Tremor Town - Italian Ghost Town (June 2020)

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Jul 25, 2017
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Tremor Town #01

Somewhere in Italy, there is a weird place where plants roam alleys, where there are houses which were initially built by man for man - but mankind has disappeared! It seems like people were simply devoured by a green mass that is now ruling the town - while other parts are just completely lifeless. This place was inhabited by thousands of people until the 1960s, but suddenly they were gone! What was once a vivid place to live has become the pure definition of a ghost town.

Tremor Town by Tobi_urbex #02

Today, the community is recovering from its destruction long ago. People here were always plagued by earthquakes but the last one dates back a while. So, renovations began already - and yet, there is no one else around. It is still a ghost town, only visited by curious and nostalgic people from time to time. You can roam around freely in a small official area. But we are more interested in the major part waiting behind these secured houses - the part where nature took over and everything was left the way townsfolk have abandoned it.

Tremor Town #02

To be honest, we are a bit overwhelmed. There are hundreds of houses with their doors wide open. Where should we start? It is easy to explore here, but it is also dangerous. It is hard to say which structure is safe and which one is close to collapse. After all, the earth here was shaking badly.

Tremor Town #14

Quakes and landslides have become common events in this region, but in the second half of the 20th Century, it was really bad. In the 60s, two fatal earthquakes in a row devastated many communities - like the one we explored before. But while the whole town was evacuated there, here a few people actually stayed back. They remained in their homes, while more than 6,000 other residents were resettled. Many of them panicked when they were just thinking about returning and getting their possessions. And the few stubborn people who remained were now living in a ghost town, full of houses damaged beyond repair, with the risk of new earthquakes hitting the area at any time. Their resistance was broken two decades later, in 1980, when a quake once again hit the place and scared even the boldest residents away.

Tremor Town #06

The historic center of the town is this market square. This is also where the more wealthy citizens were living. We entered a multi-storied palazzo which is one of the biggest buildings around, and it is also one of the better preserved ones. Above your see a ceiling fresco by an Italian artist from 1932. It is in pristine condition! The office of the local notary was located here. His documents are spread everywhere today. Apparently, somebody was ransacking the archive.

Tremor Town #12

Surrounded by beautiful nature, you can quickly forget all the tragedy connected to this place. The whole situation was just too abstract for us. So like a mantra, we had to repeatedly say to ourselves that each house represents another sad story. People had to leave their old lives behind them in the blink of an eye. And this is what remained.

Tremor Town #19

This is a historical town with its origins back in the Roman Age. But to save and refurbish it it would have cost a fortune. It is not the only community that needed help. The government does not have the funds to rebuild all of the old villages hit by earthquakes - but they can build new ones. In fact, it is way cheaper to let plants rule ghost towns and relocate displaced residents. So, within sight of these ruins, there is a modern settlement now. But together with this transition, many things got lost. Life was different back then. Once, people lived next door to one another. The neighbors were close. It was more like living in one large family than living in separate households. Residents who still remember this way of life are grieving about it. It is a sense of community which is now sorely lacking. But it is not too late to save the ruins. What was destroyed by an earthquake not once but twice and then neglected for decades can actually become a thriving community again - like it was more than 60 years ago!

Tremor Town #13

Roaming around in this ghost town is not actually forbidden. It is just dangerous, because you never know if the buildings around you could collapse even though they might look safe. That is why the former residents could never be allowed to live here again. To repair these old stone buildings is not only expensive but also a lot of work. They do not stand on their own. In most cases, several houses share the same foundation walls. Even if you decide to refurbish your own home, this would not be possible without your neighbors doing the same. Resuscitating this ghost town is inconceivable without the extensive support of the federal state.

Tremor Town by Tobi_urbex #01

For a few years now, many people have been dedicated to rebuilding this lost paradise as they yearn to go back. The medieval castle and the surrounding structures are fully renovated already. More construction works are planned as well. And there are many other ideas and projects to come. Actually, restaurants are already resettling in the narrow roads together with B&Bs. And from time to time this place also gets used as a set for movies. Even now - after all these years of desolation and with basically no people around - this town is still exuding its charm. Its charisma was never really gone, it seems. Oh, how it must look like when we return in a few years! But again, this is only one of many Italian communities to be devastated by earthquakes. Only a few of them were saved thus far, so there is still a lot to do. But it is a start.

Tremor Town #47

This was a stunning exploration... If you are amazed as we are, and now want to see more of this place head over to YouTube where you can watch our documentary about this ghost town:


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