Bamboo Castle #02
What is life like after mankind? Being the only people on a private island for 24 hours might help answer that question. In the summer of 2020, we squatted in the ruins of this age-old castle somewhere in Italy. Man left long ago, and nature has been recovering for more than a decade already. Here we wanted to find out what it feels like to be the last people on earth.
Bamboo Castle #01
Even though there is a settlement with plenty of houses, there are only 15 permanent residents on the island at the moment. Fishing and tourism is how they earn their living. As far back as Roman times, the island was inhabited. Loaded with heavy luggage, we walked to the highest point of the island. Off the beaten track, we were searching for a way onto the property. If you want to explore this remote place, apparently you really have to earn it.
Bamboo Castle #26
Climbing hills and walls, then chopping our way through the undergrowth. And all of that with our heavy gear. Seriously, just to get here has been an adventure already. And now, finally, we made it to the roof of the castle. We were picking one of the towers to set up our camp. Just in time to catch the sunset!
Bamboo Castle #25
Today, the castle is only a skeleton of what it used to be. It was stripped down to the walls in order to get renovated by foreign investors. But redevelopment stopped some time ago. Imagine how expensive it must be to preserve such a big and remote building. Parts of the structure are close to collapse, that is why walls needed to be reinforced. It is not safe at all to walk on the roof. The inner yards are overgrown. Today, it is hard to imagine how life must have been here in the past.
Bamboo Castle #06
If you look closely, you can find some remnants of this place’s heyday. As with many old places in Europe, the history of this site dates back to the Middle Ages. Back then, a monastery was built on this island covered in olive trees. 500 years later, when the religious brotherhood left, the building was vacant. In the late 19th Century, an Italian aristocrat bought the place, and at great expense, he was converting the building complex, so it would resemble a famous neo-Gothic castle. For some time, several hundred people were living on the island, and most of them were working in the castle. There was even a fleet of paddle wheelers, used mainly to transport noblemen. Because for many decades this was a gathering place of aristocrats and an important part of the era's social life. The highlight of this luxury estate was its massive collection of paintings, medieval armor and weapons, valuable objects from abroad, and many historical artifacts from the region - all of them gone now.
Bamboo Castle #08
We are now heading to the oldest part of the structure: The historic chapel. Yeah, this does not look like much of a church. It is basically pure darkness and massive scaffolding. It is not really hospitable - you would think. But the wildlife seem to like it (we found a bird's nest in the old altar).
Bamboo Castle #12
With the beginning of World War Two, the wealthy noble family left their summer residence. All the interiors were emptied out, and the building was abandoned. It eventually became the picturesque ruin you can find today. It took many decades before the renovation started. We are no experts, but it seems a bit odd that they prioritized refurbishing the door frames and the fireplace. Money runs out fast if you start with the fancy stuff. In all the other rooms you do not see any restoration. It is just bare brickwork here.
Bamboo Castle #04
We could spend so much more time here because there is still a lot to tell and to discover. However, even though it is a crumbling ruin today, it is still private property and not really abandoned. Investors were planning to turn this place into a five-star luxury hotel. It was too expensive, so now they are searching for a new owner. Yes, you can actually buy this paradise! As far as we know, the retail price ten years ago was around 11 million Euros. In 2018, it was around 4,5 million. We also found out that photographers can visit the castle with permission. Then you can save the troublesome journey we had to take to get here. Since its construction dates back to such a long time ago, it has enormous historical and artistic value. It would be a shame to let it fall apart for nothing.
Bamboo Castle #03
See more of this magical place in our cinematic adventure report on YouTube: