What happened to these abandoned Italian towns?

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They were once buzzing mountain villages and country hamlets but what happened to these six Italian towns that forced their populations to leave?

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  • Triora, Liguria
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    Triora, Liguria

    'The City of Witches': in 1587, after bad weather yielded a poor harvest, the women of Triora were rounded up, arrested, tortured and even killed. The town was the site of the last witch trials in Italy - or the 'Salem of Europe'. The events in this small town triggered a period of two years when Italian women were rounded up all over Europe and tortured as part of witch trials.

  • Pentedattilo, Calabria
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    Pentedattilo, Calabria

    Founded as a colony of the Greek city of Chakis in 640 BC, Pentedattilo - meaning 'five fingers' in Greek - takes its name from the five jutting crags that rise above it. The settlement was abandoned after an earthquake in the 1700s when it was feared that the five fingers may collapse at any moment.

  • Craco, Basilicata
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    Craco, Basilicata

    This derelict eighth-century village was built on a staggeringly steep summit for defensive reasons. Evacuated due to a landslide in 1963, it was completely abandoned after an earthquake in 1980. Since then, it has enjoyed a renaissance in cinema, featuring in films from 'Quantum of Solace' to 'The Passion of the Christ'.

  • Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio
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    Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio

    Known as 'La citt che muore' - the dying city - this ghost town dates back over 2,500 years to the Etruscan era. It sits in the stunning Valle dei Calanchi and the hill on which it sits, due to erosion and landslides, is disappearing. The birthplace of famous local saint, Bonaventure, has long disappeared and the rest will one day follow.

  • Bussana Vecchia, Liguria
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    Bussana Vecchia, Liguria

    This abandoned town has enjoyed a surprising and unconventional revival. Evacuated after an earthquake in 1887, it was repopulated and renovated in 1960 by a group of bohemian artists. Since then tension between the artists and authorities has run high, with officials serving repeated eviction notices - most recently in 1997.

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Once they were villages, places of activity and life. Then, they emptied. The inhabitants of these abandoned settlements left behind places of extraordinary beauty and intrigue, united by a strong sense of nostalgia. Wild, unkempt and shrouded in mystery, most were left to fade into oblivion. Their story, however, survives.

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Alex Walker
Posted on 12/01/2018 219 shares
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