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Thread: Manicomio di R - Italy, July 2018

  1. #1
    Join Date
    July 2017

    Exclamation Manicomio di R - Italy, July 2018

    We were dreaming of this exploration for many years. And finally the day had come. In the center of a small town somewhere in the Northern part of Italy this abandoned asylum is located. From the outside the historical building complex looks rather unimposing. Pedestrians would never guess whatís hidden inside here. Today we were here to find out if the structure is still as impressive as it was in the past. And to unveil its sinister story.

    Manicomio di R #06 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

    After several years of vacancy, the decay is already in an advanced stage. But you wonít find any graffiti or vandalism inside the whole complex. While venturing through the impressive hallways it feels like time is standing still here. One of the first things we noticed is the stunning architecture you can find in the whole asylum.

    Manicomio di R #04 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

    Those long hallways with the tall windows are creating a unique atmosphere. Especially in combination with the two big inner yards which are completely overtaken by nature now. Everything seems airy and bright. But actually, the history of this place is rather dark. But let us start at the beginning.

    Bird by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

    Many centuries ago a hospital for poor people was built at this very location. It was operated by a charitable society. Later this facility was used as a military academy for some time. Until it was eventually transformed into an asylum around 1870. In the next century the facility was expended more and more. Because of its central location in the middle of the region it was easy to reach from everywhere. On an area covering around 20 hectares several new buildings were constructed like a heating plant, a laundry or even an aqueduct. And so, a fully self-contained city inside a city was built. But most of the other houses were knocked down by now or have new functions. Today only the main building of the asylum is interesting for us.

    Peeling Off by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

    At its peak over 500 doctors, nurses and maintenance workers were employed here. And this was absolutely necessary, because starting at World War Two not less than 1.000 patients were housed here at the same time during the following decades. In the 60s and 70s there were even around 1.500 mentally ill people living here at once. Only a few years later the downsizing of the facility started.

    Experiments by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

    Still today, 40 years later, we were able to discover old medical equipment in the hospital. Like old-fashioned X-ray machines for example. This is something you donít see every day! Even dental equipment was left behind. But the most famous photo motive of this asylum is the vintage operating theater.

    Manicomio di R #01 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

    The Basaglia Law was the reason why so many old clinics in the country are rotting away today. In 1978 the reform which was supposed to restructure all the Italian psychiatric hospitals came into force. Because until then they all were in a deplorable state. The therapies basically consisted of captivity, fixation, electroshocks and psychotropic drugs. Compulsory hospitalization was daily fare. Especially in this facility doctors were working with experimental surgical operations of the nerve system, in order to cure mentally ill patients. Many Italian people knew that the approaches and structures in general were outdated. However, many years passed until a reform eventually became active. But due to the Basaglia Law patients were finally treated like human beings.

    Madness by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

    When the law came into force there were still around 900 patients in this asylum. After that the facility started to discharge them. Ten years later there were still over 200 people left and another ten years later all the patients were released to the community. And now it was time to finally close down the compound for good.

    Manicomio di R #13 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

    Without doubt the Basaglia Law was absolutely necessary. But the problem is that the reform came into force before there were any proper structures to support the former patients of those asylums. Because many of them were imprisoned for several decades and they didnít know anything else than the psychiatric wards. They neither had any family nor other reference points to the real world. On the one hand the former patients were now finally free but on the other hand they didnít know what to do with their freedom.

    Manicomio di R #33 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

    After many years of decay some parts of the building complex are liable to collapse today. Two years before our exploration a wall inside this facility broke down. After that the whole building was checked and at many places additional supporting beams needed to be attached in order to keep the structure from collapsing. When we saw those pillars, we werenít sure if we should spend much more time inside the ramshackle psychiatry. For reasons of safety, even the whole street in front of the house was closed to traffic. It became even dangerous to just be near the old asylum.

    Decay by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

    This asylum is a magical place that attracts urban explorers from the whole world. This site allows a clear view at the past. And especially at one of the most sinister chapters of the recent Italian history. Only in rare cases beauty and terror are closely linked together as they are here. The impressive architecture and the amazing left-over items from the past are in stark contrast to the horror the involuntarily committed patients were facing here every day. Today the future of this historical site is unknown. But bit by bit the psychiatry is falling apart. Once this was a massive compound. But today only small part of it is left. Unfortunately, there is simply no money left to rescue the old asylum. And so, one of the most fascinating abandoned places in the whole world will fade away in the end. And that is a real shame in our opinion.

    Watch this documentary to see more of this very special abandoned asylum:

  2. Thanks given by: etc100, Hugh Jorgan, krela, Mearing, Mikeymutt, noiseboy72, oldscrote, RedX_unleashed, Sabtr, Terminal Decline
  4. #2
    Join Date
    April 2008



    I actually like old Italian architecture in its raw form anyway (such as run down streets with incredible building entrances) and this is just as good and better.
    To see the old equipment is very special. I'm surprised that it's still there since so many explorers come to look and have not taken souvenirs.
    I could never get to such an amazing location and I love that others are sharing it.

    A great post thank you.

  5. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017


    Absolutely perfect dereliction. This is how all places left to nature should be.

  6. #4
    Join Date
    December 2014


    This is porn, absolutely amazing!

  7. #5
    Join Date
    October 2013


    That's a place in Italy I would love to see
    I like to go where others fear to tread.

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DerelictPlaces is a forum for people with an interest in the history and documentation of disused, derelict and abandoned buildings to come together and share their experiences, photography and historical findings. Our military, industrial and historical heritage is fast disappearing under the pressure of regeneration, the need for new housing, and often through simple neglect; Our aim is to document these places before they disappear entirely.
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