Take a Spooky Halloween Tour

Forget cute orange pumpkins and pop-culture costumes. A truly eerie Halloween begins in a medieval crypt. Siena, along with 32 other spooky Italian cities, is introducing Halloween itineraries called "Trekking and Mysteries" (trekkingurbano.info) that take urban adventurers through graveyards, catacombs, crypts and medieval fortresses. The nighttime tours are available only Oct. 31, the eve of All Saint's Day, when Italians traditionally honor their dead.

Urban trekking is a growing trend in Italy; these itineraries require two to five hours and cover from one to eight kilometers, depending on the location. The Palermo tour explores underground grottoes and catacombs; the Bologna trek follows the steps of John Grisham's novel "The Broker."

But the capital of creepy is Siena, where the two-hour trek follows the city's darkest alleyways into the little-known Carnaio of Santa Maria Della Scala, where thousands of pilgrims who died along Via Francigena on their way from Canterbury to Rome were thrown into an old cistern. Bones date back to the 11th century. "Back then it was all about their spirits," says the Carnaio's curator, Enrico Toti. "Their bodies were not important, which is why they were simply thrown away." The tour ends with a gourmet feast at the Enoteca Italiana (www.enotecaitaliana.it). Stay at the Grand Hotel Continental (www.royaldemeure.com), in a 17th-century palazzo. There's nothing creepy about it.

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