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Exploring Italy’s Ghost Towns: Abandoned Tales and Forgotten Stories

Italy is known for its rich history, ancient architecture, and charming villages. However, scattered throughout the country are several ghost towns that tell a different tale.​ These abandoned towns, once bustling with life, now stand as eerie reminders of the past. In this article, we will explore some of the most notable ghost towns in Italy and the stories behind their abandonment.


One of Italy’s most famous ghost towns is Poggioreale in Sicily, located in the Belice Valley.​ Once a vibrant town adorned with churches, historic buildings, and a theater, Poggioreale met its tragic fate in 1968 when a violent earthquake struck the region.​ The earthquake caused extensive damage to the town, forcing its inhabitants to abandon their homes and seek shelter elsewhere.​

Gioiosa Guardia

Gioiosa Guardia, situated on the Monte Meliuso in Sicily, is another prominent ghost town in Italy. It was abandoned in 1783 following a devastating earthquake.​ The town is famous for its numerous castles and fortresses built to defend against pirate attacks during the reign of Frederick of Aragon.​

Bussana Vecchia

Bussana Vecchia, once a thriving village, is now an artists’ colony.​ Located in Italy, this ghost town has gained fame for its rebirth as a haven for artists.​ The residents of Bussana Vecchia have fought a legal battle with the local government to preserve and continue living in this ruined city.​


Craco, located in the province of Matera in Basilicata, Southern Italy, is an iconic ghost town that has become a popular filming location for historic movies.​ The town was abandoned in the late 20th century due to faulty infrastructure, causing landslides and making it uninhabitable.​

Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita di Bagnoregio, also known as ″The Dying City,″ is a village located in the province of Viterbo in the Lazio region. This isolated town is inhabited by only a dozen people and can be reached only on foot via a bridge.​ Civita di Bagnoregio stands as a testament to the erosion of time and nature’s relentless impact on the landscape.​

Roghudi Vecchio

Roghudi Vecchio, situated in the hilly region of Calabria, was once home to one of Italy’s last Greek-speaking communities.​ The town’s abandonment has left behind a unique cultural heritage and a glimpse into a forgotten time.​

Preserving Italy’s Ghost Towns

Italy’s ghost towns are not just remnants of the past but also opportunities for preservation and revitalization.​ Authorities are now making efforts to bring back life to some of these abandoned towns, using funding from the European Union’s post-Covid recovery fund.​ Restoring and preserving these places not only helps maintain Italy’s unique cultural heritage but also offers a chance for economic development through tourism and artistic endeavors.​

In conclusion, Italy’s ghost towns carry a melancholic beauty and mysterious charm.​ Each one has a story to tell, filled with triumphs, tragedies, and the passage of time. Exploring these abandoned places can provide a unique and haunting experience, offering a glimpse into Italy’s rich history and the stories of its forgotten towns.​