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Abandoned Italy – a book of buildings

3rd December 2020

Abandoned Italy – a book of buildings by Robin Brinaert

Abandoned Italy - a book of buildings

This book is an eye opener and joy to peruse, a fabulous trawl through the states of Northern Italy. It is thought provoking and although most edifices are in a terrible state, these buildings stand witness to periods of history and lives lived that we can only imagine.

The author set out on a quest to capture the derelict states of innumerable buildings, hidden away, and he keeps their locations under wraps. Certain buildings are simply referred to as, for example, Chiesa de MG or Palazzo di C but others have their full name. He warns against impromptu visits as permits are often needed but, gosh, what a range of buildings for a bit of urbexing.

So many seem to have been abandoned almost from one day to the next – there is one image where personal items are bulging from the drawers of a chest of drawers, others where beds are still made up (although it is clear that have been like that for a good long time). Beautiful frescos, peeling paint, marble, sweeping staircases and in many cases views to die for.

Clearly it must take a huge pot of money to restore and then run these rich and diverse buildings but surely there must be very wealthy people out there who would find personal satisfaction in renovating and preserving some of these buildings for future generations? Some, however, are beyond rescue, they have experienced fires, the roofs have disappeared, and foliage and mould have set about splintering the structures of others.

In Manicomio di Q he has captured the imposing staircase with a crow caught mid flight. Castello Non Plus Ultra, somewhere in Tuscany, is pictured on the cover and it is an absolute delight, awaiting actual renovation works to change it into a spa/golf course and hotel – it doesn’t feel, though, very imminent. Discoteca Medievale is a building emulating the architecture of the medieval period but built within the last few decades. And the story of Castello di R in Piedmont is quite something: twin castles, one was built in 1170 and in the early 20th Century an exact replica was built  by Count Lancelot, who expected to inherit the original medieval building. He didn’t. So he did the next best thing and created his own interpretation which strayed little from the original: it is however, deteriorating fast (no indication whether the original castello is still inhabited or in good shape – I would love to know if the author happens to see this?)

But the overarching question is why have they each been abandoned, what is the individual story behind each building? There are sadly no answers.

This is a fascinating and different look at this particular Italian legacy.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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