While you might associate ghost towns with the American west, Italy too has more than its fair share of abandoned towns and villages. One reason why they end up being abandoned is earthquakes, the other is their isolation.
The Italian region of Abruzzo, for example, has a number of ghost towns, many of which certainly look as if they could be brought back to life with a little tender loving restoration combined with considerable amounts of hard cash.
Here’s a short presentations of five of Abruzzo’s ghost towns, or perhaps, ghost villages would be more appropriate: Valle Piola, Martese, Valle Pezzata, Piano Maggiore and Stivigliano.
Valle Piola was, and perhaps still is, for sale. A group known as the Valle Piola Rebirth Team has been trying to find a buyer, though one does not appear to have been found so far.
The asking price for Valle Piola is around £500,000 UKP or around €550,000, and it looks as if it is still on the market. Around the same amount would probably need to be spent to put the place to rights as a boutique hotel, perhaps, or even as a group of holiday homes for rent. Only the ambitious need apply. By the way, Valle Piola is apparently haunted – which is appropriate for a ghost town!
As for Martese, there’s not much information about it, so it looks as if attempts to sell it got nowhere, alas. In 2008, Valle Pezzata, on the other hand, appeared to have been taken over by latter-day hippies, though by 2011 the Valle Pezzata hippy colony seemed to have become one single hermit, who has withdrawn from the hustle and bustle of modern life. It sounds as if the hermit is no longer in residence though.
Piano Maggiore despite it’s rather lovely location, still appears to be abandoned, as indeed does Stivigliano. Perhaps the Landmark Trust is interested in doing one of these places up.
Abruzzo has other ghost towns too.
I’ll take another look at more of Italy’s ghost towns and villages next week.
Valle Piola photo by Lucio De Marcellis.