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Population Zero - Ghost town in Italy, June 2020

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B W T

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Population Zero #01


Whatever you think is a permanent part of your life won’t last forever. Somewhere on an Italian mountainside, we found the sad proof of that. There is a broken city where families lost everything. After a decade of neglect, hundreds of homes sit empty today in varying states of deterioration. What happened here?

Wherever you go: After stepping through a portal, you are constantly finding yourself in another time. The houses still contain all the possessions, which shows that families had to flee from their homes overnight. It did not matter if you were rich or poor. It affected all of them equally. Almost one thousand people used to live in this city, and now it is a ghost town. Life can change in an instant.

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Population Zero by Tobi_urbex #13


Yeah, it is hard to believe, but every single building of this remote mountain town has been abandoned. Well, actually, people are not allowed to live here anymore. It is just too dangerous. Even though there are empty roads and derelict structures, you can still get an idea of how life must have been in the former flourishing community - before it all changed.

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Population Zero #04


After ten years of being in some kind of limbo state, redevelopment started. It might not look like it at first glance, but many of these buildings could collapse at any moment. However, people should be able to return in the future. Rebuilding has begun from the entrance of the village and it is planned to head towards the historic city center during the next few years.

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Population Zero #06


The story of this place goes back to an ancient town that was built here during Roman times. But actually, even before that, people were living here. It has been home to man for 3,000 years. And now? What was intimate and private is exposed today. Drawers were opened, windows are broken, walls have collapsed.

50502358122_8f57f8ebcb_b.jpgPopulation Zero #09

It is quite tragic what happened here: Ten years ago, in the middle of the night, there was a terrible earthquake. The epicenter was only a few kilometers away. Families were still sleeping in their beds when it happened. Buildings broke down, and people died. The quake caused damages to almost every house in the village.

It was bad. But it got even worse just a day later when there was a large aftershock. Also other cities in the region were affected, and overnight tens of thousands of Italians were displaced. This town used to be home to many of them, and they preferred sleeping in their cars over abandoning where they come from. But families needed to leave everything behind, except the clothes they were wearing when the earthquake happened. They were sheltered elsewhere and became refugees in their own home country.

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Population Zero by Tobi_urbex #22


Normally, we drive many hours just to see one abandoned structure. But here we have countless buildings to explore - each one more fascinating than the one before. The big church in the town core is clearly one of the most splendid ones.

The church was heavily damaged by the earthquake, and needs to be supported by numerous pillars today. Parts of the façade and ceiling fell down. Also the bell tower was close to collapsing. In fact, at the very same location, there once was a church that was originally built in the 13th century. But that one was completely destroyed by a previous quake a long time ago. It seems like residents of this town are followed by misfortune. The church was rebuilt in Baroque architecture 300 years ago. It is decorated everywhere, and also features an ornate wooden ceiling. Despite its historical, cultural, and artistic importance the church and also the entire town is in danger of being forgotten today.

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Population Zero by Tobi_urbex #09


The medieval town was built on the ruins of a Roman city. Since the settlement was extended over the past centuries, you can find many historical buildings from different eras. Inside the houses, there are still a lot of vintage items that are probably too big and heavy to steal. During the last few years, many residents came back to lock their houses. It is the only way they can protect their properties at the moment. But since these are old homes for almost 1,000 people, not every building can be secured.

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Population Zero by Tobi_urbex #05


It took a long time to clean up the city after the devastating quake a decade ago. But due to the scale of the town, it will take much more time before the first people can return to their homes. Many of the houses are temporarily secured from collapsing , but it will probably not be possible to ever move in again. Instead, demolition would be the only option. But many other communities in the region need to be rebuilt as well. It is the lack of funding and all the bureaucracy that slows down the process of reinhabiting this medieval town.

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Population Zero #03


We are wondering: If people can finally return one day, will this still be their home? After all that time, life has changed dramatically. They are residents in other cities, own new houses, and their children might have their own families by now. For many people, there is no reason to move back here ever again. So, what does home actually mean?

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Population Zero by Tobi_urbex #07


If you are now interested in seeing more of this surreal place, you can watch the video we shot during our exploration. It is a 20 min. long documentary that shows the place and tells its story:


 

BikinGlynn

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Wow, Italy has always been on my cards for overseas explore, its just gone right to top of the list
 

verdigris

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thanks for these great pictures, stunning architecture. I seem to remember an ancient hilltop Italian town, very similar to this one, being featured in the TV programme Abandoned Engineering. The town had to be quickly evacuated due to a major earthquake. (quakes not uncommon in that area) Efforts over the years to bulk up and make firm the hillside had actually made matters worse.
 

recyclefraulein

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What an amazing explore. Thank you for sharing. I haven't been to Italy in a long time but never in this area. It is so sad to see such devastation. So sad to see that people had to leave their belongings. If they were mine I would have gone back and got whatever I could carry safely. Especially all the family treasures and whatever furniture I could safely carry away. What is mine is mine and I wouldn't have abandoned it. So sad to see history lost as it was an old town. Just beautiful before the quake.
 

night crawler

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Amazing place but it's a place I would not want to return to if I had lived there, face it another earthquake and your back in the same situation. Better to start all over again in a safer place.
Awesome explore, thanks for taking the time to show us
 
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