Tag Archives: abandoned villages

A future for Italy’s ‘ghost towns’?

Kristen Sloan   University of Wollongong

Roghudi Vecchio, Calabria (Saverio Barbaro, 2009)

More than 5000 historical hamlets and rural and medieval villages in Italy have been in serious population decline (Serico Gruppo Cresme, 2008). Many were abandoned in the last century and today have become ‘ghost towns’. While long neglected as topics for cultural policy or academic study, a recent wave of political and popular interest in Italy’s borghi, coupled with an increasing number of initiatives to resuscitate them, suggest that their presumed destinies of decline, ruin and oblivion may have to be revised. Concern for Italy’s emptying towns is not an isolated phenomenon but part of a recent explosion of interest and action in abandoned sites throughout the world (De Silvey & Edensor, 2012). Today conversations about abandoned places are characterised by new ways of describing, perceiving and interacting with them: no longer as rubbish but as resources.    Continue reading

Tagged ,

Ghost Towns, Awake! Futures for Italy’s Abandoned Settlements

Kristen Sloan   University of Wollongong

craco

Craco, Basilicata, Abandoned 1963

The increasing number and visibility of abandoned places throughout the world, coupled with a significant change in the way space is perceived in contemporary societies, has sparked a growing global conversation about re-using abandoned elements of the built environment. In the past ten years thousands of projects have emerged around the world that involve mapping and ‘re-purposing’ abandoned places, notably the ‘re-awakening’ of entirely deserted villages. Italy is of particular interest here. It has at least 5838 historically valuable ‘ghost towns’ of which 2831 are either completely abandoned or at serious risk of extinction. The loss for the former inhabitants and for the collective memory embodied in the lost communities is severe. Their requalification for contemporary use has become an urgent task.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

ACIS Cassamarca Scholarship Awards for 2015

ACIS cropped header

ACIS warmly congratulates Lisa Di Crescenzo (Monash University) and Kristen Sloan (University of Wollongong) on the award of ACIS Cassamarca scholarships for their research in Italy in 2015. Lisa’s research topic is a study of the letters of Luisa Donati Strozzi, written between 1471 and 1510 in exile from Florence in Ferrara,  to explore the consequences of exile for lineage identity and relationships. Kristen’s research concerns the analysis of the growing number of projects to reclaim and revive abandoned villages in Italy and to create new uses for old spaces while preserving the links with their past. As in 2013, the competition for the awards was very strong; the ACIS Scholarships Committee was again impressed by the very high quality and range of the applications and regrets that it could only make two awards.

Tagged , , ,