological site of Pompeii is a highlight of Italy‘s Campania region. Just off the Bay of Naples, it receives over 3 million visitors annually. This once-thriving Roman city was once home to upwards of 12,000 people before the disastrous volcanic eruption of 79 AD. This tragic eruption demolished the bustling city and left it covered in more than 3 meters of volcanic ash. A site like Pompeii is a place full of sadness, intrigue, and unique views of what Roman life was like. Because of its tragic past and historical significance, taking fragments of the ruins are forbidden. One Canadian woman tested this rule when she visited the abandoned city in 2005. She’s since claimed that the stolen artifacts are cursed as a result of Pompeii’s brutal downfall.
It all started fifteen years ago with a trip to Southern Italy
When the tourist visited the volcanic site at just 21 years old, she took more than just photos. She stole two white mosaic tiles, two pieces of an amphora vase, and a piece of ceramic wall. The tourist, known only as Nicole, says she’s suffered unbelievably bad luck in the fifteen years since she stole the artifacts and wished to end the curse. She has recently come clean about this to Italian authorities and has mailed the cursed artifacts back to Pompeii with an explanation of her mistake.
She writes in the letter, “I was young and stupid”… “I took a piece of history that has crystallized over time and that has a lot of negative energy in it. People have died in such a horrible way and I have taken pieces related to that land of destruction.”… “We are good people, and I don’t want to pass this curse on to my family or children. For this forgive me for the gesture made years ago, I learned my lesson. ”
Her string of unfortunate events in the years since her trip to the ancient city includes not one but two bouts of breast cancer, which resulted in a double mastectomy. Additionally, she claims the artifacts have brought extreme financial hardship to her family.
Nicole wasn’t the only one involved in the small scale artifact heist, however. The package also contained letters and small artifacts from another Canadian couple looking to end their misfortune. The couple who also visited in 2005 wrote, “We took them without thinking of the pain and suffering these poor souls experienced during the eruption of Vesuvius and their terrible death,” they wrote. “We are sorry, please forgive us for making this terrible choice. May their souls rest in peace.”
Many tourists have stolen relics from the deserted city and returned them later, having learned their lesson. Authorities have received so many stolen relics, in fact, that there’s a small exhibition dedicated to them. What do you think? Are these cursed artifacts of Pompeii due to the cities tragic end? We’d love to know your thoughts below.