Wedding Church - Italy, June 2020

Derelict Places

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Jul 25, 2017
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Wedding Church by Tobi_urbex #01

There is beauty in disrepair. Decay and flaws seem to offer a much-needed contrast in a modern world that is placing so much value on prosperity and perfection. But in this post, we will be seeking aesthetics in an abandoned building and symmetry in ruins. You might think everything must be dead in such a derelict place. And yet, there is activity. Usually, in a church, there is not only the evidence of transience but also the renewal of life. And in this particular church somewhere in rural Italy, you can experience both – but raw and first-hand.

Wedding Church #02

After a very long ride to the South of Italy, we reached our destination. In the middle of a green valley, there is a small community located. With only a thousand people living here, lots of narrow roads, and old homes, that is the Italian flair we love so much. A millennium ago, people started to settle here. As the very first building, a monastery was constructed in the 11th Century. Later, the original town core was formed around it, and the village grew in the following centuries. This monastery then became the church of the townsfolk. But today, it is an overgrown ruin. The origin of the town has been forgotten. We are here, to rediscover.

Wedding Church #13

It is noon, and the streets were empty. Luckily. We do not know if the citizens would appreciate our interest in the historical building or if they would chase us away for trespassing their former house of worship. Either way, we were not in the mood to find out. We are dealing with a different issue... How can we find access to the church when it is covered with undergrowth?! Thorns and nettles again...

Wedding Church #05

It has been a while since the last mass was held here. This church has been abandoned for 60 years already. Consequently, the structure is crumbling extensively. There are massive cracks in the walls. Parts of the floor are green because rain is coming through the roof that only partially exists today. It is almost a miracle that it is still in place after all the misfortunes happening in the past.

Wedding Church #04

The ancient monastery was turned into this church around 1400. If not centuries before. It has needed to be renovated many times in its lifetime, having withstood fires, wars, earthquakes, floods, and landslides from day one. Up until the 1960s, it was still in use. Till then, weddings, burials, and all kinds of religious celebrations were taking place. Popular priests even came from far away to visit. It all ended when the pastor decided to close the doors for some weeks, to fix up the sanctuary from the latest collapses. The church is located on a hillside. After another flood in the valley, erosion has caused severe structural damage to the church. Little did the pastor know that it would not just be closed temporarily, but permanently.

Wedding Church by Tobi_urbex #15

By the way: Under this green altar, we discovered a tomb that was desecrated decades ago! The human remains are still there...

Wedding Church #07

60 years ago, the interior decorations, as well as the parish, moved to another church on a temporary basis. But so far, they have not been able to return. Instead of getting renovated, this place fell apart. The money that was provided for the project never arrived. The pastor who wanted to refurbish the church asked again and again, but the promised funds somehow disappeared. And when he eventually passed away, there was no one left who was interested in the project. The church had been forgotten. And we are wondering: Where did the money go?

Wedding Church #01

It is said that some of the old residents came to this church for prayer until only a few years ago. There is a strong emotional bond. Because after all, this is the oldest building here - and it is even more than just that: This place is a symbol for the town's identity since it is basically its origin. But we want to end this exploration with good news.

Wedding Church #06

Although the terrain remains unstable, there is hope for the ruinous structure. There will be a rebirth of the village - renovations all over town. And there are also plans to start working on the church. But this time for real!

Wedding Church #08

Interested in a video report about this exploration? We put together a documentary and uploaded it to YouTube:


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