Italy– Ghost Towns
There are up to twenty thousand ghost towns all over Italy, yes, it's an incredible number. It is due to frequent earthquakes and landslides, and thus unsatisfactory conditions for agriculture and life. Today we will visit the most famous depopulated cities and learn about their past and present.
We will be the first to visit Craco in the southern Italian Basilicata, it was abandoned precisely because of the frequent earthquakes. The first mention of Craca was already in 1060, when the city belonged to Archbishop Arnaldo. It was built on a rocky hill with lots of houses around, like many other Italian medieval towns. At the end of the 19th century, it had more than 2,000 inhabitants, but then came the problems. Before the First World War, more than half of the population left the city. However, the inhabitants left it in 1963, some emigrated to the USA and others founded a new city nearby. Today, cultural events take place here and the scenery of the city is used mainly by film production.
Another mysterious ghost town where time stood still is in northern Italian Liguria and is called Bussana Vecchia. This time, however, it is an example of a story with a relatively happy ending. The earthquakes destroyed the buildings in 1887 and the earthquake was supposed to be one of the first to be recorded by a seismograph. In the early 1960s, a group of artists moved into the damaged buildings. They gradually built art workshops that serve as attractions for tourists.
The Sicilian town of Poggioreale has a similar fate as Craco. After a strong earthquake, it is abandoned and families whose ancestors have lived in the city for generations have been forced to find a new home. Some moved to the new Poggioreale just a few kilometers away and others went straight overseas. The city is nicknamed "Modern Pompeii" by the locals. Despite the devastating earthquake, most of the houses remained well preserved. Girolamo Cangelosi, the mayor of the new Poggioreale, which was built down in the valley after the earthquake, has a plan to restore the city to its former splendor. He doesn't just let dreams drift. He has already started preparing concrete plans and has also addressed architects. The only thing missing so far is funding. He also seeks help from the natives and their families. Cangelosi's goal is to make Poggioreale a holiday destination with craft shops, restaurants, bars and guesthouses. According to him, the surrounding landscape has not lost any of its charm, it is still full of olive groves and meadows on which sheep graze. According to him, the nearby hills are great for hiking or cycling.
Every deserted place touches you somehow, because at every step you see the remains of specific people with their specific lives. So when you are Italy and near it, just make a stop.
GPS: Craco 40°22'41.8"N 16°26'25.3"E
Text: Veronika Kocmanová
Photos: Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons: Samuele, Michael Schmalenstroer, Michael Schmalenstroer (2), Davide Mauro
Alberobello in the province of Bari is our third stop.
We visit Ancona today, the home of about 100 thousand. You may find it in central Italia on the Adriatic coast. It have become known among tourists quite recently. People mostly reach it by ferry when traveling from Croatia or Greece to see some of local attractions.
Arco is a paradise for climbers in Italy. There are more than 20 climbing areas of varying difficulties and lengths. Everybody, boulders or fans of ferratas, will love the place. The town is a very pleasant place. Its picturesque town center has many restaurants and also climbers’ stores. A castle is the main landmark of Arco. It guards the town from the heights.
Arezzo is located mere 80 kilometers south of Florence. Yet this one is a destination often overlooked by tourists.
Bari is the capital of the Apulian region. It is situated on the Adriatic coast. It is the second largest city in southern Italy right next to Naples. Getting to Bari is quite fast. It takes about an hour and a half to fly from Prague.
Upon night at Bari, we were headed to Polignano a Mare. The best means of transport to get there is train. It rides along the coastline every half an hour. Tickets are available at ticket machines at train stations and you can even pay by card. You will ride for 30 minutes.
Summer is in full swing. We take you to a place which is great for families. A serene location, sandy beach, shallow coastline…
Cinque Terre is national park and listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will fall in love with this Italian region. There are not monumental landmarks of antiquity or Middle-Ages as you may see in Rome, Bologna or Pisa. Yet still local atmosphere is splendid. Cinque Terre is an area consisting of five beautiful towns (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare). Not long ago (in the 1960s), tourists almost didn't know about them. Even if they did, it would be very difficult to reach them, i.e. only by boat. Today, you may travel there by car but don't expect your ride to be an easy one.
Today, we take you to one of the oldest towns in Italy. Its history dates back to the mysterious Etruscan civilization. Later it would became a Roman colony and it would get under Florintian rule, as many other towns in Tuscany. Piazza della Republica is the heart of the town with its opulent Palazzo del Popolo and Palazzo Comunale.
The Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence is one of the most remarkable works of Western architecture. It also includes the New Baptism, the Old Communion, the Princely Chapel and the Medici Library. In addition to their architectural importance, these buildings also contain outstanding artistic treasures.
Sometimes I get the impression that this part of Italy is a bit forgotten, and yet it is so beautiful. Calabria is located in the south of the Apennine Peninsula and is known mainly for its long beaches, beautiful landscape, national parks, nature and great cuisine.
Do you plan to spend your holidays in Italy this summer? How about at least once trying to swap the sea for a lake. I promise that you will not regret this decision.
ertainly you know the world-famous dried Prosciutto di Parma ham. We bite into these thin slices and set out on a journey through the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. Our goal was to manufacture this specialty. Together, today, we look behind the scenes of prosciutto - the goodness that the world has fallen in love with.
Lucca is a town of many lords in the past – be it Romans, Ostrogoths, Lombardians, Franks, or once powerful Florence, or Napoleon who made the town a gift to his sister.
90 kilometers westwards from Florence there is the city of Livorno. Home to 160 thousand is an interesting place to spend a vacation at.
Milan is the second largest city in Italy and is known as the capital of fashion, sports, art, and business. We come here to complete our story about one of the most famous music composers ever - Giuseppe Verdi.
When you visit Italy, you have to taste some of the local delicious cuisine. But as food art also is an integral part of the soul of this country. Italians live with music, and the visit to the Apennine Peninsula can‘t not go without a seeing musical performance. And what is more than the world-famous La Scala opera house?
The romantic town of Montepulciano has saved its medieval looks, great pleasure for anyone who loves history. However, it is not known for history only for it is great producer of pork, cheese, honey, and mostly wine. Nobile di Montepulciano Wine is considered the best what Italy offers.
We have probably all heard it: "See Naples and die." Yes, Naples is beautiful, but it is also rough, authentic and dirty. Maybe that's why it will be etched under your skin. Half-dilapidated houses, smelly piles of garbage, but you go a little further and breathe the atmosphere of real Italy. Naples is considered the cradle of modern delicacy, which is nothing but pizza. We also plan to taste the real Neapolitan pizza.
The last day in Rome was the perfect day for a trip off the city. We visited two different places. After Villa d‘Este we decided to set off to Frascati. There is Villa Aldobrandini. Frascati is situated 20 kilometers southeast of Rome. A train departs from roma Termini to here regularly. The ride takes half an hour. But bear in mind that the train departs from a pretty remote platform. So don't go to the train station at the last minute.
We were about to stay five days in Rome. So we intended to make some trips around Rome. We received some advice at the visitor's center which led us to visit the town of Cerveteri. The town is situated in the Lazio region about 40 kilometers from Rome. It takes us about an hour by train to reach Marina di Cerveteri station (the train departs several times every day from Roma Termini station). Then you need to reach a bus stop (100 from the train station). A free of charge minibus departs from here to the historic center of Cerveteri (to Piazza Aldo Moro). The ride takes about 20 minutes.
We decided to leave Rome on Sunday for Tivoli, a town about 40 kilometers away. Formerly, this was a place where Rome's rich went to recreate because they had their summer residence there. Today, tourists are most intrigued to visit the magnificent Renaissance villa – Villa d'Este.
Do you like parma ham and parmesan cheese? Now you know that these two delicacies were born in the city of Parma. The nearly two-thousand-year-old town lies between the Apennines and the Padoa plain and is the capital of the north-Italian region of Emilia Romagna.
More than two thirds of Sardinia are covered by mountains. They do not reach dizzying heights, but you will find beautiful and unspoiled nature. It is therefore not surprising that this island is a popular outdoor Mediterranean destination with interesting treks. If there is a place in Sardinia where it will feel completely small, it is the Su Gorropu canyon. The rock sides of the gorge rise to a height of 500 meters, making it the deepest gorge in Europe.
This year did not want to travel much, but we still found tickets to a place we have been planning to see for a long time. The aim of this year's holiday was a diverse Sardinia. Within 14 days we had the opportunity to cross the island from the south through the mountains inland to the east, then north and northwest. Our journey begins in Cagliari, from where we then move east to the island.
Traveling during the corona crisis brings with it considerable positives. One of them is that the number of tourists has been reduced to a minimum, so you can be completely alone on some beaches. We did it too. Let's take a look today at the northwest of the island, which offers beautiful beaches, diverse nature and true tranquility.
Whenever we go on vacation, one of the first things we look for is the highest mountain on the island. It is already our tradition to try to look at the highest point of the area. It will not be different today. We set off to the highest mountain in Sardinia, which is Punta la Marmora with a height of 1,834 m above sea level.
West Sardinia is completely different from other parts. It is not mountainous, but it is rough, windy, wooded, almost flat and was a pleasant surprise for us at the end. I suddenly feel like I'm on another island, in another country.
When we say Costa Smeralda, probably each of us imagines an emerald coast, luxury yachts and probably the most famous resort of millionaires and the whole of Sardinia - Porto Cervo. But the Costa Smeralda is something more. It impressed us thanks to the breathtaking beaches we were able to visit and the unusual architecture.
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