Monthly Archives: February 2011

Poggioreale, Trapani, Italy

by Barbara Sambri , a view of Poggioreale Square, Trapani, Italy

Poggioreale is one of the most shocking places you’ll probably ever see in your life! It is a ghost town that sits in the center of western Sicily: it used to be a nice place since during the night between the 14th and 15th of January 1968 an earthquake completely devastated the area know as Valle del Belice (Belice Valley). Some small villages were severely devastated, among them Gibellina (we talked about it a few days ago), Salaparuta, Montevago and Poggioreale were so damaged that have been rebuilt from scratch in another place.

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Psychiatric hospital “Osservanza”, Imola, Italy


by Davide Angeli, a view of Psychiatric hospital “Osservanza”, Imola, Italy

The Observance asylum was built in 1890, because of the growing need for beds, that the existing Central asylum was not able to handle. At the time Luigi Lolli (Riolo Terme Imola 1819-1896), founder and director of the existing asylum, decided to build a decentralized structure that consisted of independent pavilions, had a capacity of about 1000 patients and that covered, with the agricultural colony, an area of approximately 75,000 square meters. The design model was taken from the Academy of Sciences in Paris, dating back to 1788, but still considered the most appropriate and perfect example.

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Ex Slaughterhouse, Imola, Italy

by Daniela Galvani, a view of Ex Macello, Imola, Italy

It’s the first property that will be sold by the municipality, but is also the one with the richest history. The ex-slaughterhouse was derived in part from the walls of an old eighteenth-century theater, designed by the architect Cosimo Morelli. The building was constructed thanks to 16 citizens, part of the Imola’s noble families (hence the original name, Theater of Associated Knights) who in 1774 took over the financial burden of the construction works.
The theater was inaugurated on the 27th July 1782 and soon became famous for the bold architectural solutions studied by Morelli and the decorations of Antonio and Alessandro Della Nave Villa, who painted the ceiling and floor. Unfortunately, it had short life: on the 5th February 1797 it was destroyed, perhaps for a fire set by a theater company unsatisfied for engagement.
Later the building was partially rebuilt and it was used as a stable, until the acquisition by the City of Imola, that in 1864 converted it into the slaughterhouse. The building has remained in operation until 1978.

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Il Cretto, Gibellina, Trapani, Italy

by Barbara Sambri , a view of Il Cretto of Gibellina, Trapani, Italy

Gibellina is a small city of central Sicily, in the Province of Trapani, that was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1968, known also as the Belice Valley’s earthquake.
The new city, Gibellina Nuova, was rebuilt some 20 km distant from the old one and it was designed by many of the most prominent artists and architects in Italy, even though the final result is a collection of different art and architectural pieces, with little relation to each other or to the local architecture.
Ruderi di Gibellina (as the ruins of the city are now referred to) remained just as it was after the earthquake, a ghost-town in the middle of nowhere.
The most remarkable part of the old city is an art piece from artist Alberto Burri, who preferred to work here instead of the new Gibellina and covered the entirety of the ruins with white concrete, preserving the shape of the buildings and the streetscape: he’s art piece is known as “Il Cretto”, which in italian means “the crack”, and, as you can see both from the picture above and from the satellite map below, it’s a really impressive monument!


  • Gibellina page from Wikipedia
  • Il Cretto by Burri from Archidose
  • by Barbara Sambri , a view of ruderi di Gibellina, Trapani, Italy

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Ex Furnace, Campotto in Ferrara, Italy

by Davide Angeli, a view of Ex Furnace, Campotto in Ferrara, Italy

Not so far away from the natural Oasi of Campotto Valleys, there is an abandoned furnace, built in 1916.
The impressive artifact is crumbling, and has even suffered some acts of vandalism. Among the different restoration projects proposed over the years, even the one from the Argenta municipality, a new wellness center, is still waiting.

[Video] ex furnace Worker

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Ex Nobel-Blaschim, Lesmo, Monza e Brianza, Italy

by Borlup , a view of ex Nobel-Blaschim (MB), Italy

This skeleton of iron and asbestos is the ex Nobel-Blaschim, a chemical company (Blaschim was a textile company, acquired by the chemical company Nobel) that closed 20 years ago and remained there during all this time, like a sleeping giant, waiting for a green light by the province for its renovation.
Also the property, the company “Finalfa”, is waiting, even though the recovery plan has been approved and the land reclamations have been continued for more than 10 years. The destination for the new area is residential. In the area of 30 thousand square meters will rise 60 thousand cubic meters. A series of buildings for a total of 250 apartments, of which 10 percent will be subsidized housing.
Only one constraint has been put to recovery, the reconstruction of the original factory facade: the entrance arch, which is considered a piece of industrial archeology, and the spinning mill, that is the courtyards with arcades where there will be apartments for the public administration.

Source: [ITA] article from

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São Domingos Mine, Mértola, Portugal

by Emanuele Galli, a view of the abandoned mine in São Domingos, Mértola, Portugal

The São Domingos Mine is a deserted open-pit mine in São Domingos (Mértola), in the Alentejo region, Portugal. This site is one of the volcanogenic massive sulfide ore deposits in the Iberian Pyrite Belt, that extends from the southern Portugal into Spain.
The mining started many centuries ago, at the age of Romans, then had a brake until mid 19th century, as the international demand for copper grew during the Industrial Revolution. After the assignation of the mining concession in 1859 to the English mining company Mason and Barry, some important infrastructural work have been realized in the area, including an inland port and a railway. After a century of extractions, the mine eventually closed in 1966 due to mineral depletion.
Since closure the mine attracts tourists. Many old mine buildings and the open-cast pit remain abandoned, even though the old mining company headquarters has been converted into an hotel.

source: Sao Domingo page from Wikipedia

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Chiesa di San Felice e San Niccolò, Bologna, Italy

by Andrea Venturini, a view of Chiesa di San Felice e San Niccolò, Bologna, Italy

This incredible place is the (ex) church of San Felice and San Niccolò in via San Felice at the corner with via dell’Abbadia.
Walking down the street you can’t notice nothing but a dirty and dilapidated old portal and some sheets that cover the external stuccoes, but the beauty is hidden inside.
You can only unveil the mystery from the upper floors of the opposite building, from which you can see the church that is completely uncovered, probably because of a bombardment during WWII: the inner structure became some sort of beautiful arena / open-air theater, now used as a nest for birds. Have a look to the map below, the satellite view it’s really amazing!!

Below is the description on the plaque next to the portal:

“Church of San Felice and San Niccolò
Dates back to the XII century. It was rebuilt by Peter Fiorini in 1576 and renovated in 1753. From the original building only the facade remains, on which was placed an iron cross on the marble pillar, moved here from the road in 1732 (the cross is now kept in the church of Santa Maria of Charity). ”

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Villa Milena, Imola, Italy

by Laura Brialdi , a view of Villa Milena, Imola, Italy

The villa was originally donated to the parish of San Cassiano in Imola: a guardians family lived there until 5 years ago, then the priest changed and so many things have changed with it…
Inside the house, there is a small chapel, the guardians said weekly a mass and the rosary during the month of May; now no one is cured of this tradition, which was a specific condition for the donation.
Afterwards, the owners were interest to sell the villa, however, they were not authorized to do so, because the will that assigned them the villa forbade it.
It’s a pity, the guardians family had to move and leave a villa of ’700 to a slowly decay. As it appears from the plans the villa is not suitable for nothing other than home or office. Furthermore, walls and ceilings are painted and in the hands of any architect it could become a beautiful studio! F.G

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The Monster, Casalecchio, Bologna, Italy

by Giacomo Beccari , a view of The Monster of Casalecchio, Bologna, Italy

This building was conceived in 1955 to be a boarding school, becoming over the years a place abandoned to itself. The building is four floors high, has many laboratories, a chapel, several offices and administrative structures. It was assigned to the architect Glauco Gresleri by the religious order of the Padri Passionisti to realize a boarding school with a professional teaching focus, taking advantage of the law on training for the building work: this role is well reflected by the distribution of interior spaces.
An ambitious project that was stopped after the construction of the first two lots in the mid 60′s. Since then the building has been abandoned to itself, as it is today, waiting for a redevelopment project.

by Giacomo Beccari , a view of The Monster of Casalecchio, Bologna, Italy

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