Colobraro – Colobraro, Italy - Atlas Obscura


Colobraro, Italy

Just saying the name of this town out loud is said to bring bad luck. 


This bucolic town is nestled atop a bed of rolling green hills. Viewing the settlement from a distance reveals a postcard-perfect view of this sliver of Italy’s countryside. But as many Italians are aware, there are dark forces festering within the picturesque scene.

Locals refer to Colobraro as “That Town” (Chillu Paese in the local dialect) because saying its name is believed to bring bad luck. As such, the town is also known as the “town of misfortune.”

It’s said the curse is as old as the village itself. But it wasn’t until the 20th century that the evil was fully awakened, thanks to a lawyer and a witch.

The lawyer, who never lost a case, once exclaimed in court that if his statements were false, the room’s chandelier would come crashing down. And sure enough, crash down it did, earning the town a reputation as a place of bad omens.

Around this same time, townspeople and those from neighboring villages began to believe that some of That Town’s women were actually witches who practiced dark magic. In the 1950s, people especially feared La Cattre, a wrinkled elderly woman many claimed was a sorceress. Anthropologists then began visiting the town to investigate its mysteries, but according to local lore they, too, soon fell victim to freak accidents and illnesses.

The people of That Town grew to accept their home’s reputation as an unlucky village and, rather than dwelling on their misfortune, turned it into a source of tourism. Now, every summer, thousands of people come to revel in the town’s sinister glory. During the celebrations, villagers dress as witches, wizards, and various forms of supernatural beings and perform plays, and tourists are encouraged to bring protective amulets to ward off any evil forces prowling the streets.

Know Before You Go

That Town is actually a beautiful village between the mountains of Basilicata. It's definitely worth a visit—just be sure to never say its name out loud! The town is best visited with your own private transportation.

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