In the 1960s, Italy saw a massive boom in its tourism industry. People from all over the world wanted to experience Italy’s rich historical and modern culture, cuisine, and scenic countryside that stretches from the snowy ski resorts up north to beautiful sandy white beaches along the Mediterranean coastline. Visiting the Colosseum in Rome, snapping selfies at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or cruising down the Venetian lagoons in a gondola are all things that come to mind when planning a trip to Italy. However, there are many other interesting attractions for tourists to see and do while holidaying in Italy. We have compiled a list of wonderful little villages that you should see whilst in Italy, but make sure to get there fast as these villages could disappear at any moment.
Craco is a ghost town on the hilltops located in Matera province, south of Italy. This remarkable town dates back all the way to the 11th century where it once was inhabited by almost 2,000 people. The town also boasted a university that was established in the 13th century. Many residences of Craco decided to migrate to North America in the early 20th century, leaving little to no residence left in the village. Since then, the village has encountered multiple natural disasters including a landslide in 1963, a flood in 1973, and an earthquake in 1980, which has ultimately caused the village to deteriorate. With no residence left to maintain the village, the window of opportunity to view this spectacular hilltop is limited.
The once flourishing town of Pentedattilo was founded as a Greek colony for the city of Chalcis in 640 BCE. The city drastically declined during the Byzantine period and was ultimately abandoned. Later on, in the 12th century, the town was conquered by the Normans and became part of a baronial fief under Baron Abenavoli. By 1783 the town was abandoned due to a severely damaging earthquake. After the 1980s volunteers from across Europe came to partially restore and repopulate the once-thriving town.
Located in the province of Trapani, this old Italian town was destroyed by an earthquake in 1968, which left it completely abandoned. However, the town was replaced by a new town located just a stone’s throw away. Visitors to the old ruins of Poggioreale will find the buildings in their original condition, although damage from the earthquake that caused its abandonment.
Romagnano al Monte, Campania
The abandoned old town of Romagnano is in the Campania region of Salerno province. The town was destroyed by the Irpinia earthquake of 1980, which left the town uninhabited. After the earthquake destroyed the town, it was rebuilt just a few miles away. The breath-taking scenery and beautiful buildings are a must-see for anyone visiting the Salerno province.
Roscigno Vecchia, Campania
With panoramic views from the hilltops, this small town and commune is located in the Campania region of Salerno province. A landslide in the early 20th century was responsible for the complete abandonment of the town. However, since 2007 the town has been reopened for tourism and the ghost town was declared an eco-museum.
A trip to Italy is certainly one for the bucket list, but be sure not to miss out on these wonderful attractions as the reasons why they were originally abandoned could happen again, leaving them inaccessible to visitors.