Nestled in the ethereal landscape of rugged mountain ranges, lush forests and ancient villages of Southern Italy, there is a town that holds a sinister secret.

With stories of deformed births, suspicious car accidents and freaky natural disasters, the hilltop town in Italy's southern region of Basilicata, Colobraro, is believed to be so badly cursed by Italians that they won't even speak its name.

Those from neighbouring towns simply refer to Colobraro as "chillu paese", which means "that village" in the local dialect, and are quick to touch wood when they hear the name as a good-luck charm to drive away any bad luck, reports

The fear of the town's bad omen runs so deep that police won't even punish visitors who speed down Colobraro's mazelike roads out of fear of being cursed.


The story of the curse is as old as the ancient town itself, linked to the origin of its name "coluber," meaning "serpent" in Latin, an animal believed to symbolise evil in mythology.

But the notoriety of the legend began during the first decades of the 20th century, sparked by a story about an overzealous lawyer from the town, Biagio Virgilio — who famously had never lost case — exclaiming in court one day: "If what I say is false, may this chandelier come down".

The chandelier fell, and Virgilio became synonymous with bad omens, casting a wicked hex upon the town.

In addition to the chandelier myth, tales of witches, wizards and "masciare" — women throughout Southern Italy in the 1950s who were believed to be sorceresses with magical abilities — were passed down through generations.

An elderly Colobraro masciare with deep wrinkles got the reputation of being a black witch and the town became known for being a witches' lair.

The superstition was reinforced when tales of newborns with two hearts and three lungs, sudden strange landslides and freaky car accidents were told in the following decades.

However, the curse is said to affect only visitors to the town.

"Of course, considering my ancestry I am immune to the jinx," local Elena di Napoli told The Italian Tribune.


"These spooky things only happen to people who come here for the first time in their lives and who believe in the omen."

For other residents however, it's all just fairytales.

"Don Biagio Virgilio? Of course, I do remember him! The misfortune? Folks made it up. He didn't bring bad luck. When something happens to some outsider with their cars, maybe they get stranded or a flat tyre or the engine breaks down, they blame it on the village," Colobraro resident Matteo told the BBC.

But that doesn't stop locals from capitalising on the legends.

In 2011, Colobraro residents organised an annual street show Dream Of A Night … In That Village to celebrate its eerie history and spook visitors.

Every August, tourists travel to "that village" to watch a play starring witches, masciare, werewolves and other creepy characters that takes place along the streets and squares.

But don't be too worried — visitors are given an amulet to protect themselves against the hex.