Far from the city, perched on impervious cliffs and, sometimes, hidden by vegetation that has become too dense due to the passing of time and the carelessness of those who would have to deal with them. There are dozens of abandoned villages in Italy: the people who populated them often left them because they preferred to move to less isolated and easier places. In the last few centuries, some villages have been emptied of poverty and lack of work. In some cases, however, to force the inhabitants to migrate were natural disasters or the decisions of institutions that, regardless of the will of those who have always lived those centers, decided to destroy them forever, building in their place a dam, as in the case of Curon Venosta , in the province of Bolzano.
After what seemed an inexorable death, however, some uninhabited centers have experienced an unexpected rebirth. Turned into artistic villages or tourist destinations, they offer travelers unusual itineraries, in an atmosphere that is certainly different from the one that can be found in large cities or in places frequented by a large number of tourists.
Huffpost has chosen 5 little-known abandoned villages that are worth visiting for those planning a truly unforgettable trip.
1- Pentedattilo (RC)
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The name of this fraction of the Municipality of Melito Porto Salvo is due to the fortress that is behind it: they are five spiers that recall a hand of a giant. In the 1900s the inhabitants started, one after the other, to abandon Pentedattilo. Some started looking for a job, others settled downstream, where they could have led a smoother life. Floods and earthquakes, in fact, over the years had made the permanence in the village increasingly difficult.
In the ’80s, however, someone began to notice that abandoned village – and beautiful – hidden in an internal area of Calabria. Some artists have opened their shop in the streets of Pentedattilo repopulating, so – also thanks to the organization of some cultural initiatives – a center that seemed destined to be forgotten by everyone, even by those who in the past had lived there. Since 2006 the Pentedattilo film festival dedicated to short films has been launched . In 2012, however, the Mutrap was inaugurated , a museum dedicated to the country’s rural traditions.
For some years now there is also the possibility of staying in the small center, thanks to a widespread hotel project .
2 – Santo Stefano di Sessanio (AQ)
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This charming medieval village is located within the Gran Sasso National Park . Santo Stefano di Sessanio is one of the most striking examples of how tourism can make a place reborn. And the rebirth of this center, which for its beauty also bewitched the Medici di Firenze, began in the first years of the new millennium when a Swedish entrepreneur, Daniele Elow Kihlgren , bought part of the uninhabited houses and restored them, thus creating a widespread hotel. His idea has also attracted other investors intrigued by the particularity of this small fortified village but also by the possibility of creating a new form of business.
To see in Santo Stefano di Sessanio the historic buildings, the remains of the tower, the walls and the church dedicated to the saint who gives the name to the village.
3 – Curon Venosta (BZ)
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A bell tower appears in the middle of a lake. It is not a hallucination, but what remains of Curon Venosta. In 1950, the town was submerged by water due to the construction of a dam. The inhabitants opposed with all their strength to the decision of the authorities to unite the three natural lakes of the area into one. They also turned to the Pope but, in the end, they had to surrender to see their homes disappear under the ever-increasing water.
Today that bell tower has become the symbol of Val Venosta attracts tourists and curious in all seasons. In winter, in fact, snow lovers can go skiing in the areas of Belpiano, Malga San Valentino and Maseben, which are the closest facilities to the town. But those who practice winter sports can also try to surf on the frozen lake, from which the Romanesque bell tower appears.
In the warmer seasons, on the other hand, it is possible to hike, even by bike, immersed in nature.